From The NationCandidates, members of Congress, and activists are outraged over debate rule changes that bow to a billionaire.
Grinnell, Iowa -- Michael Moore could barely contain his fury.
After the Democratic National Committee signaled Friday that it would abandon a grassroots-funding requirement that ensured candidates had to prove their appeal by attracting tens of thousands of small donations, Moore told a crowd of 2,500 that had packed into a cavernous concert hall near Des Moines, "You had to show you had a certain number of Americans that would give you a buck, that's all the rule said, to show you have support. And that's how they determine who would be on the debate stage. Today they removed that rule because [of] Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire, the Republican Mayor of New York City."
As Moore described the rule change, his rage was echoed by the crowd, which booed the DNC and cheered the filmmaker's stark assessment of the party's motivation.
"He doesn't have to show he has any support among the American people, he can just buy his way onto the debate stage, and I'm going to tell you what's so disgusting about this.
"I watched the debate in Iowa here two weeks ago -- the all-white debate -- and the fact [is] that the Democratic, the DNC will not allow Cory Booker on that stage, will not allow Julian Castro on that stage, but they are going to allow Mike Bloomberg on the stage? Because he has a billion f*cking dollars!"
A roar of progressive populist outrage shook the venue.
Moore's been an enthusiastic surrogate for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa, where Monday's caucuses officially launch the race for delegates to nominate the party's 2020 candidate. Since the news broke Friday, there has been widespread objection to the rule changes, which will allow candidates to gain a place on the stage of the February 19 debate in Nevada by registering at least 10 percent support in four qualifying national, Nevada, or South Carolina polls -- or 12 percent in a pair of qualifying polls from the two states. They can also qualify if they win convention delegates with a good finish in Monday's Iowa caucuses or the February 11 New Hampshire primary.