Tulsi Gabbard

DNC Changes Debate Qualifications, Excluding Tulsi Gabbard

The Hawaiian representative's two delegates will no longer be enough to earn her a spot in the upcoming CNN/Univision debate in Phoenix.


The qualifying criteria for the next Democratic debate are out, and they manage to exclude the only veteran and only woman of color left in the race: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii).

This afternoon, Politico reported that the candidates still in the running for the Democratic presidential nomination will need to have earned at least 20 percent of the delegates awarded thus far in order to participate in the March 15 debate hosted by CNN and Univision in Phoenix, Arizona.

That means that only former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), who respectively have 48 percent and 41 percent of the delegates so far, will be on next Sunday's stage.

Despite her strong showing in the American Samoa caucuses where she won two delegates, Gabbard still falls short of that very high threshold.

Had the Democratic National Committee stuck with its criteria for the last debate it held on February 25—which only required each candidate to have won a single delegate—Gabbard would have qualified.

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa foreshadowed this decision on Super Tuesday, saying on Twitter that "by the time we have the March debate, almost 2,000 delegates will be allocated. The threshold will reflect where we are in the race, as it always has."

In response to the expected rule change, Gabbard tweeted Thursday about her campaign's foreign policy focus, and how that can't be separated from the domestic issues that have gotten the most attention in past debates.

Biden and Sanders have sparred in the past over the former's initial support for the Iraq War, so there is some chance that the two candidates' contrasting foreign policy visions will be on display come the next debate.

Still, it might have been interesting to have Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, up on stage to offer her own unique perspective on foreign policy. She's repeatedly argued that rising tensions between the U.S., Russia, and China is putting the country on the road to nuclear war.

A Bernie-Biden smackdown will likely feature less talk of a nuclear apocalypse and a lot more bickering about health care. That's enough to get anyone running for their fall out shelter.

NEXT: Council of Dads Is a Derivative Dud

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  1. Biden has been chosen by the high council. Its will must be done.

    1. No, the voters chose Biden. Don’t ascribe to conspiracy theories what can be easily be explained as the intellectual sloth of the voters.

      1. While I agree with your assessment regarding the current allotment of delegates, the voters did not change the debate entry rules at the last moment.

        1. Or the timing of when all the other candidates dropped out.

        2. I was only referring to Biden’s rise.

          1. Nobody gets a “rise” from Maddow.

          2. The one he gets when he sniffs children?

            1. Was Biden the prototype of Congressman David Dilbeck?

        3. There was no “last moment” change.

          The debate criteria hadn’t been set yet – just as the criteria wasn’t set for recent debates until fairly close to the debate. Of course the rules for inclusion don’t remain the same from the first debate to the last debate – that would be absurd.

          When the DNC set the criteria for the next debate, they took into consideration the landscape — and there were only three candidates left – one of whom has only garnered (based on NPR’s analysis of currently counted votes) 0.14% of the total allocated delegates while the other two have received 47.53% and 41.02% of the total allocated delegates respectively. If Warren and/or Bloomberg had remained in the race, maybe the DNC would have lowered the criteria to include them (they have 4.58% and 4.37% of the total allocated delegates respectively) – but even that would have been a stretch. Note that even Warren and Bloomberg have over 30 times as many delegates as Gabbard while Biden only has 10 times as many delegates as Bloomberg so the gap is much smaller there.

          Gabbard simply isn’t a contender and has zero chance of winning the nomination. The debates are not a venue for politicians to gain a national audience for some future run for office — it’s a venue to help voters evaluate those who have a possibility of being in the 2020 general election.

          Now we can actually have something resembling a debate instead of a bunch of people trying to talk over each other in hopes of getting a word in edgewise. It will be much more informative (and, frankly, entertaining).

          1. Argh.. My comment posted one level too far down…

            My kingdom for a ‘preview’ and ‘five minute edit/delete’ window.

            1. The bad news is that it was posted at all. Apologists for the DNC are vermin.

          2. That sounds an awful lot like “making it up as you go along”. Sports leagues don’t change the criteria for the playoffs after each round, they publish them in advance.

