2020 Candidates

2020's 1st Dem Debate: What You Need to Know

Tuesday night's group was the smallest and least diverse yet, with six white candidates. It's the last debate before the Iowa caucuses.

The Democrats met again Tuesday night for their seventh time on a debate stage, this time at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa — the last debate before the Iowa caucuses. 

Tuesday night's group was the smallest and least diverse yet with six white candidates: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

This debate came after an intense news cycle over the days leading up to it, specifically for Warren and Sanders, who have been the subjects of reports claiming that Sanders once told Warren that a woman could not win the presidency. When Sanders was inevitably asked about it, he vehemently denied saying it at all. 

"Anybody [who] knows me knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be president of the United States," he said. 

Warren rebutted by pointing out the collective election losses by the men candidates on stage, and the elections won by herself and Klobuchar. "And the only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me," Warren said. Watch the exchange below:

Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar went back and forth on trade policy, specifically the USMCA (United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement). Warren said we need a "coherent" trade policy "that actually helps our workers, our farmers. We need them at the table, not just to trade policy written for big, international companies. I'm ready to have that fight, but let's help the people who need help right now."

Sanders responded, "Well, I think that it is not so easy to put together new trade legislation. If this is passed, I think it will set us back a number of years." Watch the exchange below. 

Moderators asked Biden about Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate as Speaker Pelosi is due to send over articles of impeachment. He was specifically asked whether he thinks it will be harder to run against Trump if he is acquitted.

[Republicans] savaged my surviving son, gone after me, told lies that your networks and others won't even carry on television because they're flat-out lies," he said. "And I did my job. The question is whether or not he did his job. And he hasn't done his job. And so it doesn't really matter whether or not he's gone after me. I've got to be in a position that I think of the American people. I can't hold a grudge. I have to be able to not only fight but also heal."

When asked about escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran in recent weeks, Buttigieg called out President Trump for bringing the country "closer to the brink of outright war."

"Ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons will, of course, be a priority ... but unfortunately, President Trump has made it much harder for the next president to achieve that goal," he said. "By gutting the Iran nuclear deal ... [Trump and his adminstration] have made the region more dangerous and set off the chain of events that we are now dealing with as it escalates even closer to the brink of outright war."

On the policy proposals for free public college, Steyer was asked if his children should be entitled to it given that he is a billionaire. His answer: "No." He went on to defend a wealth tax.

"I believe that the income inequality in this country is unbearable, unjust, and unsupportable, and the redistribution of wealth to the richest Americans from everyone else has to end," Steyer said. "I proposed a wealth tax almost a year and a half ago to start to address it and to raise some of the money that we need."

Looking Ahead: The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses will be February 3. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is now the only Black candidate in the race, and the only other people of color are Andrew Yang and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). None of them (plus Cory Booker, who dropped out of the race on Monday) qualified for Tuesday's debate in Iowa.

Relive the debate moment-by-moment with our live Twitter thread below

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