And in Iowa, the race is open.
That makes the debate on Tuesday night, which will have the least number of candidates on stage to date, be a matter of high risk and high reward, with each candidate forced to weigh if they want or need the kind of direct confrontations , a smaller group of six people. stage could bring.
Here are eight things to see on Tuesday night in Des Moines:
Sanders and Warren’s fight erupts
The unspoken pact of months between the two most progressive candidates in the field, Sanders and Warren, finally seems to have broken.
On Monday, CNN reported that at a 2018 meeting between the two, Sanders told Warren that he believed a woman could not win the presidency, according to four sources.
Sanders disputed the account.
“It is absurd to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me that she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman cannot win,” Sanders said in a statement to CNN.
But on Monday night, Warren issued a statement supporting the characterization of the meeting by the sources.
“I thought a woman could win; he did not agree,” he said.
No wonder the two finally disagree. Sanders has increasingly consolidated the left wing of the party, while Warren is a favorite of liberals with a college education. But both would probably need broad support from the progressives to win the nomination.
Warren told reporters he was “disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers to throw me the trash.” Sanders himself seemed to distance himself from the note, saying on Sunday that his campaign has “hundreds of employees” and that “people sometimes say things they shouldn’t.”
“I have never said a negative word about Elizabeth Warren, who is my friend,” Sanders said.
This debate is different about foreign policy.
Trump’s decision to order the attack that killed a senior Iranian military commander resulted in a new crisis in the Middle East, and is forcing Democratic presidential contenders to seriously detail their own views on foreign policy and paper from United States. in the world.
Biden’s campaign is convinced that this new reality helps the former vice president more: he has decades of experience in foreign policy and worked with former president Barack Obama to develop international agreements such as Iran’s nuclear agreement, which Trump eliminated. He has always argued that he is the best prepared candidate to work effectively on the world stage immediately after taking office and, in an effort to contrast with Trump, is emphasizing the stability he would offer in television commercials, statements and campaign appearances .
But Sanders also sees an opening: he has criticized Biden for voting in 2002 to grant President George W. Bush authority to use military force in Iraq. It is the problem that helped propel Obama to overcome Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary, and could retain some of his power 12 years later.
Meanwhile, Buttigieg, a veteran of the US Naval Reserves. UU. Who toured in Afghanistan in 2014, is emphasizing his own military credentials. He introduces himself “as a veteran” in a new television spot in Iowa.
The completely white stage
What began as the most diverse presidential primary camp in history has become a completely white stage of debate, frustrating Democratic activists who fear that the diversity of the party base will not be represented in the 2020 race.
This month’s lineup is the same as December’s, except for Andrew Yang, the Asian-American businessman who had said on stage last month that it was “both an honor and a disappointment to be the only candidate of color.” Yang did not meet the voting requirements to qualify for the January debate.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who had also missed the December debate, left the presidential race on Monday after not re-qualifying for the debate stage. California Senator Kamala Harris and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, also retired.
Looms of political judgment
For three of Tuesday night’s participants, Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar, the opportunities to visit Iowa before the February 3 committees will soon be exhausted.
The impending impeachment trial could force members of the Senate, including Michael Bennet, who did not qualify for the Iowa debate, to abandon the campaign and return to Washington at an inconvenient time.
Even more important for the candidates: it could eliminate the 2020 race from the front pages, since the Republican-led Senate leadership of the Democratic-controlled House movement to remove Trump from office occupies a central place.
That means fewer opportunities in the last three weeks before the Iowa assemblies, and the last four weeks before the New Hampshire primary, to shake the race, a reality that only increases bets in Tuesday night’s debate.
Bernie under the microscope.
Sanders showed that he has a loyal coalition of followers on the left in 2016. But in the 2020 race, he largely avoided scrutiny of his opponents. Sometimes, he even attributes it to them in covert attempts to hit other rivals, such as when Biden said that, in contrast to Warren and Harris on raising taxes to pay their health care plans, Sanders is “honest.”