          3. The debates are not a venue for politicians to gain a national audience for some future run for office

            The fuck they aren’t. If that was the case then Buttigieg, whose most notable political accomplishments were being mayor of a dingy-ass college town and getting beat in elections for DNC chair and state treasurer, would have made the stage. Of course, he inadvertently revealed during Iowa that he’s got connections to some notable Democrat dark money organizations, but that certainly doesn’t explain why he and Klobuchar, who were FAR more competitive in the early caucuses than Biden, suddenly dropped out within 48 hours of Super Tuesday and endorsed Sleepy Joe.

          4. Gabbard simply isn’t a contender and has zero chance of winning the nomination.

            Of course not. She’s the only remaining one in the clown car who isn’t an absolute scumbag. She never had a chance in the party that nominated the likes of Bubba or Hillary Clinton.


      2. The DNC doesn’t want the assassin on the debate stage changing their minds. One round with Tulsi would have the doddering old fool wandering in circles on live TV asking where he was. Which would effectively leave the dem primary voters with an interesting question, should they vote for the commie rat bastard or the dementia patient who should be in an old folks home. They still wouldnt vote for Tulsi of course because she’s anti-war without being a commie rat bastard and she clearly loves America, whatever her political bent.

        1. Brilliantly stated!
          She was the ONLY one that most right thinking people would consider, which is an automatic disqualification.
          The only veteran and only women…
          The Democratic Party is universally offensive.

          1. Yay for the libertarian case for identity politics!

    2. The fascist blood of the DNC prevailed again, as it did in 2016.

    3. Doesn’t count until there’s yellow smoke.

      1. White smoke.

        Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
        Habemus Candidatum!
        Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
        Dominum Joe,
        Sanctae partium Democratic princeps Biden,
        qui sibi nomen imposuit presidentum.

    4. In the middle of the debate uncle Joe forgets, asks where Tulsi is, and claims she’d make a great and sexy president.

      1. no, he just loses his train of thought, from fantasizing about smelling her beautiful hair.

        1. I consider that an acceptable response.

  2. Biden’s at 48% of the delegates? So, what are the odds Sanders will be able to catch up to that?

    1. With or without the Milwaukee riots?

      1. What if they just made the streets run with beer, nobody would engage in any kind of political violence if they were filled with beer.


        1. IIRC, the bars will be staying open until 0400.

          1. Great, then there should be no problem. When did drunken mobs ever become rowdy, especially with such a mellow German beverage?


            1. um …1923 … in Munich … OOOOOOOoHHHHHHHH …

    2. Since Sanders has another 200 or so from his California win that haven’t been officially allocated yet, pretty good.

      1. Sanders will likely win the west coast states and maybe a few in the rustbelt.

  3. The Democrats are a private organization, they can make their own rules as to who gets to use their platform.

    Is that not the way these things are supposed to work?

    1. Yep. And some Democrats are more equal than others.

      1. There really is nothing sweeter than watching the supposed democratic party cheat people out of an hinest vote on national television. They have chosen the form of their own destruction.

    2. Being free to make your own rules does not make you free from criticism for those rules

    3. Yes. That’s why we shouldn’t have primaries. They’re a sham.

    4. Yes, totally true. But then why are allowing private organization labels on the ballot? Aren’t only individuals allowed to run?

    5. I’m thrilled they’re doing this. It’s just one. Ore thing to get democrat voters to stay home on Election Day.

    6. “Is that not the way these things are supposed to work?”

      I’d like to see all organizations utilize libertarian principles. They’re not just for governments.

      Also, I’m free to criticize their choices.

  4. It makes sense that later debates would have stricter requirements.

    1. Like being able to count backwards from 99 by 7s, say, or being able to stand on one foot for 15 seconds?

    2. The Feats of Strength usually follows the Festivus Dinner and the Airing of Grievances.

      1. That should be quite a sight with Bernie and Biden. Next up, who can rip more sheets of paper in half at once, followed by the opening of jelly jars!

