DES MOINES, Iowa -- Tuesday night, CNN and The Des Moines Register will be hosting the last democratic debate before the 2020 Iowa Caucuses.
This is a big night for the Democratic party. Presidential candidates are hoping to secure their current supporters while also gaining the affection of more Iowa Caucus goers.
The candidates who met the requirements to be on stage at Drake University are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer.
Political Science Professor at Drake University, Gregg Wolf, predicts the biggest discussion of the night will be Iran and foreign policy given current events. It’s a possibility this is where Joe Biden will highlight his experience both in the Senate and dealing with foreign affairs as Vice President while Buttigieg is more likely to remind the audience he’s the only one on stage with military experience.
As of three days ago, Bernie Sanders is the leader in Iowa polls. Being that he and Warren, who’s currently in fourth place, have such similar beliefs on policies, Wolf suggests that Warren might try to distinguish herself tonight by appealing more to moderates.
“Things haven't been all too negative. We'll see if that changes,” Wolf said. “This is the last debate before the caucus and so candidates may be trying to distinguish themselves and separate themselves from the field. The danger by going negative is that it might wind up being kind of a dog eat dog kind of race.”
Wolf says Klobuchar has her work cut out for her being that she’s in fifth place among these candidates and despite the fact that Iowans are inundated with Tom Steyer’s ads he’s still polling the lowest out of the group.
So right now the biggest challenge for each candidate is making sure they have a message that speaks to Iowans and separates them from the rest.
“There's kind of the more progressive lane, than the more moderate lane, but even between those two lanes of candidates there's a lot of policy agreement between them. And so, caucus-goers that are on the fence may not be looking necessarily at the policies that differentiate them but maybe personalities,” Wolf said.
The debate will be held at Drake University Tuesday night at 8:00. Moderators for the debate will be CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip as well as the Des Moines Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel. The event will air live on CNN and there will be a free live stream on both the Des Moines Register and CNN websites.