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

2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the December showdown
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The final Democratic primary debate of the year is set to take place at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on Thursday, with less than two months to go before the Iowa caucus.

PBS NewsHour and Politico will host the forum, which will air from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET.

The debate was threatened by a labor dispute between Unite Here Local 11, which represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers and servers associated with the university, and food service provider Sodexo.

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All seven Democratic presidential candidates who had qualified for the event vowed to not cross the union’s picket line, but an agreement between the two sides was reached on Tuesday.

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

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

Who will be there, and in what order?

In order of stage placement:

- Former tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangHillicon Valley: Intel officials warned lawmakers Russia interfering in 2020 | Pompeo condemns Russian cyberattack on country of Georgia | Tech activists see Kickstarter union as breakthrough | Pentagon agency suffers data breach Manhattan DA investigating new abuse claims against doctor accused by Evelyn Yang March For Our Lives co-founders endorse Sanders MORE

- South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' Buttigieg to join striking South Carolina McDonald's workers next week MORE

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- Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg unveils billboards to troll Trump ahead of campaign stops John Legend joining Warren in South Carolina next week: report MORE (D-Mass.)

- Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' Democratic strategist says Biden 'has to' get second place in Nevada MORE

- Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Prominent Texas Latina endorses Warren Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' MORE (I-Vt.)

- Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Washington Post fact-checker gives Bloomberg 4 Pinocchios for 'deceptive editing' in campaign ad The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday MORE (D-Minn.)

- Hedge fund billionaire Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday Five takeaways from new fundraising reports for 2020 Democrats Buttigieg and Biden haven't invested in any ads in the crucial Super Tuesday states: WSJ analysis MORE

What will be the stage placement?

Biden will notably be the only candidate who is center stage during the forum. The stage placement was chosen based on the candidates’ averages in Democratic National Committee-approved polls conducted since the last debate on Nov. 20. In this case, Biden was the highest-polling candidate.

His stage placement is another sign of how consistent Biden’s lead has been in the polls throughout the 2020 contest, while other candidates have frequently swapped places.

What topics could come up?

Impeachment

The debate comes exactly one day after the House voted to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE. The issue will now go to the Senate where a trial will be held. Three of the candidates on stage, Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar, will be called back to Washington for the trial. Expect them to field questions about the topic. Biden could also face questions given Trump’s call for Ukraine to investigate him and his son, which kicked off the impeachment inquiry.

Diversity

While he did not make the debate stage, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge MORE (D-N.J.) has led the charge in calling for more diversity on the debate stage. Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro were joined by all of the candidates appearing on Thursday’s debate in requesting the Democratic National Committee lower the qualification standards for debates in January and February. The topic could come up, given the attention it’s gotten in the run-up to the forum.

Labor rights

The Democratic Party has long maintained strong connections to the labor movement in the U.S., and those ties were on display earlier this week when all of the candidates pledged not to cross the picket line if Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11 did not come to an agreement. The candidates could receive some questions on how they would work with labor groups as president.

Environment

The issue of combatting climate change could also come up, given California’s struggle this year with wildfires. Environment advocate Greta Thunberg has also been in the news recently after being named Time’s Person of the Year. President Trump attacked her on Twitter after she received the award, saying she needed to work on anger management issues. Biden jumped to Thunberg’s defense, saying “What kind of president bullies a teenager?”

Health Care

The topic has played a role in most of the primary debates, with the progressive candidates pushing for a "Medicare for All" plan, while centrist candidates have advocated for building upon the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. Expect this topic to come up as one of the party’s currently most hotly contested issues.

Who won’t be there?

- Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

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- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

- Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFive takeaways from new fundraising reports for 2020 Democrats Overnight Defense: GOP lawmaker takes unannounced trip to Syria | Taliban leader pens New York Times op-ed on peace talks | Cheney blasts paper for publishing op-ed GOP lawmaker makes unannounced trip to northeastern Syria MORE (D-Hawaii)

- Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergPoll: Bloomberg stalls after Vegas debate Bloomberg unveils billboards to troll Trump ahead of campaign stops Bloomberg campaign: Vandalism at Tennessee office 'echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters' MORE

- Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickHill TV's Saagar Enjeti slams the media's coverage of Deval Patrick's 2020 campaign The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg to face off with rivals at Nevada debate Candidates in Obama's orbit fail to capitalize on personal ties MORE

- Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetButtigieg expands on climate plan with new proposals 2020 race goes national in sprint to Super Tuesday Toward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates MORE (D-Colo.)

- Author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonDemocrats: The road to kumbaya The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Pelosi take the gloves off; DNC wants Iowa recanvass Iowa and New Hampshire haters should think twice MORE

Where can I watch the debate?

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The debate will be broadcast on local PBS affiliates and will be simulcasted on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español.

Viewers can also catch the debate via livestream on PBS NewsHour, POLITICO and CNN’s digital platforms.

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