2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the October showdown

2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the October showdown
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Twelve Democratic primary hopefuls are gearing up to take the stage Tuesday night at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, for the fourth Democratic primary debate, in what is being billed as the largest single debate in a U.S. presidential campaign cycle. 

CNN and The New York Times will host the forum, which will air from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT. 

Who will be there? Who won't? What questions will the candidates be asked? Who will jab at whom? What will we learn?

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Keep reading for everything you need to know for the fourth 2020 Democratic primary debate.

Who will be there, and in what order? 

In order of stage placement: 

— Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic MORE (D-Hawaii)

Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE

— Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThis week: Senate reconvenes as protests roil nation amid pandemic City leaders, Democratic lawmakers urge Trump to tamp down rhetoric as protests rage across US Sunday shows - George Floyd's death, protests bump COVID-19 from headlines MORE (D-N.J.)

— Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP Biden should name a 'team of colleagues' MORE (D-Calif.)

— Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Biden's 'allies' gearing up to sink his campaign Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support MORE (I-Vt.)

— Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report MORE 

— Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP Biden should name a 'team of colleagues' MORE (D-Mass.)

— South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE 

Andrew YangAndrew YangAndrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis McConnell challenger on how Yang endorsement could help him MORE 

— Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas)

— Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharJudd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP Biden should name a 'team of colleagues' MORE (D-Minn.)

— Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

What are people saying about the stage placement? 

Biden, Sanders and Warren are center stage for the second debate in a row, reflecting their leads in the polls. 

That will give all three another chance to contrast their progressive and centrist ideas, at a time when Warren is posing a growing threat to Biden’s front-runner status while Sanders retains strong support.

What topics could come up?

Impeachment 

Tuesday will mark the first time Democratic presidential hopefuls will address the issue of impeachment after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (D-Calif.) launched a formal impeachment inquiry. Most candidates back impeachment. 

Syria pullout  

While foreign policy does not always take center stage at debates, the candidates are likely going to face questions on Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, which Democrats and Republicans have both criticized. The move is seen by critics as an abandonment of U.S. Kurdish allies that will put their lives at risk. 

Affording higher education  

Student loan and debt forgiveness have been frequently discussed on the campaign trail. Warren and Sanders have both proposed four free years of college education. Biden released his plan proposing two free years of college education last week, and the two progressive senators could see an opening to hit the former vice president on that plan.  

Health care 

Health care is shaping up to be the biggest policy debate in the party. Biden clashed with Warren and Sanders on the issue at the last debate, defending the Affordable Care Act in the face of progressive proposals to scrap it in favor of "Medicare for All." 

Drugs  

Democrats could also address the ongoing opioid crisis in the U.S., which has hit Ohio especially hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the state was home to the nation’s highest per capita rate of opioid overdoses in 2017. 

Vaping

Vaping and e-cigarettes could also come up during the debate, amid a growing number of deaths related to the practice.  

Jobs and the economy 

Trump promised to revamp Ohio’s manufacturing and agricultural sector in 2016. However, Democrats say that the president has not made good on those promises in the state. Expect the Democratic candidates to push their own economic messages at the debate.  

Who won’t be there? 

— Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetWarren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Congress headed toward unemployment showdown MORE (D-Colo.) 

— Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US Key races to watch in Tuesday's primaries Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight MORE (D)

— Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation John Delaney endorses Biden Nevada caucuses open with a few hiccups MORE (D-Md.) 

— Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Wayne Messam suspends Democratic presidential campaign 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum MORE  

— Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanCongress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left Democrats rally behind monthly ,000 relief checks MORE (D-Ohio) 

— Former Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.)

Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson touts endorsements for progressive congressional candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Warren becomes latest 2020 rival to back Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests MORE 

Where can I watch the debate? 

The debate will air on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Español, in addition to streaming live on CNN.com and NYTimes.com’s homepages. 

 Hill.TV will stream a live 30-minute pre-show, as well as a post-debate show on The Hill’s YouTube channel.