On Wednesday, 2020 Democrat John Delaney compared the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the Marvel villain Thanos.
“I think they were kind of like Thanos snapping their finger and trying to get rid of half the field,” Delaney said, referring to the high bar for Democrats to qualify for the third round of debates next month.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos wipes out half of all living beings with the snap of his fingers. He aims to prevent overpopulation, climate change, and other liberal fears through this dispassionate genocide.
While a whopping 21 candidates received the privilege of debating on stage in June and July, the threshold to qualify for the September and October debates is much higher, and only 10 have qualified so far. Wednesday was the cut-off for the September 12 and 13 debates. Democrats need to have at least four polls showing them at two percent or higher and at least 130,000 unique donors.
Perhaps for this reason, it seems 2020 Democrats are dropping like flies. While Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) faced a serious challenger for his House seat, former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), current Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) all recently dropped out, likely because they were unlikely to qualify for the next debates. (As I was writing this story, news broke that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was dropping out of the race.)
While many presidential candidates have ulterior motives for running, failing to make the debates makes a run for president far less lucrative.
Delaney claimed that it is still too early to winnow the field.
“It would undoubtedly be better to be on the debate than to not be on the debate. But if you look at the first two debates which we were in, it’s not clear that they mattered at all in terms of how the race really changed, which I think underscores this notion that it’s just getting started,” Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland, told MSNBC.
“The way the DNC decided to do these debates is they effectively cut out half the field. I don’t think ultimately voters want that to happen,” he added. “I think they were kind of like Thanos snapping their finger and trying to get rid of half the field, right. That’s really kind of what they did and some of the outcomes don’t make any sense. We have sitting democratic governors who are not in the debate. We have sitting members of Congress who are not in the debate. We need a debate. We need an incredibly important debate about issues that haven’t even been touched on in this primary.”
The DNC is acting a little bit like Thanos, but unlike Thanos, the DNC’s actions are more defensible. The Democrats will only have one nominee, and it’s not going to be John Delaney. Much as I’d love to keep seeing Delaney call out Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Medicare for All, the DNC has every right to cut him if it’s clear he won’t stand a chance.
Ten candidates have qualified for the September debate: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Bernie Sanders; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind.; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas); former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.