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Robert Reich sees Democratic race as Warren, Sanders and Biden: 'Everyone else is irrelevant'

Robert Reich sees Democratic race as Warren, Sanders and Biden: 'Everyone else is irrelevant'
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Robert Reich, the Labor secretary under former President Clinton, said he thinks the 2020 Democratic Primary has been an “overly extended beauty contest” and that only three candidates — former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE (I-Vt.) — have a shot at winning.

Reich wrote in an op-ed in The Guardian that he thinks the second-tier candidates threaten the success of the party as a whole and that "everyone else is irrelevant" because Biden, Warren and Sanders consistently rank at about 20 percent in polls while their competitors receive only single-digit support. 

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Reich noted that eight candidates have qualified for the November debate and said he expects former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFormer Minnesota Democratic leader quits party Top cybersecurity official ousted by Trump Lawmakers question tech CEOs about content moderation in first post-election hearing MORE (D-Minn.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSix people whose election wins made history Next Congress expected to have record diversity Native Americans elected to Congress in record numbers this year MORE (D-Hawaii) to reach the threshold to get on the debate stage, bringing the total to 12.

“This is nuts,” he wrote. “What’s the point of another three-hour marathon? With so many candidates, all we get are soundbites, gotchas and one-liners.”

“At the same time, second-tier candidates are under growing pressure to take pot shots at the front runners – planting negative stories, poking holes in their plans, building themselves up at their expense,” he wrote. “This may be rational for them but it’s irrational for the Democrats as a whole.”

Reich encouraged Democrats to “hunker down” to focus on campaigning against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE, adding that the November debate should include Biden, Warren and Sanders only. He encouraged the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to make the qualifications to reach the debate stage stricter. 

Warren and Sanders need to distinguish themselves from each other, and Biden needs to back up why the country should return to a pre-Trump political age, according to Reich.

“The stakes could not be higher,” he wrote. “This will be the most important election in modern American history. We – not just Democrats but all Americans – cannot afford to blow it.”

The DNC has increased the qualifications for the November debate, requiring candidates to have at least 165,000 unique donors and reach 3 percent in four or more qualifying polls or 5 percent in two early primary state polls.

Gabbard has regularly criticized the DNC for its qualification process, saying primary leaders “are trying to hijack the entire election process,” and she threatened to boycott the October debate before ultimately appearing at the event.