The first Democratic debates are fast approaching and the candidates rattling around near the bottom of the barrel are getting nervous. There will only be twenty (!) slots available for the two-night extravaganza and some of them aren’t going to make the cut. This was weighing heavily on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mind when he sat down to talk with Errol Louis on NY1 this week. You see, Hizzoner is quite concerned that trimming the number of people at the lecterns will cut down on the diversity of the field. (Free Beacon)
Facing the possibility of failing to qualify for future primary debates, Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio complained the DNC was limiting “diversity” and wasn’t “inclusive.”
The New York City mayor told NY1’s Errol Louis on Monday that while the Democratic National Committee had assured him of a spot in the summer debates, “a lot of candidates and a lot of people are concerned” about the qualifications for the September debates, which doubles the number of individual donors required to secure a spot on the stage.
“[130,000] is a huge number, and I appreciate the impulse, but I think we have to ask the question, is this going to limit the debate and limit the diversity of the field and limit the options for voters in a way that’s unhelpful?” de Blasio said.
De Blasio claimed that when he visited Iowa, the people there were interested in hearing from as many candidates as possible.
There’s a lot to unpack in that interview, but let’s get one of the big-ticket items out of the way right up front. The Democratic National Committee has “assured” de Blasio that he’ll have a spot on the stage in the summer debates? On what basis? He’s going to have to beat out at least five people based on the stated qualification requirements. Who is he ahead of in the polls? (I don’t remember if he’s ever gotten above zero.) Also, I don’t think we’ve seen a fundraising report from him yet, have we? How many candidates is he outraising? It seems odd that the DNC would know this far in advance that de Blasio (of all people) was assured a spot.
Getting back to those qualifying requirements, this isn’t a case of the voters wanting to “hear from as many people as possible.” This is the reality that as it stands now, all of the candidates will get about five minutes each to speak – total – over a two night period. Hoping to cram in more is unproductive and shortsighted.
But if Bill is seriously worried about the diversity of the field (which already has every gender, race and sexual orientation covered) there are ways you could ensure the diversity factor was as strong as possible. Maybe a couple of the straight white males could drop out. Talk about a chance to lead by example, Mr. Mayor!
Speaking of being the Mayor, the editorial board of one of the more widely read newspapers in his home city had a message for de Blasio this week. Either get back to running the city full time or quit. I’m not entirely sure I agree with that sentiment. When you look at de Blasio’s lengthy list of campaign finance scandals, his mismanagement of various government programs, his wife’s inability to keep track of a billion dollars of taxpayer money and his history of murdering helpless, captive rodents… is the city really all that much worse off with him out on the road?