The last Democratic presidential debate takes place in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday (Jan. 14) weeks before the Iowa caucuses kickoff on Feb. 3.
Taking the stage at the debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register is Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer, who are all white.
It’s also the smallest number of candidates on stage to date, CNN reports.
While polls show a tight race between Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg and Biden, who CNN reports all have real shots at victory, Klobuchar and Steyer are still vying for a breakout.
The big issues to watch for during the debate include Warren’s account of a private meeting she had with Sanders in 2018 when he “disagreed” with her that a woman could win the presidency.
“I thought a woman could win; he disagreed,” Warren said in a statement.
Sanders vehemently denied the claim, saying, “It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win.”
Another topic that’s sure to hit the debate stage is the Trump-ordered drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
DIVERSITY PLUMMETS AHEAD OF ALL-WHITE DEBATE STAGE
What was once a diverse Democratic presidential candidate pool is now mostly white as Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard and are the only candidates of color left, but none qualified for this debate, CNN reports.
Ironically, during the December debate, Yang commented on the lack of diversity on stage saying it was “both an honor and disappointment to be the lone candidate of color.”
Despite Yang missing Tuesday’s debate, he is still in the running in a major way, having raised more than $16.5 million in the last quarter and attracting some of the biggest crowds in the race, the Washington Post reports.
Not to mention outlasting better-known candidates in the field, including three senators and two governors, the Washington Post reports.
Sen. Kamala Harris announced the end of her campaign in early December, followed by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who dropped out on Jan. 2.
Also, on Monday, the Washington Post reports that Yang drew in a crowd of about 700 at Drake University during a campaign stop.
“This is enormous! This is incredible!” Yang called out as he took the stage, the Washington Post reports.
NBC News reports that Yang was virtually unknown 12 months ago and is now currently polling around 3% nationally, which puts him right on the cusp of qualifying for Tuesday’s debate. Still, it’s significantly lower than most of the six candidates who officially qualified to be on stage.
CNN reports that the looming impeachment trial could force members of the Senate — Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar — and Bennet, who won’t be on Tuesday’s debate stage — off the campaign trail at a crucial time ahead of the February 3 Iowa caucuses.
Additionally, CNN reports, the impeachment could take center stage, dimming the media spotlight on the 2020 race.
This raises the stakes in Tuesday night’s debate, according to CNN, because the impeachment trial will likely mean fewer opportunities in the final three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, and final four weeks before the New Hampshire primary, to shake up the race.