Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said Friday that she may skip Tuesday's primary debate because the Democratic National Committee has rigged the system to influence the primary result, according to The Hill.
Gabbard told Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball of Hill.TV's "Rising" that the DNC criteria for who makes the debate stage is a "threat to our democracy."
Gabbard did not qualify for the September debate, but she has qualified for Tuesday night's debate. The threshold was 130,000 individual donors and at least 2 percent in four national polls approved by the DNC.
"The DNC and their corporate media partners are essentially trying to hijack this election process away from the responsibility that voters have," Gabbard said Friday. "They're trying to be the ones to hold their own, essentially their own primary election before the primary election even begins by deciding through their pseudo-polls and arbitrary requirements—who's raising how much money, how much grassroots support do they have—and determining who's winning and who's not winning, blocking voters from hearing from all the candidates who are offering to hear them as president."
Although Gabbard claims the debate criteria is holding her back, the truth is that Democratic voters have not shown an interest in her campaign from the beginning, even before she missed the September debate. Since the beginning of the year, Gabbard has consistently polled between 0 and 3 percent nationally.
Despite Gabbard's complaints, some have felt the DNC's debate criteria, announced in May, has actually been too lax. The debates held to this point have featured stages with 10 or more candidates, some of them split into two nights.
The debates, crowded with candidates who have never stood a chance at securing the nomination, have produced events during which the contenders rarely are forced to speak thoroughly about their policies and political histories. Tuesday's debate will be the largest stage yet, with 12 candidates.
Still, Gabbard maintains that the DNC is hindering democracy.
"The reason why I'm thinking through whether or not I should boycott the debate is because there's a very serious threat to our democracy," Gabbard said.