AMES, Iowa—In Midwestern cities a three-and-a-half-hour drive from each other, Carly Fiorina and Martin O'Malley spent Friday decrying the same villain: their party establishment.
Here in Ames, after speaking to a crowd at Iowa State University, Fiorina accused the Republican National Committee and CNN of putting their "thumb on the scale" to keep her off the debate stage.
"The rules are ridiculous. It's like saying to a football team that performs well and goes to the playoffs, 'You can't play in the playoff game because of a preseason game.' It's a stupid rule," Fiorina said. "They could change them if they wanted to. The RNC could ask them to change the rules. They could do more polls. They could count state polls."
O'Malley was even bolder than Fiorina on Friday, as he leveled his complaints against his party at the Democratic National Convention's own summer meeting in Minneapolis.
"Will we let the circus run unchallenged on every channel while we cower in shadows under a decree of silence in the ranks?" O'Malley asked, referring to the nine debates that the Republican Party has sanctioned for its candidates. "Or will we demand equal time to showcase our ideas?"
"We are the Democratic Party, not the undemocratic party," he added.