The Democratic presidential camp will have its smallest and potentially most influential debate so far. It could also become one of the most controversial if candidates present their problems off stage on stage.
On Tuesday at 6 p.m., six candidates are scheduled to meet at Drake University in Des Moines to take it less than three weeks before the first committees in the nation in Iowa.
Gone are the two-night shows and 10 candidates at the same time they marked the first rounds of debate of the Democratic competition last year. This two-hour debate will feature former Vice President Joe Biden; former mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind .; Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
With fewer candidates on stage, there will be more time for each to train, and one of the most important questions in Democratic politics this week is whether the Sanders and Warren campaigns will increase their disputes with each other. Warren criticized Sanders for sending volunteers to "throw her away" after her campaign circulated conversation topics addressed to Warren's supporters, claiming she doesn't bring new voters to the process. Sanders, accused of telling Warren at a closed-door meeting in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency, responded to the report of anonymous origin saying that Warren employees were lying.
This will be the first round of debate in which all participants are white. A dozen Democrats are still campaigning, and notable names missing from the stage include Hawaii's representative Tulsi Gabbard, businessman Andrew Yang and billionaire former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey left the contest on Monday.
Why is this debate so small if there is still a group of Democrats in the race?
The Democratic Party set the highest bar so far to qualify for this debate. Candidates must have achieved at least 5% support since November 14 in at least four early national or state surveys, or at least 7% support in two state surveys in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada . Candidates must also have obtained donations from at least 225,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 US states. UU., Territories or the District of Columbia.
Yang and Booker reached the donor threshold but fell short in the polls. Booker got eight candidates to sign a request to the party to reduce the qualification thresholds; that did not happen Yang offered to help finance the cost of more polls, and on Saturday his campaign issued a statement complaining about the process of the National Democratic Committee and saying that the Yang camp had commissioned its own polls that showed it with 5% in Nevada and New Hampshire.
Bloomberg, who self-finances her campaign and spends massively on paid staff and television advertising, met the survey requirements, but does not accept contributions and, therefore, did not reach the donor threshold. Gabbard, who threatened to boycott the previous debates, claiming that the party and the media were "manipulating the elections," did not meet any of the requirements.
Why is this debate so important? There has already been a lot.
Many potential Iowa caucusgoers remain undecided in their choice of which candidate to support. A particularly strong or weak performance of a candidate could bring a welcome boost or unwanted danger in the last weeks before the Iowa assemblies on February 3. And, of course, what makes Iowa so attractive is that a great victory at Hawkeye State could give a successful candidate more credibility with undecided voters in other states.
But don't worry: if you love debates, there are many more to come: in Manchester, N.H., on February 7; in Las Vegas on February 19; and in Charleston, S.C., on February 25.
How do I see the debate?
The debate, jointly organized by Des Moines Register and CNN, will be shown on the cable channel and can also be viewed on the websites and applications of Register and CNN.
Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip of CNN and Brianne Pfannenstiel of the Des Moines Register will moderate.
What is at stake for each candidate on stage?
Biden You probably have the least loss of the five candidates on stage. His decent poll in predominantly white Iowa is just the icing on his unwavering strength so far with colored voters elsewhere, whose support could provide Biden with a path to the Democratic nomination. If poor performance in the debate contributes to a worse performance in the Iowa caucuses, it still represents a risk to Biden's nomination possibilities, of course. But unlike some of the other Democratic candidates, Biden could probably withstand a modest end in the state of Hawkeye.
ButtigiegOn the contrary, he probably needs to do very well in Iowa to pave his own path to the nomination, given his inability so far to attract voters of color. Could Do strong victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, predominantly white, help unlock the support of more diverse voters in the primary states that follow? It is harder to see that happen if Buttigieg is doing badly in Iowa, so he needs a debate performance that keeps his followers energized and the door open for future voters.
by Klobuchar, probably now or never. The Minnesota senator has never entered the top level of the race, but has voted better in neighboring Iowa than in any other early voting state, although she still receives support only in a single digit. Who knows, a superior surprise placement in Iowa could attract undecided moderate voters who might be concerned about Biden's age or Buttigieg's inexperience. But he is running out of time to make a breakthrough.
SandersLike Biden, he has one of the most valuable assets in the Democratic primary: a decent amount of support among voters of color. But unlike Biden, Sanders has faced persistent questions, even among sympathetic liberals, about whether he is too leftist to secure the Democratic nomination. A potential cure for that kind of hand twisting? Win directly from the door. It has not been Sanders' style to make big splashes in the debates, but a constant performance followed by a superior ending in Iowa would make the senator seem more eligible for undecided voters.
Steyer He hardly reached the voting threshold in time to qualify for the debate, but he did it with a flourish: a new Fox News poll showed him a 15% poll in South Carolina, only surpassed by Biden's 36%, without Doubt thanks to Steyer advertising storm there. Unlike fellow billionaire candidate Bloomberg, who has already become the one who spends much more, Steyer had the good sense to enter the race early enough to bring together the small donors needed to qualify for the debate stage. A good debate will certainly help Steyer, but given his almost bottomless advertising budget, the debate feels lower for him than for, for example, Klobuchar.
At one time in late summer, Burrow It was voting as the best option for Democrats in Iowa. Since then, its brightness has faded a bit, since Warren did not rank first in an Iowa state poll since early November. The good: The latest Des Moines Register survey shows that it has the highest favorability rating in the field with the Iowa Democrats. Warren could be well positioned to argue that it is the best option to unify the progressive and moderate wings of the party behind One candidate