        1. We should give them something more appropriate; like a shuffleboard competition or seeing who can get those damn kids off their lawn the quickest.

          1. No, the primary isn’t over until someone pins Frank Costanza.
            These are the rules

          2. +1 shotgun Joe

      2. Everything is so terrible and unfair.

        Grievances aired. Let’s eat.

    3. That’s exactly what a sexist chauvanist pig would say.

    4. Well, at least they’ve got a Jew.

  5. ex post facto rules to keep the pretty chick off the stage w/the cast of Grumpy Old Men … (D) is a manual on evil

    might be better to keep Tulsi away from Biden anyway

    1. For her sake or his?

      1. hers.

        1. Tulsi can take care of herself. She’s by far the most constitutionally vibrant candidate the Democrats have run in 30 years.

          1. Except the Deez aren’t running her.

            The alleged party of women and minorities is looking a little hypocritical right about now.

            1. Yes, this relatively new development of hypocrisy in a national political party.

          2. They aren’t even allowing her a voice.
            Biden – Sanders – Gabbard would make an interesting debate.
            I could see Biden “stuttering” incoherently in response to Gabbard.

    2. I have a feeling if Biden creepily sniffed her hair she’d beat the dementia out of him.

      1. Reason needs a ‘like’ button.

    3. “keep the pretty chick off the stage”

      You figure she’s a 6?

      An incel 6, I could see.

      1. An incel 8. your mileage may vary.

        1. That’s the most original thing Arty has ever said.

          1. RAK has his moments just like a broken clock or Creepy Uncle Joey!

      2. “Incel” is the leftist way to say “cuck”.

    4. Yep. A very diverse party. With only Statler and Waldorf on stage.

      1. Make me wanna see a Cookie Monster and Big Bird debate.
        Brought to you be the letters D, N, C.

  6. Way to go DNC! Shut another woman out. Nothing wrong with those optics!

    1. Yep. The Dems are continuing their self-destruction.

    2. The majority of Dem voters are women so I guess they’re misogynistic sexists? More likely they know bitches be crazy.

      1. And with great grandfather complexes.

    3. What other woman was “shut out”?

      1. Anyone who has a little sister or daughter know if she didn’t win it’s because somebody cheated.

  7. She should show up anyway, and just start beating up DNC people. Because that would be awesome.

    1. There’s a video game I’d buy.

      …I mean, buy it so I could burn it in protest. Such mockery of the Democratic process has no place in the USA.

      1. There actually was a primary video game at one point. Tim Pool played it.

    2. FOX should have her on the next night, giving her the chance to respond to the questions. THAT would be must see TV.

  8. Who cares? She’s done. It’s only her ego running now.

    1. We’ll see if this applies to Bernie in a few days.

    2. If even 1 of the 3 candidates gets Coronaed, she’d have a pretty good shot. Hell, this little stunt by the DNC might give her some momentum for screen time.

    3. Biden and Sanders are old and mortal.
      They both look like the house they belong in should be a nursing home or hospice.
      There should be someone with a life expectancy running.

  9. Hmm. Wasn’t today the court date for her defamation lawsuit against Hillary ?

    1. Given that her ridiculous suit against Google was dismissed on Wednesday, I don’t have high hopes for her equally ridiculous suit against Clinton.

  10. What’s in it for Biden to show up at the debate at all? The only thing it’d do is possibly give Sanders an opening to flip the race.

    So Biden should use Gabbard’s exclusion as an excuse — “If the only other actual Democrat with delegates still running is excluded, it’s not an actual Democratic presidential debate” — to skip it entirely.

    Heck, he could invite Gabbard himself to an “Actual Democrats” counter-debate scheduled for the same night. It’s not like boosting her will hurt him much.

    1. Beautiful.

    2. That’s actually quite creative. And a remarkably good idea.

      Sanders is a pie-in-the-sky fool but without Warren to call him on it, the debate is all downside for Biden. A debate with Gabbard, though, would still get him publicity but basically risk free.

      1. How is it risk free? She run circles around his senile old ass. It would be fun to watch her win the nomination, though.

