The D.N.C. has farmed out their qualifying criteria. No. 1, they’ve picked inferior criteria that does advantage billionaire candidates. But then they outsource it to people that actually weren’t going to do any polls between the time I was on the last debate stage going to this one. So we didn’t even get to see if there was a bounce for us where we see it: on the ground in places like Iowa and South Carolina and New Hampshire.
How much do you think these debates matter in the race?
They’ve been material for us in the sense that every debate has led to a surge in donations. And again, if you’re not self-financing your election, those surges really help you to apply resources to your campaign.
That said, again, we’re seeing an incredible response from the nation right now, getting contributions, tens of thousands of new and unique contributors contributing to our campaign, as well as people doubling and tripling down in their donations. So we sort of insulated ourselves from the lack of this opportunity.
So, it’s not going to be an all-white debate stage because Andrew Yang qualified. But are there issues that you worry are going to be missing, given that Senator Kamala Harris dropped out of the race and you’re not going to be there?
Clearly, there are many issues that were brought up by the diverse voices. But that does not exclude my colleagues on the stage next week from bringing them up. Walking my streets or going to my bodega, what I’ve heard more from people is a sense of hurt, that they feel like the people that they felt shared their lived experiences have been unfairly excluded. And it’s from the very party that is going to rely on their votes to win Senate seats, congressional seats and governor’s seats. And obviously the presidency.
We should not be a party heading into a national election with a feeling among key members of our constituency that this was not a fair process.
Are there changes that you’re encouraging the D.N.C. to make to have a more inclusive stage?
We have made no formal proposal to the D.N.C. whatsoever. Clearly, the criteria they’re using right now is working against the voters in the early primary states. What the D.N.C. is doing right now is excluding viable campaigns and advantaging other campaigns over ones that have a fair, if not equal or better chance of winning.