That may change on Tuesday, after the recent CNN / Des Moines Register survey discovered that Sanders was on the rise, as it surveyed 20% among the likely Democratic caucusgokers, a clue that the Sanders campaign might be gaining momentum in the right moment.
Sanders’ campaign has become fiercer in the weeks leading up to this debate, especially when confronting Biden in foreign policy and his vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
It was believed that Sanders had a high floor in Iowa, which means that he entered the contest with a central group of followers, in large part of the last cycle, who were dedicated to him and it is unlikely that they will move to another candidate. However, what the CNN survey and field reports have shown is that their support may be expanding beyond that base as the caucuses of February 3 approach.
That dynamic can also lead candidates such as Buttigieg and Biden, who have marked ideological differences with the senator and high hopes in Iowa, to face it in Tuesday night’s contest, a dynamic that could be helped by the fact that there will only be Six candidates on stage.
Buttigieg needs to stop his fall from Iowa
Buttigieg’s climax in Iowa came in early November when a CNN / Des Moines Register survey found it at the top: 25% of the likely Democratic caucusgoers supported his presidential campaign.
And for almost two months, Buttigieg conducted that survey, and the belief he created among voters, experts and activists that he was among the leading candidates in Iowa, while touring the state.
Then, on Friday, the latest CNN / Des Moines Register survey found that Buttigieg had dropped 9 percentage points to 16%, solidly in the middle of a higher level of four people with Biden, Warren and Sanders.
This debate is Buttigieg’s last chance to stop that fall and offer a debate performance that reminds voters in Iowa why they had leaned toward him.
Buttigieg received a good amount of incoming attacks in the debate last month in Los Angeles, about his experience, his dependence on the big donors and a lot of charges he has, and everything points to the same thing happened Tuesday night . The way the mayor handles those attacks could be of great help in defining his Iowa campaign.
But, for Buttigieg in particular, the impact may be broader. Buttigieg, possibly more than any other candidate at the top level, needs a good ending in Iowa or New Hampshire to push him beyond the first two states. A hesitation in this debate could prove disastrous.
Can this night be different for Klobuchar?
Klobuchar, in particular, needs a restful night. The Iowa caucus rules require candidates to reach 15% at individual voting sites to accumulate delegates, and polls have shown it well below that threshold, putting it at real risk of a distant fifth place that would end their Bell.
Klobuchar has performed well in debates before, but so far he has had difficulty using those actions to launch his candidacy for the first level of Democratic candidates in Iowa.
Klobuchar obtained 6% support in Iowa in the latest CNN / Des Moines Register / Mediacom survey, far behind the four candidates leading the Democratic race.
Barbara Wells, a 62-year-old social worker from Des Moines, had a busy day on Sunday. He woke up and drove directly to a Warren event in Marshalltown, then visited a Klobuchar town hall in Perry and ended his day with a Buttigieg town hall in Des Moines.
Wells remains undecided, like many voters here in Iowa.
That fluidity means that while the polls show a tight race between Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg and Biden, the next three weeks could bring abrupt changes of support as Iowans as Wells begin to make their final decision.
“We turned around and didn’t see football today,” Wells joked while he waited for Buttigieg to speak.
“One thing that really impresses me about Amy is that she talks about how she worked with this person to do this and with this person to do it. And that’s where I think she really has a lot of experience that makes me give Pete a second look,” said Wells.
The campaigns know voters well as Wells: people who have a list of three candidates they are willing to support and who probably won’t decide on who until days before the meeting.
Tuesday night’s debate will also be a key moment for these voters, and the best opportunity for a candidate to get on that list of the first three or remove other candidates from the voter list.
Tom Steyer will also be on stage
The billionaire former hedge fund manager who has spent more than $ 100 million on television commercials was disappointing in the last debate, largely drowned by the most experienced debateers on stage.
Steyer barely made the debate on Tuesday: he entered with a couple of Fox News polls, one from Nevada that found him with 12% and another from South Carolina that found him with 15%, but the question for Steyer and his campaign It is if he can make the appearance count.