Election 2020

The Only Democrats Who Have Qualified for the December Debate Are White

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

With Kamala Harris’s departure from the 2020 presidential race on Tuesday, the Democrats now have a huge diversity problem on their hands as the only candidates left in the race who have qualified for the December 19 debate in Los Angeles are white.

Of the candidates who remain, only six have qualified for the debate: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer. However, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard are, according to the New York Times, on the cusp of qualifying. In order to qualify for the December debate, candidates must have contributions from 200,000+ unique donors, which Yang and Gabbard have, and meet one of two polling requirements: “two polls at 6 percent or more in the four early nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina; or  four polls at 4 percent or more in early nominating states or national surveys.”  Gabbard needs one more poll in either category, while Yang needs two more at 6 percent or one more at 4 percent. Cory Booker isn’t close. They have time to qualify, for sure, but at the moment, it’s just a bunch of mostly old white people who have made it to the debate stage this month.

Prior to dropping out of the race, Kamala Harris blamed her struggling campaign on racism and sexism. “I have also started to perhaps be more candid talking about what I described and what I believe to be the elephant in the room about my campaign,” Harris told Axios in October. “Electability. You know, essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States?”

I’m certainly not going to argue with Kamala if she’s going to argue that there’s racism and sexism in the Democratic Party. Conservatives have been arguing this for years, and it’s nice to have someone on the inside validate that belief. Who would have thought months ago that Amy Klobuchar would have survived longer than Kamala? Cory Booker has made some headlines for his jabs at Joe Biden, but he’s gotten nowhere in the polls, and if impeachment reaches the Senate, he won’t be able to campaign at the most crucial time. Unless Kamala’s supporters flock to Booker’s campaign he’s likely to drop out before the end of the year.

While it’s definitely possible that Yang and Tulsi may qualify for the December debate, the prerequisites for each debate keep getting tougher, and it’s likely they will struggle to qualify for future debates before the Iowa caucuses on February 3, 2020 — leaving an all-white and mostly male field of presidential candidates from a slate that was celebrated for its diversity not that long ago.

I guess that tells you a lot about Democrat voters.


Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis