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The leading 2020 Democratic candidates

With the first national caucus approaching on Feb. 3, it is coming down to the wire for the Democratic presidential candidate hopefuls.

The players

The leading Democratic candidates vying for the caucus in Iowa are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden.

The most recent Democratic debate was held on Jan. 14. The candidates onstage were Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and billionaire executive Tom Steyer.

This debate was one where candidates had to qualify in a few fields. They had to receive at least 5% of voter support in four DNC approved polls by Jan. 10, or 7% in two early-state polls. Candidates also needed 225,000 unique donors and a minimum of 1,000 donors per state in at least 20 states, U.S. territories or D.C.

The only wild card would be Michael Bloomberg, who is a successful businessman and former New York City mayor. He was able to meet the polling requirements but lacked donor numbers since he has pledged to self-fund his campaign and thus cannot qualify for any of the debates.

Debate recap

The candidates were asked a variety of questions such as whether the United States should keep the combat troops overseas, what their weaknesses are concerning being able to beat Donald Trump and how they hope to get their proposals passed.

Elizabeth Warren’s team has recently accused Bernie Sanders of stating that a woman could not win a presidential race. Sanders repeatedly denied this allegation, and there seems to be little evidence of the statement itself. Still, the moderators from CNN pressed him for an explanation.

Many things were discussed, but one topic that stuck out was Buttigieg and Warren sparring over health care. Warren addressed the problem of her opponent’s plan as being “only a small improvement.” Warren wants to implement a “Medicare for all” proposal that would begin to transition the U.S. into a single-payer healthcare system. Buttigieg wants to implement a “Medicare for all who want it” plan that would not force Medicare onto Americans who do not want it, but rather would offer a public option.

“It’s just not true that the plan I’m proposing is small,” refuted Buttigieg. “We have to move past the Washington mentality that suggests that the bigness of plans only consists of how many trillions of dollars they put through the Treasury, that the boldness of a plan consists of how many Americans it can alienate.”

The debate closed with a harsh word appearing to have been said between Warren and Sanders.

Where the frontrunners stand

Polling for Iowa has mixed results. The Des Moines Register poll put Sanders in the lead for the first time, with Warren and Buttigieg close behind. A national poll from Survey USA was recently done, reporting Joe Biden leading with 32%, Bernie Sanders at 21%, and Elizabeth Warren at 14%. A Reuters online poll, revealed on Jan. 16, shows that 20% of registered Democrats would back Sanders while 19% supported Biden and 12% supported Warren. Both Buttigieg and Bloomberg were under 10%.