With the impeachment of President President Trump at a standstill, Democrats will hold their seventh debate of the 2020 election cycle Tuesday night at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Just six Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage, teeing off less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, which take place Feb. 3.
Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. Remaining close behind him are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounding out the race’s top tier.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or stream Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate:
Tuesday’s Democratic debate, the seventh of the 2020 election cycle, is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern and last about two hours. It’s cohosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register, and will air live on CNN.
Fortunately for CNN, the debate won’t have to compete with Jeopardy!' s insanely popular “Greatest of All Time” tournament, which airs on ABC Tuesday at 8 p.m. The tournament has drawn a monster audience, averaging close to 15 million viewers a night in same-day ratings across its first three nights. For sake of comparison, December’s Democratic debate garnered just 6.17 million viewers across CNN and PBS.
Tuesday will be the smallest lineup yet for a Democratic debate, with just seven candidates qualifying. They are (in alphabetical order):
Two notable omissions from the debate are former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Bloomberg, who officially entered the race Nov. 24, did not meet the fund-raising threshold required to quality for Tuesday’s debate because the billionaire is funding his own campaign. On Saturday alone he spent more than $825,000 on Facebook ads, and told the New York Times he’s open to spending $1 billion to defeat Trump.
Yang, who qualified for all six previous debates, failed to meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling requirements, which required candidates to reach at least 5 percent in four approved national or early-state polls, or at least 7 percent in two early-state polls. Yang blamed the lack of polls conducted since the previous debate.
“If the DNC had only done their due diligence and commissioned polls in the early states, Andrew Yang would certainly be on the debate stage," campaign chief Nick Ryan said in a weekend email to supporters.
Other candidates who also won’t be on the debate stage are: Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
For the second debate in a row, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker didn’t poll high enough to qualify, and announced Monday he was ending his presidential campaign.
“Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” Booker wrote to supporters.
On Friday, self-help author Marianne Williamson announced she was also dropping out of the race, after reports surfaced she had laid off all of her campaign staffers. While Williamson didn’t attract much attention from voters, social media meme-makers certainly enjoyed her brief candidacy.
Tuesday night’s debate will have three moderators:
The DNC has approved as many as 12 debates, though there may be fewer, depending how the primary process plays out. Tuesday’s debate will be the first of 2020, with five more tentatively scheduled to take place over the coming months. The DNC has yet to release the qualification criteria for its forthcoming debates.
The eighth debate will be held Feb. 7 in Manchester, N.H., cohosted by ABC News and Apple News. Following that will be debates in Nevada (Feb. 19) and South Carolina (Feb. 25).