12:15 GMT18 January 2021
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    Hawaii Representative and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard announced that she will not be participating in the upcoming Democratic debate - even if she meets the qualifications.

    “For a number of reasons, I have decided not to attend the December 19th ‘debate’ — regardless of whether or not there are qualifying polls,” Gabbard declared via Twitter on December 6, emphasizing her skepticism of the debate’s legitimacy. “I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

    While Gabbard - who has appeared on stage for four of the five Democratic debates - reached the donor threshold for the upcoming debate, she still needs to reach 4% or higher in a poll approved by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before the Thursday deadline to qualify.

    As of the publication of this article, former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer are expected to appear on the debate stage in Los Angeles, California.

    Like Gabbard, American entrepreneur Andrew Yang is one poll away from qualifying.

    This is not the first time Gabbard has pushed back against what she perceives to be the corporate media and DNC’s interference in a fair electoral process. Back in October, the congresswoman blasted the two entities’ use of “polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic” as requirements for their “so-called debates.”

    Outside of the DNC’s debate realm, Gabbard has continued to highlight the shortcomings of her fellow politicians - from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Buttigieg.

    In a Tuesday interview with The Hill’s program “Rising,” the congresswoman openly questioned why Buttigieg, a Rhodes scholar and well-educated individual, chose to work with US corporate consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which “makes a hell of a lot of money off of putting people out of their jobs and has made a hell of a lot of money off of their consulting work in Afghanistan.”

    Buttigieg’s past employment has been subjected to scrutiny over the past several days following reports that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement was one of McKinsey’s clients. Not long after that, Warren and Buttigieg got into a spat about their sources of income prior to being elected to office, prompting the senator to disclose that she made just under $2 million during her legal career as a bankruptcy attorney over the past three decades.

    Though Buttigieg previously cited a non-disclosure agreement as the reason for his inability to release the names of his clients while working at McKinsey, Lis Smith, senior advisor of communications for the Democratic presidential candidate, confirmed Monday that Buttigieg will “soon” reveal his client list after recent approval from the corporate consulting firm.


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