Only five candidates so far have earned spots in the Jan. 14 CNN/Des Moines Register debate in Iowa: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang and Cory Booker will all watch from the sidelines unless they see polling surges before Friday’s deadline to qualify.
Faced with this potential winnowing of the field, the Democratic National Committee has come under new criticism — especially from the candidates on the chopping block. They pointed to a smaller number of polls over the eight-week qualifying period — which included lengthy breaks over both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — and a weeks-long early state polling drought, urging the DNC to make the polling thresholds more lenient.
But the DNC is refusing to budge, calling its criteria “inclusive” and fair. This week could bring a surge of 11th-hour polls, though Steyer, Yang and Booker still face major headwinds to getting back on the debate stage at a crucial moment.