Not to be able to participate in those debates represents a major obstacle to advancing one’s candidacy. Although the requirements for the upcoming debate on October 15 – and the previous two – are very simple a) candidates must have raised money from at least 400 donors in 20 different states b) candidates must average at least 2% in the polls following the last debate c) candidates must have 130,000 signatures of individuals who support the candidates from at least 20 different states, half a dozen candidates are still unable to meet those requirements.
As time goes by, it is without doubt the requirements will change and will be more difficult to meet which would lead to a pool of fewer candidates eligible to appear on the debate stage, an idea that feels almost like a premonition. A few weeks ago, an internal memo from the Cory Booker campaign seems to suggest he is already looking at the exit door. As of this writing, there’s been no further communication from Cory Booker’s campaign (or any other campaign) suggesting there is an imminent exit from the race. The October 15 debate might be a turning point for Booker and/or others to decide whether to stay in the race or to graciously exit.