U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii — the last remaining woman in the Democrats’ presidential race, and a woman of color — has been shut out of the party’s next debate on March 15 with a rule change that makes it mathematically impossible for her to claim a podium.

“To keep me off the stage, the DNC again arbitrarily changed the debate qualifications,” Gabbard tweeted late March 6. “Previously they changed the qualifications in the OPPOSITE direction so Bloomberg could debate.”

Her platform issues including ending wars in the Middle East, reforming campaign finance, justice reform such as ending cash bail and private prisons, have been ignored in the media, supporters say.

She implored the two front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, to intervene on her behalf. “I’m sure you would agree that our Democratic nominee should be a person who will stand up for what is right,” she tweeted. “So I ask that you have the courage to do that now in the face of the DNC’s effort to keep me from participating in the debates.”

Under the party’s most recent set of debate rules, any candidate who had won at least one delegate in the party’s first 25 nomination contests had the right to take the stage.

Gabbard, who gained two delegates in American Samoa’s caucuses on Super Tuesday, would have qualified.

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang predicted the rules change before the announcement. “Someone asked me what the qualifications for the next debate would be. I responded ‘whatever Tulsi has plus one,’” Yang said.

The New York Post asked if the Democratic Party is misogynist.

But on March 6, party officials announced new criteria requiring candidates to hold at least 20% of all awarded delegates by the time of the next scheduled debate on March 15. The debate has been announced to have no in-person audience due to coronavirus threat.

Even if Gabbard ran the table in the next round of contests on Tuesday, she could not meet that threshold, Business Insider calculated.

The party said it will calculate the delegates awarded by adding together those allocated in counts by The Associated Press or CNN to all candidates, including those who were awarded delegates in earlier states but have since dropped out of the race.

A two-person debate would be the party’s smallest yet. Ten previous debates had at least six candidates, but many candidates have dropped out since then. Only Biden, Sanders and Gabbard remain in the Democratic race.

Mostly ignored by the media, which she has criticized, Gabbard has struggled to attract support and has picked up only two delegates — from the U.S. territory of American Samoa, where she was born. By comparison, Biden has more than 660 delegates, while Sanders has over 570.

– Associated Press and New York Post contributing

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