As the Democratic primary continues and the second quarter of fundraising is over, many contenders for the White House are about to figure out that they can’t hack it.
To qualify for the fall debates, all Democratic candidates must meet specific requirements. They must be able to hit 2% in multiple polls and reach at least 130,000 donors. But after last week’s debates, many are running out of money and donors very quickly.
So far only six of the twenty candidates who debated last Thursday and Friday have qualified for the fall debates, leaving many uncertain of the success they touted just last week. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is, however, unwilling to give on the requirements.
He says, “We put out our rules for debate participation months earlier because we wanted to give people time.” He adds, “We want to be fair to everyone.”
It appears that just like with acts of Congress, Democrats are dragging their feet and waiting for the last minute, all too confident in their lacking abilities to win.
Now many are struggling to make ends meet. Technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang says, “There are some campaigns that are in something of a Hail Mary mode.”
However, there is still time for most to recover. It is early in the campaign season and many people, and potential donors, are not really paying much attention to the happenings within the Democratic presidential field.
It is also important to note that a presidential candidate doesn’t have to participate in the debates to win the election and become president of the United States. However, it is highly unlikely, as the many voters pay close attention to the debates, especially the later ones, and consider the results of the debate a close resemblance of how the election will turn out.
As of right now the only ones to be locked into the fall debates are Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, California Senator Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. As for the sixth, former Representative Beto O’Rourke from Texas is expected to make it. However, it is noted that his poor performance and the fact that he pretty much took a beating last week in the first debates, throws question on this and makes nothing sure.
For a party that prides itself on diversity and variety, the qualifiers are all starting to look a little similar, older, whiter, wealthier, and male.
Julian Castro, the only Hispanic contestant, has seen a recent spike in donors and funding based on the debate, but his campaign has not yet mentioned if he has qualified.
Similarly, Cory Booker, the only black man running, has informed the public that he still trails the qualifying requirements by more than 30,000 donors, according to a message he sent out this weekend. He still claims to be confident that he will make it, but some of his supporters are not.
And some say that the requirements are unfair to black voters, those like Steven Philips who supports Booker and is a civil rights lawyer. He says, “the pool of people who have discretionary income to be donors is overwhelmingly, if not disproportionately, white.
However, that didn’t seem to be a problem for Obama in 2008.
Also, four out of the six running females are not sure to make either the polling or donor requirements.
Much of the funding candidates have already received has been spent on online advertisements to gain new donors but with little to show for it. Strategists surmise that many are spending about an average of $40 to get just one email address of a prospective donor. But the amounts they receive back are not nearly that much, forcing many campaigns to cut back on travel, hiring new staff, and organizing events in states where presence and rallies are essential.
Large donors of those campaigns are becoming increasingly worried that the funds they are sending in are only being used to gain more donors. And as a former economic adviser to Obama says, “No one wants to give money to buy donors.”
At this rate, there won’t be many Lefts in the running come September for the debates. And good riddance.