        1. Run circles? She barely crawled. Now she’s finished. Likely for good.

    3. Biden can focus on foreign affairs if he can steer the debate there. There is value in that as it can render Sanders less successful so Biden can start on his General Election campaign with a vengeance without have to worry about Sanders.

      Sanders is just out of step and has no real experience with foreign affairs (I don’t count cozying up to socialist dictators to be “real experience” and I think most voters would share my view on that) and will look very weak.

      1. Buden is a fucking moron who’s also showing his senility with growing frequency, while Bernie is a communist who has no other truck than “death to billionaires”.
        Your clown ship is sinking fast

    4. True. Sanders never turns down an invitation to appear, and Sanders appearing and talking by himself will sink himself.

  11. Listen up, Tulsi fanboys – she isn’t going to sleep with you. If she looked like Janet Reno, you’d be ripping her positions (except for non-intervention) apart.

    1. Pretty sure I’ve seen plenty of negative comments in the past about her positions.

    2. Her Medicare for all plan is the least worse, and since the glibertarian moment is… well, I can’t even see it in my rearview anymore… that’s saying something. Not happy with her position on guns, but no candidate will get much traction on that. And she’s expressed continuous interest in working with the political opposition instead of calling them Russian assets. In today’s political climate, she’s pretty damned reasonable.

    3. Listen up, Tulsi fanboys – she isn’t going to sleep with you.She might, you don’t know. We’re the right age for each other, and I still got game.

      1. Huh, html fail. That’s rare for me…

        1. Maybe you don’t still got game? HTML is the first to go.

    4. Tulsi, positions, what were you saying?

  12. Exactly what color is Gabbard?

    1. Burnt sienna

    2. White, according to the pic up top.

    3. Not sure about color although her race would be Pacific Islander.

  13. She was born in American Samoa which means she’s not a natural born citizen. Samoans are US nationals.

    1. I don’t care, I want Samoa that.

    2. She was born in American Samoa which means she’s not a natural born citizen.

      No, it doesn’t. People born to a US citizen in an outlying US possession are natural-born citizens, and both of Gabbard’s parents were US citizens, not just nationals.

      1. Prove it.

      2. unlike John McCain, who was born in the Panama canal zone 2 years before the rules changed to make people so born natural born citizens.

        But then, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney both lived in the same state (same city even), so they couldn’t run together either. Having a vacation home in Wyoming doesn’t count.

        1. babies born to military families stationed anywhere in the world have always been considered NBCs

  14. Those DNC hypocrites don’t want us to hear all that boring anti-war stuff.

  15. Calling her a “woman of color” seems ridiculous. She is 3/4 European and 1/4 Pacific Islander (Samoan). And she certainly looks white. Do we really want to perpetuate the antiquated “one drop rule” in defining these categories?

    But IceTrey makes a good point about her not being a “natural born citizen”, only a natural-born “U.S. national”. It’s a distinction the Constitution’s author’s probably could never have imagined, but it exists.

    1. Both of her parents were US citizens, so she’s a natural-born citizen. In fact, both of her parents, and three of her four grandparents, were natural-born citizens; only one was just a national.

      1. You have to be born in the country to citizens to be natural born. Samoa is a territory.

        1. No, you have to be born in the country OR to citizens. Some restrictions apply if only one parent is a citizen, which is why the whole “birther” business about Obama got started. If both are citizens, you’re good to go. I should have caught that she qualified on that score.

          1. Better call Saul (Goodman). He got his (mail order) law degree from the University of American Samoa.

          2. Actually there is no legal definition of natural born citizen, no law nor federal case. No one alive knows what it means.

            1. Sure we do, because it was already written down. Per Blackstone, the accepted authority on the law by the Founders:

              all children, born out of the king’s ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception

              The only way that “natural born” in the Constitution can possibly mean anything other than what it did in Blackstone is if there is a contrary definition enshrined somewhere in US law. But you yourself say there isn’t such a definition, so Blackstone controls.

