Stop right here and read John’s post about this if you haven’t already. It’s important, because what the DNC did has the potential to tear its party apart.

Think I’m exaggerating? Behold the progressive id on display last night in Iowa, reacting to the news that the DNC abruptly decided to lift the requirement for the debates that each candidate receive a certain number of donations from the public in order to qualify. Just as Democratic voters are getting serious about their choices, coincidentally enough.

Who does that benefit? Michael Moore knows.

I don’t know what they were thinking. At the very moment that the left’s hero is on the cusp of an historic victory in Iowa, the same organization that worked against him in 2016 turns around and decides to revamp the rules to benefit … one of the world’s richest men, a former Republican and Wall Street institution. If you were the head of the DNC and you were trying to get the progressive base to hate you and your preferred candidates, what more could you do to make that happen?

Let Trump have Bernie’s slot at the next debate, maybe? That’s all I can think of.

Their stated rationale for the rule change makes no sense:

“Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold,” said Adrienne Watson, a DNC spokeswoman. “The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations, and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t.”

If the rules need to change once actual voting begins then why is the DNC still requiring candidates to meet a certain threshold in public polling to qualify for the debate stage? Just use the results in Iowa and New Hampshire to determine who makes the cut. Anyone who clears the 15-percent bar in either state on election night and wins some delegates gets to participate in the debate before Nevada. Anyone who doesn’t is out. Easy peasy.

Dropping the donor requirement but retaining the polling requirement reeks of designing the new rule specifically to benefit Mike Bloomberg. He’s risen to fourth in national surveys based on name recognition amid his mammoth ad campaign but he won’t be on the ballot in Iowa and New Hampshire because he joined the race too late. Bloomy won’t be getting any delegates on Monday night or the week after — but the DNC’s going to find an excuse to let him debate anyway. How come?

Two obvious reasons. One is that Bloomberg has donated big bucks to the DNC in the past and, more importantly, he’s considering donating big big big bucks to the effort to beat Trump next fall regardless of whether or not he’s the nominee. He’s even talked about keeping his campaign organization going if and when he drops out so that it can hit the ground running for whichever Democrat defeats him. Whether that promise extends to socialist Bernie Sanders is unclear but it would certainly extend to Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar. The DNC may be bending the rules purely in the name of keeping Bloomberg happy, knowing that the debates haven’t mattered much to Democratic voters and expecting that giving him a little camera time will guarantee his continuing generosity this summer.

But there’s a second possibility. There’s a chance that Bernie wins easily in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Biden underperforming dismally. If that happens the media will be ruthless in attacking Biden as a chronic underachiever in presidential contests, the guy who just can’t get it done. The stink of campaign death will be on him even though he’ll limp on to Nevada and South Carolina. But establishment Dems will be panicking and looking for a longshot centrist option who might somehow be able to hold off Sanders. That’s Bloomberg, a guy who’s already bought his way into the top tier nationally and who seems willing to pay any price to promote himself. He may well be the only Democrat who can outspend the Sanders money machine, and he can do it by an order of magnitude. If Biden flames out early Bloomy may be the only game in town for centrist Democrats on Super Tuesday. Go figure that the DNC wants to start introducing him to the primary electorate as soon as possible at the debates.

There’s just one thing I can’t figure out about that strategy. Even if Bloomberg somehow buys his way to the nomination, how could Dems expect progressives to turn out for him after this? They probably weren’t going to turn out for him regardless, but watching the DNC rewrite the rules to elevate a centrist billionaire as a potential last-ditch nuclear option against Sanders will drive them batty. They already see Bloomberg as “cheating” because of his limitless financial resources. Now the DNC is complicit in it.

I guess the idea is that Bloomberg has such strong centrist appeal that he can pull enough independents away from Trump in the general election to win even though huge chunks of the Democratic base would stay home in protest. Good luck with the Mike Bloomberg campaign in the Rust Belt, guys. I’ll leave you with Joe Biden reacting to the news about the debate rule change and bringing up a good point to counter it.