Cory Booker rips Dem leaders for ‘ridiculous’ debate standards being ‘dictated’ by DNC, not voters


The Democrat National Committee definitely rigged the 2016 primaries in favor of then-candidate Hillary Clinton, and to hear Sen. Cory Booker tell it, the DNC may very well be trying to do the same thing leading into the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking Thursday afternoon with left-wing MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell, he took aim specifically at the eligibility rules the DNC has instituted for the next Democrat debate. These rules, he argued, are preventing candidates like him from participating.



I hear this from voters black and white, Latino and white: There’s a sense of just frustration that you’re excluding people from a debate stage because they don’t have the money that often billionaires do to get on those stages,” he said.

Not just debates either. Last month the DNC engaged in a “pay-to-play politics” scheme, as 2020 contender Sen. Michael Bennet put it, by charging candidates “up to six figures” to participate in a 2020 fundraising ad for the committee’s Democratic Unity Fund:

“And for our campaign, I literally just came out of Iowa, where people are just angry,” Booker continued. “[The political news source] Iowa Starting Line just pointed out I’m the number three candidate in general popularity, net favorability, in the whole state.”

“We have the most endorsements from local leaders. Iowans are making their choices known in popularity, in endorsements, and even the kind of surge we’re seeing, I’m the number one campaign for percentage of Iowa women contributing to.”

But this data is allegedly being ignored by the DNC. How so? Because the DNC is requiring that candidates reach five percent in national polls or seven percent in two early-state polls to qualify for the upcoming Jan. 14 debate.

Booker’s national polling averages around 2.4 percent, meaning his only chance of qualifying for the debate rests with early-state polls. There’s just one problem, he claimed.

So there has not been an early state poll since early November!” Booker pointed out. “There has not been a poll to even know where things stand at this point. So it’s kind of ridiculous that these are the measures we’re putting up. Instead of letting Iowans choose, they’re being dictated to by Washington, D.C., DNC leaders. It makes no sense.”

Fact-check: FALSE.

RealClearPolitics shows that two polls in Iowa were conducted last month. Both polls placed Pete Buttigieg in the lead and Booker in sixth place.

(Source: RealClearPolitics)

“We’ve had our best fundraising quarter in the campaign,” he continued. “We’re hoping more people will go to and help us continue the surge to keep my voice in the race, even though other diverse voices, unfortunately, have had to leave.”

Mitchell countered his complaints by laying out the DNC’s argument, which is that “they needed to something to narrow the field. With so many Democrats on the stage, they weren’t getting real voices heard and a real debate going.”

The senator conceded the point but again insisted that it feels like the DNC is catering to the interests of billionaires.

“Look, I absolutely agree we should narrow the field, but not to do it in a way that benefits billionaires and not unequivocally one of strongest campaigns going on in Iowa now,” he argued. “We have ten days to make the stage. We’re asking people, if you want my voice on that stage, go to”

It’s not clear that the DNC’s Jan. 14 debate rules are really catering to billionaires. Neither Tom Steyer or Michael Bloomberg — the only billionaires in the primary — have qualified for the upcoming debate. Moreover, none of the debate requirements pertain to money, though one does state that a candidate must boast 225,000 unique donors.

However, Booker isn’t alone in bashing the DNC. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has outright said, “The DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process.”

“The 2016 Democratic Primary election was rigged by the DNC and their partners in the corporate media against Bernie Sanders,” a page on her 2020 campaign website reads.

“In this 2020 election, the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election again, but this time against the American people in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.”

Notice how she also mentions Iowa.

“They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten,” her complaint continues. “In short, the DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process.”


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Vivek Saxena


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