    2. Yeah I was struck by the WOC thing also. Christian beclowns himself with this silly woke shit. She lives in Hawaii. Pretty sure that color is a suntan.

    3. “Calling her a “woman of color” seems ridiculous. She is 3/4 European and 1/4 Pacific Islander (Samoan). And she certainly looks white. Do we really want to perpetuate the antiquated “one drop rule” in defining these categories?”

      I thought that about Obama.

  16. Why is the embedded comment for the photo that you only see if you hover your mouse over the picture, read: “Hawk dressed in dove white?”

    1. You mean the alt-text?

      It’s either an attempt at humor or a secret espionage code, I’m guessing it’s an attempt at humor.

    2. Oh crap. I missed that secret message. I’m late for revolution.

  17. So the party of diversity, inclusion, and the common worker is down to these two clueless, bleached white, millionaire fossils. Too funny.

    1. Obviously Dems are extremely racist.

  18. My plan is starting to come together. Now if I can just get Tulsi Gabbard and Nikki Haley to run on a 3rd party ticket…

    1. Yes!!! This!!! I, too, would dearly LOVE to have Tulsi Gabbard and Nikki Haley get DOWN on my third-party ticket!!! And then again, get up on it, and down on it, and up and down, and up and down…


      1. That’s not what “3rd party” means…

        1. How about a 3-way debate?

  19. If I were a Democrat, I’d have quit over this. This is such transparent bullshit.

    1. Transparent bullshit is the medium your average Dem inhabits. Like water for a fish.

  20. Having a higher threshold as the race progresses makes sense. Deciding the threshold only after the results are in, though… I’m not willing to give them the benefit of doubt.

    1. It’s DNC-town, of course there are Shenanigans.

      My honest guess, the DNC is doing everything they can to prop up Biden. However, it seems to me that Tulsi would take more… shall we say, anti-establishment voters from Bernie, than she would Biden. Biden seems to just have a bunch of sclerotic, disgruntled Hillary voters. So it seems that they’d be hurting Bernie by bringing her into the race.

      1. Bull. She’d end up pawning those two fools and win the nomination.

        1. Ha! This stupid phone- I just accidentally flagged my own comment.

        2. I don’t think she’d bother pawning them – they’re not antiques, they’re just old and beat up.

        3. Pawning or pwning?

      2. They’re terrified of Gabbard, but have no clue how to handle her.
        Si they hide

        1. Oui they hide. Da, jawohl! Also we need an edit function, Reason.com!

  21. It would be a debate if there was a resolution to actually debate.
    These shenanigans are actually ill conceived joint press conferences, meant to showcase some out of touch TV talking head.

  22. BTW, I’m still getting the pop-up vid puffing mini-Mike for ‘winning’ American Samoa! Whoa!
    Damning with faint praise, right there.

    1. Tulsi won two delegates v. one won by Mikey.
      That must hurt. Mikey’s huge ego.
      I wonder if the $500,000,000 Bloomberg dumped into the economy will help Trump?

  23. So- they’ll invite someone who isn’t a Democrat to the debate but ignore someone who is? What a curious concept.

  24. Did we say anyone who earned a delegate was in? We meant an American delegate. Oh wait, American Samoa is in America? We meant a Super Tuesday STATE, like Alabama or Puerto Rico, not some island.

  25. The only thing surprising about this is that they didn’t also exclude Sanders.

    1. They remember Chicago. They want to put off the riots as long as possible.

  26. While I prefer Tulsi over Biden and Bernie, I honestly don’t have a problem with the democrats excluding her at this point. It’s transparently obvious to everybody that this race has come down to Biden vs Bernie, so let the voters get the closest possible look at the only two candidates with any realistic shot at the nomination.

    That’s what I’d want, if I were an undecided democratic primary voter.

    1. The race is now clearly and openly Bernie vs the entire democratic party elite power structure.
      Which makes sense, as Bernie is not a democrat.

      1. Neither a Democrat or democrat.

    2. Wouldn’t it be awful if Joe had a full-blown Old Timers Disease breakdown on camera before a national audience?

  27. Despite her strong showing in the American Samoa caucuses where she won two delegates…

    The word “strong” is doing a an ass-ton of work in this sentence.

