Earlier today, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard deployed to Indonesia with the Hawaii Army National Guard . The Congresswoman and 2020 presidential contender will be taking part in training exercises with the Indonesian military. Gabbard should be back in the US in time for next month’s Democratic debate, although it still remains unclear if she’ll qualify to be on the stage.
Gabbard, a major in the Army National Guard, is scheduled to return at the end of the month. The next Democratic debate will be held in Houston, Texas, on the 12th and 13th of September. The upcoming event will feature a significantly higher threshold for participation than the previous two debates.
At this point, only nine candidates have qualified for the September debate. The candidates confirmed to be participating are: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Kobuchar, and Andrew Yang. At least one or two additional candidates are expected to make the cut.
To qualify for the debate, candidates are required to meet two conditions. The candidate must have received contributions from at least 130,000 different individuals, with a minimum of 400 donors per state. Candidates must also achieve at least two percent support in four separate polls from a list of 16 different pollsters. Only one poll per pollster may be used to qualify.
The upcoming debate will be held by ABC News and Univision. The previous two debates were held by NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and Telemundo. Early in the primary season, the DNC announced that Fox News would be banned from hosting any of the Democratic debates.
While the lineup of candidates was randomly selected for the previous two debates, the upcoming debate will likely separate candidates by their polling numbers. Considering how the debate is scheduled, the frontrunners are expected to take the stage on Thursday. The lower polling candidates would then take the stage on Friday evening, when television viewership tends to be lower than it would be on Monday to Thursday.
Gabbard has already met the required threshold of donors to appear on the next debate stage. However, she has only reached the minimum polling requirement in one poll. She’ll need to reach at least two percent support in three more qualified polls before August 28 to participate.
Despite her polling numbers, Gabbard was the most searched candidate on Google during the evening of the most recent debate. The 38-year-old politician previously served in Iraq with the Hawaii Army National Guard from 2004 to 2005. She later deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009.