The fifth round of Democratic debates are upon us. They will take place on November 20 in Atlanta, Georgia at Tyler Perry Studios.
The debate will feature the first-ever all-female moderating team. The moderators include MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow, NBC’s Kristen Welker, and the Washington Post’s Ashley Parker.
To qualify for the fifth round of debates, candidates had to garner at least 165,000 unique donors, including 600 donors from 20 different states. Candidates also had to hit 3 percent in at least four Democratic National Committee-approved polls, or 5 percent in two DNC-approved polls from the four earlier primary and caucus states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
The following candidates qualified for the November debate (percentage denotes national polling average for each candidate):
- Joe Biden – 27%
- Elizabeth Warren – 20.3%
- Bernie Sanders – 18.8%
- Pete Buttigieg – 8.3%
- Kamala Harris – 4.8%
- Andrew Yang – 3%
- Cory Booker – 1.8%
- Amy Klobuchar – 1.8%
- Tulsi Gabbard – 1.3%
- Tom Steyer – 1%
The moderators will likely hit three candidates harder than others — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.
Biden recently announced he wouldn’t support legalizing marijuana use at the federal level. He argued that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Typically, Democrats take the pro-marijuana legalization argument. They blame the war on drugs for higher incarceration rates of blacks and Hispanics and say legalizing these substances would keep more young people out of prison.
Biden has deviated from this section of the younger liberals, instead taking a more restrained approach to drug use. This will likely lead to tough questions from the moderators.
Since the October debates, Warren has released her “Medicare for All” plan. It has received criticism from both sides of the aisle. Bipartisan sources say her wealth tax can’t possibly pay for all her plans, including “Medicare for All.” Even one of her advisors admitted “Medicare for All” would raise taxes on the middle class, a move she desperately wants to avoid. Moderators will likely question the legitimacy of her plans and how she plans to pay for them without more middle-class taxes.
Buttigieg will likely face questions about his recent success in Iowa. He is polling in first place in Iowa and has surpassed the three front-runners. The moderators will want to know more about Buttigieg, as his campaign has gained serious ground in the past month.
There is potential for either Kamala Harris or Cory Booker to question Buttigieg on his embarrassing campaign mishaps. The Intercept discovered the Buttigieg campaign falsely claimed endorsements from black South Carolina leaders and used stock photos of Kenyans in their promotional material. Harris or Booker may take Buttigieg on for his poor record with African Americans.
This November debate make be one of the last double-digit debates in the election. The subsequent debates will likely garner a smaller cast as the threshold was raised for the December debates.