Six Democrats running for president – a skeleton crew by campaign 2020 standards – will gather in Des Moines tonight to make closing arguments. It’s the last debate before the February 3 Iowa caucuses, when Democratic voters finally get a chance to cut through the fog of polls and punditry and start picking the party’s nominee.
The shrunken cast also will feature ideological parity, with former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg representing the party’s quiet but large pragmatic wing, and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and investor and activist Tom Steyer holding down the progressive left. Polls show the moderate and left-leaning candidates drawing support from about 37 percent of Iowa voters.
Could this signal an important turn in a debate thus far dominated by the passions and preoccupations of left-wing activists? Biden’s staying power, Buttigieg’s impressive leap from nowhere into the top tier and Klobuchar’s growing momentum in Iowa are all signs that mainstream Democrats are finding their voice.
Read the full piece here.