Gabbard considering boycotting October debate, claims DNC and media are 'trying to hijack' election


WASHINGTON - Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced Thursday that she is considering boycotting next week's Democratic primary debate, claiming without proof that the Democratic National Committee and the press are trying to rig the election.

"The DNC and the corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process, so in order to bring attention to this serious threat to our democracy, and to ensure that your voice is heard, I'm seriously considering boycotting the next debate on Oct. 15," she said in a video statement posted to Twitter.

Gabbard said she will announce whether she will officially boycott the debate in the coming days.

In her statement, the Hawaii congresswoman said that voters in early states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada expressed to her how frustrated they are that "the DNC and the corporate media are essentially trying to usurp your role as voters in choosing who our Democratic nominee will be."

Gabbard noted that in 2016 the DNC tried to rig the election against Sen. Bernie Sanders in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Emails released in July 2016 by Wikileaks showed that some DNC officials, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida - who at the time was chairwoman of the committee - criticized Sanders' campaign.

Gabbard also claimed in her video Thursday that the "DNC and the corporate media are rigging the election again" in 2020.

"This time it's against the American people in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada," she said. "They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and they're holding so-called debates which really are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television, meant to entertain rather than to inform or enlighten."

Gabbard is one of 12 candidates that made it to the debate stage for October. She also qualified for the June and July debates, with the September debate being the only one so far that she didn't meet the requirements for.

The DNC first released the qualifications for the June and July debates in February; the qualifications for the September and October debates in May; and the qualifications for the November debate in September.

To make it to the debate stage in November, candidates must receive individual donations from at least 165,000 people, consisting of at least 600 unique donors in at least 20 states. In terms of polling, candidates must stand at 3% or higher in at least four approved national or early state polls, or they can reach 5% or higher in two early state polls.

Gabbard has hit the donor mark for the November debate, but is currently at 0.6% in polling, according to an average by Real Clear Politics. In a Quinnipiac poll released this week, Gabbard didn't even hit 1%.

Over the past several months, Gabbard has repeatedly criticized the DNC and the primary debates.Author Marianne Williamson, who is also running for president, agreed with Gabbard's sentiments.

"I have great respect for Tulsi for saying such inconvenient truth," Williamson wrote in a tweet. "She is absolutely correct."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tulsi Gabbard considering boycotting October Democratic debate


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