Atlanta to host the next democratic debate: Predictions and Thoughts

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On November 20, the fifth democratic debate will be held at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. The location was announced in the last week of October after the previous announcement of “metro Atlanta” was made by the DNC a month ago. MSNBC will host the debate. 

For the first time in history, the debate will feature an all-female debate panel consisting of Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Ashley Parker, and Kristen Welker. This is the second debate hosted by MSNBC, following the crowded first debate in June.

Ten candidates will participate there, based on polls taken from September 13 to November 13: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.

The debate is likely to focus on common topics of the first four debates, such as healthcare reform, immigration, gun control, and the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. A common theme is likely to be, once again, the battle between the progressive wing, represented by candidates such as Sanders and Warren, and the centrist wing, represented by candidates like Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg. The conflict will likely be over subjects like Medicare for all and electability.

One of the common subjects likely to be discussed will be the taking of PAC and corporate money in the primary, as all candidates except Biden and Buttigieg have refused to take money from corporate interests. In recent weeks, Buttigieg has attacked other candidates for not taking corporate money, and has denounced policy and campaign finance “purity tests.” Biden has echoed these complaints as well, saying “If someone doesn’t agree with you it’s not just that you disagree. That person must be a coward or corrupt or a small thinker.” This is likely to be a major theme this debate.

With the primaries in less than 100 days, electability is likely to be a major theme. Despite Sanders’ high polling and high approval ratings in rust belt states, many candidates use the talking point of him being “unelectable.” It will be interesting to see if he attacks back at other candidates, as his campaign has gone more on the offensive. Recently, campaign manager Nina Turner began openly criticizing Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren at rallies.

The strategies will most likely once again echo previous debates, with Biden and Warren on the defensive, and low-polling candidates like Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Harris attempting to make attacks to stand out.

In previous debates, the location of the debates greatly influenced the moderators’ questions. This includes discussions of immigration policy and decriminalizing border crossings in Texas, and discussion of trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a recent trade deal, in Michigan and Ohio, areas hurt by trade. Following this example, it’s likely there will be some questions tailored to Atlanta itself.

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