DNC Changes Rules; Bloomberg Could Make Next Debate Stage

New debate rules from the Democratic National Committee will provide a path to Feb. 19 debate stage for candidate Michael Bloomberg, who did not make the stage for the last debate. 

That is according to debate host NBC News, which said the DNC has scrapped the grassroots donor threshold which had cut out billionaire Bloomberg and his primarily self-financed campaign.  

The debate is being held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. 

Under the new rules, the candidates don't have to show they have tens of thousands of individual donors, but instead will require that the candidates get at least one delegate in either the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary or pull at least 10% in four national polls, or alternatively 12% in two single-state polls in Nevada or South Carolina, according to NBC. 

"Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold," DNC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. 

Democratic candidate Tom Steyer was not celebrating the change, at least not coming at this stage of the process.

“Let’s make one thing clear: changing the rules now to accommodate Mike Bloomberg and not changing them in the past to ensure a more diverse debate stage is just plain wrong. Back in December, I called on the DNC to open up the debate requirements so that more candidates, including candidates of color, would be able to participate. The Democratic Party should be doing everything possible to ensure a diverse field of candidates. Instead, they are changing the rules for a candidate who is ignoring early states voters and grassroots donors.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.