Democratic candidates set for ninth debate Wednesday


Qualifying candidates lined up on stage before the Democratic presidential debate on Jan. 14 at Drake in Des Moines. 

Katherine Kealey

Editor’s Note: Previously this article had stated the debate begins at 7 p.m., it begins at 8 p.m. The Iowa State Daily has updated this article to correct this error. The Iowa State Daily regrets this error. 

The ninth Democratic presidential debate will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday and will be broadcast on MSNBC.

For this debate, candidates qualify by receiving at least one Democratic National Committee delegate or by meeting the polling threshold by receiving 10 percent in at least four polls approved by the Democratic National Committee or by receiving at least 12 percent in two single state polls in South Carolina or Nevada.

There are six candidates who qualified:

  • Joe Biden

  • Pete Buttigieg

  • Amy Klobuchar

  • Bernie Sanders

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Mike Bloomberg

Zack Bonner, lecturer of political science, said he expects this debate will deal with issues concerning a more diverse electorate such as immigration, Hispanic and Latino issues and African American issues.

Bonner said he expects this debate to be interesting because of the different topics that could be discussed and for the possibility Bloomberg may face backlash from other candidates.

“Bloomberg hasn’t faced any scrutiny from pretty much anyone,” Bonner said. “I think this will be the first attempt for the other five candidates to really go after him since the debate rules have changed pretty much in his favor to put him into the debates.”

Debate qualification rules changed in early February to eliminate a grassroots fundraising threshold, which allowed Bloomberg, who is not accepting donations, to qualify.

“It is kind of an odd thing to see,” Bonner said. “It seems like it really did pave the way for [Bloomberg] because he has now spent $350 million and really all he has at this point is name recognition.” 

Regardless of the changes, Bonner said the six candidates all have different messages that they need to reach voters to keep their campaigns going.

“They all really have something to prove: Bloomberg has to prove that he belongs there, Biden really needs to catch up since he has kind of fallen off, Buttigieg needs to show that he can expand his base,” Bonner said. “Amy Klobuchar needs to show that she can get a little more name recognition and introduce herself to more people since she has been a lesser-known candidate. Elizabeth Warren, I think you will see her go back to her old debate tactics where she is more on the offense than she has been recently, and Bernie Sanders I think for him it is expanding. He has a really sticky base that doesn’t leave him but it doesn’t seem like he has expanded it. So this will be a chance for him to have more broad spectrum appeal.”