In an effort to spice up the anticipation for the first debate between Democratic presidential hopefuls, and to the dismay of Hillary Clinton, CNN has announced its debate criteria- which allows Vice President Joe Biden to participate should he declare his run for president by October 14th.
In order to qualify for participation in the debate, co-hosted by CNN and Facebook, candidates must have achieved 1% of projected votes as measured by three CNN-recognized polls. This means that Biden can announce his candidacy on the day of the debate and still participate.
By formulating this criteria, CNN can expect some buzz leading up to the debate and it also can open the stage to more than just Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading candidates. Other candidates who qualify include Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.
The differences between the criteria for the Democratic and Republican debates illustrate just how dissimilar the two lineups are.
For example, while debate hosts must expand their requirements in an effort to include more than two Democrat participants, they must tighten their requirements in an effort to shrink the field of Republican debaters.
Former communications director for the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”), Mo Elleithee, points out that, “It’s a little bit of an issue, a little bit of a conundrum, for very different reasons than the Republicans. The reality here is: what kind of criteria do you set that actually gets all the credible candidates on stage in a field right now, where a lot them just aren’t registering in the polls?”
Democrat frontrunner Clinton launched her Presidential bid in April through a video on social media where she stated that, “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion – so you can do more than just get by – you can get ahead. And stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
Sanders announced his run by stating that the United States needs a “political revolution” of middle, working-class Americans so they can take control of the government from billionaires.
Biden, on the other hand, has publicly struggled with his decision on whether to join the primary. Many Democrats hope he will get in the race as public support for the Clinton campaign seems to continually decline as a result of her email scandal.
The debate will be held on October 13th at 9:00 p.m. EST.