Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio on Tuesday said he’s holding out hope to get on the debate stage in October, but that any candidate can catch fire with a singular viral moment in the age of social media.
Mr. de Blasio, who likely will not qualify for the next debate in September, said there’s another opportunity for him to get on the debate stage the following month, pointing out that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock qualified for the Democratic National Committee’s July debate after being left off the stage in June.
“But I would say the reason no one should count out any candidate who has something serious to say and serious qualifications … is because in America today in the age of social media you can go from being obscure to famous in 48 to 72 hours,” Mr. de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Any moment, any idea might catch fire. Any moment, authentic moment, might take off and change the way people see you. Any world event might change the entire discussion.”
“I think if I were looking back 20 years in time, I might have seen this whole thing differently. But we’re in a much more open context than [we’ve] ever been in,” he said.
While some candidates are complaining about the metrics the DNC has set for debate qualifications, Mr. de Blasio did say that emphasizing individual donors is a positive.
“It’s actually ‘small d’ democracy to say, how many people say hey, we want to hear more from you? That’s progress,” he said. “Bringing in that grassroots element is helpful, and that’s my job now to fight for that.”
Candidates have to secure contributions from 130,000 individual donors and hit 2% or more in four qualifying polls to make the debate stage next month.
The cutoff for candidates to qualify is Wednesday. But the standards are the same for the DNC’s October debate, giving Mr. de Blasio and others another chance to get onstage.