The Democratic debate scheduled for Dec. 19 has its field set and only seven of the 15 democratic candidates look to have qualified.
The candidates had to reach a grassroots funding threshold of 200,000 unique contributors from a minimum of 800 unique donors in at least 20 different states and four percent in four eligible state or national polls or six percent poll in two state-level polls of early-voting states.
The candidates that likely qualify for this debate are:
- Joe Biden
- Pete Buttigieg
- Amy Klobuchar
- Bernie Sanders
- Tom Steyer
- Elizabeth Warren
- Andrew Yang
Tulsi Gabbard fell one poll short of qualifying for the debate, but previously said she would not attend even if she qualified.
Zack Bonner, political science lecturer at Iowa State, said the debate screen time may be beneficial to the candidates.
“More screen time equals more name recognition,” Bonner said. “Which when you’re asking individuals about polling this early [in the race] you know name recognition is everything.”
This recognition has impacted candidates in Iowa for potential caucus voting, especially candidates like Buttigieg, Bonner said.
“He had zero name recognition prior to this, so in that case it really helps him get out nationally,” Bonner said.
Bonner said Iowa State students should pay attention to the debate due to not only its location at a college in California, but also because the issues discussed could be close to those important to them.
“So since they are in California, climate change will be a big issue for many of the candidates — including the ones that qualify — [alongside the] student debt issue,” Bonner said. “Water access, environmental problems — homelessness would be a large one for California as well.”
When thinking about concerns for the debate, Bonner said there may be some negative feedback to the lack of diversity in the candidates that qualified for the debate.
“[The Democratic Party] has a very diverse voting base, however, not so much a racially diverse [debate stage],” Bonner said.
There is still time left for candidates to make their mark, as this debate is only the sixth of 12 scheduled presidential debates that will happen during the Democratic primary. Bonner said he hopes with Kamala Harris’ recent drop out, more candidates will get the hint too.
“I would hope to see a few of them that are polling at zero or one to drop out," Bonner said.