    1. Well, winning a third of the available delegates is a strong showing. Perhaps she should run for Governor of American Samoa.

    2. Twice as many delegates as the old white billionaire.

  28. So the choice would be a debate between two people who might actually be the nominee or a debate between those two same people interrupted by a nonentity wasting everyone’s time.

    1. You’re so mad that she dared sue Hillary.

  29. Tulsi Gabbard has gotten time on the debate stage and opportunities in caucuses and primaries. This is more than the Republicans have given to any of Donald Trump’s primary challengers.

    1. Republican frontrunner Trump has received 93.35% of the vote.
      Of the Democratic frontrunners Biden only has 35.54% and Bernie 29.00%.

      Can you see the difference?

    2. No political party is going to do debates when the incumbent who is part of their party has a 95% approval rating with that party’s members.

    3. Obviously, Reason is Trump’s pocket.

  30. Nobody needs a choice of more than two candidates.

    1. Two is one too many.

  31. Why not have the debate on a park bench where these two old coots can feed the pigeons at the same time?

    1. Sitting on a park bench
      Two elder statesmen with bad intent

      1. Nice. Also, the correct version of the 2nd line fits pretty well for Biden, no?

      2. Two old statists with bad intent.

        And bad hair.

  32. Seems silly to exclude any candidate when there are only 3 left.

  33. Tulsi never had a chance she did not portray the Evil intent from within her self the Democrats require for leading America straight into Hell!

    1. She never had a chance because she a candidate who drew support from Stormfront, which makes her incompatible in the party of educated, skilled, reasoning Americans residing in modern, successful communities.

      Her career as a Democrat has dissipated.

      1. the party of educated, skilled, reasoning Americans residing in modern, successful communities.

        Is that what you call America’s highly segregated urban shitholes?

      2. “she a candidate who drew support from Stormfront”

        The 21st century left advocates segregation, racial politics and the one-drop rule, while accusing white nationalist websites of rooting for a brown feminist half-breed.

        Maybe David Icke was right all along…

        1. The Stormers organized small donations to keep Gabbard on the debate stage, you bigoted rube.

          1. If we’re judging candidates by their supporters, the senile B’s would be toast.

  34. She would be in the debate if Bernie would give up his fair share of delegates.

  35. “We’ll tell you the score you need to make to qualify *after* we see your score.”

    This is always the way it is with Dems. “Fairness” is post hoc rationalization for “our side wins”.

    1. If it wasn’t for double standards, the left wouldn’t have any standards at all.

      1. . . . and yet the liberal-libertarian alliance still stomps the deplorable clingers in the culture war.

        1. You are boring, and an asshole.

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    1. Good for you. Still, no place in the debates – – – –

  37. The ruminant herd rejected her because she doesn’t chew the precribed cud.

  38. To their credit the DNC has nothing to gain by letting her debate. That said their machinations are so transparent it should give anyone who thinks they are somehow inclusive pause.

  39. The DNC wants men with service pistols to shoot people. So of course they will do anything to backstab the Hawaiian lady. In 1893 backstabbing the Hawaiian lady was an entrenched kleptocracy pastime. The jingle went: Good queen Lilliuokalani, please give Uncle Sam your little yellow hannie. Today’s kleptocracy is the same two senile fossil parties. Just imagine how they view us.

  40. So why did they choose 20% instead of 5% or 12% or any other number that also would have put only Biden and Sanders on the stage? Why not just say that only candidates with a shot at winning get a spot on stage and leave it at that? The theater that these parties go through is entertaining.

    1. You know very well why. It’s all bullshit, everything they do is bullshit. Frankly I’d kill myself if I had to be such a professional charlatan.

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  42. Woman of color? In that case, except for redheads, every white kid is a person of color after a week of band camp.

  43. It is a lot more entertaining looking at her than at those two old buzzards.

    1. I’d rather wake up to Tulsi than to Joe or Bernie.

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