During the fifth Democratic debate on Wednesday, November 20, the primary candidates clashed over policy, personality, and which one of them could defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.
MSNBC and The Washington Post co-hosted the debate, which took place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. Over the course of two hours, the 10 candidates discussed the impeachment inquiry into Trump, their approaches to health care, and where they differ on foreign policy. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard clashed with Sen. Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren had to defend her 2% tax on the wealthy, and Sen. Corey Booker attacked former Vice President Joe Biden over his previous support for the War on Drugs.
Here’s everything you need to know the fifth Democratic Debate if you weren’t able to watch it live.
With only 10 candidates on the stage, the fifth debate was the smallest one yet. Every month, the requirements to qualify get stricter. This time around, candidates had to get 3% support in at least four qualifying polls or 5% in two polls of early voting states, like Iowa or New Hampshire. The candidates also need to have at least 165,000 unique donors, with at least 600 from 20 states.
Here’s who qualified for the November Democratic debate:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)
- Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California)
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)
- Businessman Tom Steyer
Notably absent was former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, who didn’t make the cut. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) participated in the last debate, but suspended his campaign at the start of November.
Also missing were two of the newest entrants in the race: Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick just joined the fray, but has barely been included in polling. Former New York City Michael Bloomberg is also likely running in the Democratic primary, but has yet to formally announce his campaign.
With few breakout moments, the candidates did little to move the needle throughout the debate. Buttigieg, who has surged in some polls, faced few direct challenges throughout the night and largely walked away unscathed. Booker had several notable moments — and Yang pulled off a few winning jokes — but neither has gained enough traction to be considered top-tier candidates. It’s unlikely that any candidates made enough of a splash to change polling, which means many who were on the stage in November might not make it to the December debate.
Expect to see a smaller group on the stage for the next debate. The Democratic National Committee has set stricter requirements for the debate on Thursday, December 19, at UCLA. Candidates need to get at least 4% in four approved polls between October 16 and December 12, or at least 6% in two polls of early voting states.
The candidates will also need at least 200,000 unique donors and at least 800 donors in 20 states. So far, just six candidates have qualified, though there’s plenty of time for more to find a way in.
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