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Pay-to-play? Bloomberg & his deep pockets qualify for Nevada debate after DNC rule change opened door to billionaire contender

Pay-to-play? Bloomberg & his deep pockets qualify for Nevada debate after DNC rule change opened door to billionaire contender
Michael Bloomberg will be allowed to participate in the upcoming Democratic primary debate in Nevada, thanks in part to a helpful rule change – and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending.

As of Tuesday, the former New York City mayor has polled over 10 percent in four surveys, meeting the threshold set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). (Alternatively, Bloomberg could have qualified by receiving at least one delegate from either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary – but the billionaire has yet to rack up a single delegate.)

His qualification for Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas was made possible by a rather accommodating rule change enacted by the DNC, which decided to drop the requirement that candidates have a strong network of donors.

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In fact, requiring grassroots support would have been a major hurdle for Bloomberg. He is not soliciting donations, choosing instead to self-finance his campaign. With a seemingly bottomless war chest, the billionaire has shelled out a staggering $344 million of his own money since declaring his candidacy in late November.

His strategy of saturating television and the internet with his ads appears to have paid off though, with the former mayor rocketing in the polls. While he now officially qualifies for the Las Vegas debate, Bloomberg has decided to skip campaigning in Nevada, focusing instead on Super Tuesday, the series of delegate-heavy primaries which begin on March 3.

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Current polls suggest that Bloomberg has no clear path to winning the primaries. Some have expressed concern that the billionaire’s plan is to poach delegates from other candidates during the Democratic Convention, in order snatch the nomination from Bernie Sanders. American comedian Lee Camp has argued that a match-up between Bloomberg and Donald Trump would be a lose-lose for the American people, describing both candidates as oligarchs who serve Wall Street.

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