If it wasn't Bernie, pundits would suggest this says something about electability https://t.co/2UZElMVaGD
— Faiz (@fshakir) January 14, 2020
Tonight’s DNC debate is the first for the 2020 year, but the 7th one since June. The debate site is Drake University in Des Moines and will start at 6CT. CNN and the Des Moines Register are airing/streaming the event, but this time Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will not be the moderators; instead, it will be Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip, along with Brianne Pfannenstiel of The Register.
— J.D. Scholten (@JDScholten) January 15, 2020
How to watch the debate?
The debate will air exclusively on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International and CNN Airport Network and will stream live in its entirety, without requiring log-in to a cable provider, exclusively to CNN.com’s homepage, across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV. The debate will also air live at DesMoinesRegister.com and Democrats.org, and can be heard on CNN’s SiriusXM XChannels and the Westwood One Radio Network.
The debate likely will feature some sharpening of words. Will CNN focus on the Politico innuendo created by the Warren campaign about the Sanders campaign? Will Klobuchar join forces with Biden and Warren to slam Bernie, allowing Buttigieg not have to answer for his lack of experience? Can moderators allow plenty of discussion about the differences in foreign policy views to inform the viewers, especially those of Steyer and Sanders?
Trump’s decision to order the strike that killed a senior Iranian military commander gave rise to a new crisis in the Middle East — and is forcing Democratic presidential contenders for the first time to seriously detail their own views of foreign policy and the United States’ role in the world.
Biden’s campaign is convinced this new reality helps the former vice president the most: He has decades of foreign policy experience and worked alongside former President Barack Obama to craft international deals like the Iran nuclear agreement, which Trump scrapped. He has long argued he’s the candidate best prepared to work effectively on the world stage immediately after taking office, and — in an effort to draw contrast with Trump — is emphasizing the stability he would offer in television ads, statements and campaign appearances.
But Sanders sees an opening, too: He’s lambasted Biden for voting in 2002 to give then-President George W. Bush authority to use military force in Iraq. It’s the issue that helped propel Obama past Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary, and could retain some of its potency 12 years later.
As for Tom Steyer, CNN also notes that slid into this debate on the very last qualifying day. How?
Steyer barely made Tuesday’s debate — he got in with a pair of Fox News polls, one from Nevada that found him at 12% and another from South Carolina that found him at 15% — but the question for Steyer and his campaign is whether he can make the appearance count.
Bloomberg News reports that Steyer has already spent over 100 million in advertising in the early states. However, Steyer insists it’s his experience to led him to run for the presidency.
If you are familiar with the history of the Iowa caucuses, you know just how unprecedented this cycle is:
- A two-term VP of a popular president cannot break 25 percent in Iowa.
- Incredibly, three Iowa polls have been taken since the start of the new year, and among the four candidates the highest any has received is 24 percent and the lowest is 15 percent. There has never been a race this close among four candidates.
- With the caucuses a mere three weeks away, only about 40 percent of voters say they have made up their mind.
- Is there any trend here? Bernie Sanders is up in all three most recent polls, and there are significant downward moves for Pete Buttigieg in two of them. For the most part, though, this is a glorious mess. Who is ahead? No one knows.
Add to this uncertainty:
- A Democratic electorate still in shock over the election of Donald Trump, a man most Democrats regard as completely unfit to be president (and that is putting it mildly).
- A breaking controversy between Sanders and Elizabeth Warren which has escalated over the past 24 hours, reminding many of the fight between Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean that took both candidates down in 2004.
- Evidence in some Iowa and New Hampshire polling that Buttigieg may be following the trajectory of Dean in 2004 (peaking too soon).
Against this fluid backdrop, it is hard to imagine a more important debate. Make no mistake: Iowa debates matter. An example: Gary Hart entered the Iowa debate under 5 percent with a mere seven days to go before the 1984 caucuses. Polling the next day showed that Hart went from 3 percent to 7 in a single night.
Yet as is so often the case, most of the reporting that night missed the moment. The New York Times the next day, for example, suggested Hart had done well, but certainly did not pick up anything to suggest he would increase his support by 13 points in a week.
So what are we likely to see during the January 14 debate?
Sanders and Warren have, as of this writing, essentially accused each other of lying. It was in the interest of neither to go there, but it is hard to imagine their exchanges will not be a lead story. My guess is they will each try to minimize the dispute, but it may be too late for that.
Joe Biden must love this turn of events. Just 48 hours ago, he was trying to explain his vote on the Iraq War. (He would be much better off saying he was simply wrong and move on.) Sanders will almost certainly attack him on these grounds, and both Biden and Sanders benefit from attacking each other in a way, because it solidifies their ideological bases.
Some were questioning whether Warren was slipping out of contention in late December, and with the lack of polling and her prior trajectory, it was a reasonable guess. The most recent polling suggests she is certainly in the mix. Warren has been fighting a two-pronged fight, one against Sanders for the left and the other with Buttigieg for those who want new leadership.
Buttigieg’s position is perhaps the most interesting. The major fights over the last 48 hours do not involve him. He may win the debate simply by watching the other three major candidates attack each other. Buttigieg’s problem is Amy Klobuchar.
This is really Klobuchar’s last chance. For her the task is simple: take down Buttigieg and become the younger alternative to Biden.
This afternoon, Vice News released the results of a poll conducted with Ipsos:
Just as many African-Americans say they’d consider voting for Bernie Sanders as Joe Biden, according to new a VICE News-Ipsos Poll, suggesting Sanders might not have as much of a problem wooing black voters if he’s the Democratic nominee as some have assumed.
Fully 56% of African-Americans said they’d “consider voting for” Sanders in 2020 — a statistical tie with the 54% who said the same about former Vice President Joe Biden and significantly higher than any other candidate.
Only 23% of African-Americans said they wouldn’t consider voting for Sanders, about the same number as the 24% who said they wouldn’t consider voting for Biden.
Sanders does even better relative to Biden and the rest of the field among Hispanics: 47% say they’d consider voting for Sanders, while 37% said they’d consider voting for Biden. More Hispanics say they wouldn’t consider voting for Biden (37%) than wouldn’t vote for Sanders (31%).
(The video is 2016, but applies to 2020).
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