Why Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson are out
Published 4:59 PM EDT Sep 12, 2019
WASHINGTON – Only 10 Democratic presidential candidates made it to Thursday’s primary debates.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and author Marianne Williamson — the two candidates who dominate search results during or after the debates — are not part of that group. Gabbard and Williamson are two of the now five women running for president.
Williamson, who was on the first night of July’s debates, was the most googled candidate that night, which spiked after her use of the phrase “dark psychic force.” Gabbard, who was on the second night of July’s debate, was the most googled candidate during that night’s event, as well as June’s debates.
But search results have not translated to polling for the two candidates, and therefore the two did not make the September debate stage. Candidates needed to hit 2% in four qualifying polls and tally at least 130,000 individual donors, according to the Democratic National Comittee guidance.
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Thursday’s debate is being held at Texas Southern University in Houston between 8 to 11 p.m. ET. ABC News is hosting the debate in partnership with Univision.
The two women have repeatedly struggled to get ahead in polling. Gabbard is at an average of 1.3%, according to RealClearPolitics. She has qualified in three out of four polls to make it to October’s debate. Williamson is at an average of 0.3%, according to RealClearPolitics.
Williamson, however, isn’t going to be stopped from trying to speak to a national audience.
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The author is going to offer post-debate commentary Thursday evening at 8 p.m. PT.
“This Thursday, September 12, the DNC will host its third presidential debate. I won’t be there, but directly afterwards, live in Los Angeles and via livestream, I will offer my own take on the issues,” she wrote in a tweet.
Gabbard, however, has yet to announce whether she will hold an event to counter Thursday’s debate.
The Hawaii Congresswoman has been open about her frustrations with the DNC and not making the debate.
Late last month, Gabbard during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson claimed that the DNC’s process of who makes the debate “lacks transparency.” The DNC first announced the criteria for the September debate in May, including which polls would be qualifying.
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Gabbard has also filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming they tried to sensor her during the height of her being the most searched candidate after the last debate.
“We filed this lawsuit not just because of what happened there, but because of the kind of power Google has as this giant tech monopoly to interfere in our public discourse and really how they can impact our fair elections,” she said during an interview with “Rubin Report” host Dave Rubin.
It is unclear what Gabbard will be doing on the day of the debate. There are no scheduled events on her Facebook page nor formal events listed on her campaign website.
Gabbard’s campaign did not answer several requests from USA TODAY about the congresswomen’s schedule during Thursday’s debate.
In a press released announcing the third qualifying poll, Gabbard’s campaign noted the congresswoman has “emphasized her campaign is not focused on the debates and is instead spending her time on the ground campaigning, talking to the American people directly — without the ridiculous 60-second time constraints of the debate stage.”