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Everything You Need to Know About Saturday's Democratic Debate

Hillary and Bernie and Martin, oh my!

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The New Republic’s coverage of the second Democratic primary debate kicks off at 8:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 14. Whether you’re planning on spending your Saturday night watching the debate (no judgment) or not (so jealous), be sure to follow our live updates and analysis at New Republic Minutes, led by Elspeth Reeve and Jeet Heer.

The debate itself starts at 9 p.m. EST from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The stage will be much less crowded than at Tuesday’s Republican debate: Participants Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley will have some extra elbow room and speaking time now that Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb have dropped out of the race. 

The debate will be hosted by CBS, along with partners KCCI and The Des Moines Register. There will be four moderators: Face The Nation host John Dickerson, CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, local CBS affiliate KCCI-TV anchor Kevin Cooney, and Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich. 

The focus of this debate, according to Dickerson, will be the economy—particularly stagnant wages and how to fund health care, education, and retirement. (Keep your ears open, though, for talk of Hillary’s electability, the one topic the candidates really should discuss but probably won’t.)

To get you fully up to speed beforehand, here’s what our writers have had to say about the candidates since the last showdown in Vegas:

Hillary Clinton

Clinton nailed it in the first Democratic debate, but can she do it again? She explained the stakes of the 2016 election better than anyone else, wrote Brian Beutler. A week later, she slam-dunked again during the Benghazi Committee hearing, Beutler also noted. She’s certainly gotten inside the heads of the Republican candidates, as Elspeth Reeve noticed during the last GOP debate, and is even pulling union support away from the more leftist Sanders, as Elizabeth Bruenig wrote. And hey, remember when some magazine said that Clinton was probably wouldn’t ever be presidential material?

Oh wait. That was us, in 2001. Whoops.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders has a powerful online army, but can his supporters organize actual boots on the ground for his campaign? Suzy Khimm wasn’t so sure. He still has some major work to do to win over black voters, she also found. On the economy, Sanders made clear in the last debate that he’s a democratic socialist. But his vision really isn’t that radically different from Clinton’s, argued Jeet Heer.

Martin O’Malley

O’Malley’s last debate performance and progressive chops weren’t enough to boost his poll numbers, wrote Laura Reston. The most he should probably hope for in this round is a chance to bring up the issue of Sanders’s electability, and maybe a nice mid-debate Hillary handshake.