Joseph Methner, Staff Writer

As the presidential race heats up, the next round of debates is set to begin. This Thursday night at 7:00 CT in Houston, Texas, and airing on ABC, the third Democratic Primary debate will take place.

Anita Manion, professor of political science and advisor at UMSL, helped preview the debates. “It has been exciting to have such a big and diverse field of candidates,” she said. “Having a broad field helps to highlight issues that are important to particular people.” Manion also mentioned that having all these candidates has allowed for people to “find a candidate they can identify with.”

The field has been cut down significantly for this debate. Due to a higher donor and polling requirements, this debate will feature 10 candidates, compared to the 20 featured in the first two rounds. The debate will also be only one night featuring all qualifying candidates rather than splitting the candidates up into two nights. Having all the candidates on stage together allows for the viewers to get the chance to see the frontrunners go head to head.

“This debate is the first time Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren will be on stage together,” Manion said, about both of the early front runners. “It will be interesting to see how the dynamics play with all the candidates on stage together.”

Manion mentioned a few other candidates as well saying that Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have had some strong moments in the debates thus far whereas Joe Biden has not been outstanding in his performance. She also mentioned how Biden and Warren “have had a history of some animosity and disagreements on policy.” This could lead to an interesting and heated dynamic whereas Warren and Bernie Sanders have been friendly with each other thus far. She also mentioned an interest in seeing how candidates such as Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, and Amy Klobuchar perform after their strong performances at the previous debates. She mentioned that these debates are a good chance for the non-front runners to continue to get their names out there.

Professor Manion included that Missouri’s primary election is March 10th, 2020.

“If you think your vote doesn’t matter, even in the primaries, Hillary Clinton got 49.6% of the vote in the Missouri primary in 2016 and Bernie Sanders got 49.4%. It’s that close!”

Missouri has open primaries, meaning that you don’t have to be registered as a Democrat or Republican to vote in the primary.

She also stressed the importance for everyone to get out and vote in 2020, especially students and young people, who turn out at the lowest rate of any generation.

“Every student, every person deserves a voice in their government… if you’re not going out to vote then you’re not getting your voice heard and a say in your government.”

These early primary debates are a great chance for everybody to learn more about each candidate and find one they can identify with. Students should make sure to tune in Thursday night to ABC to hear what each candidate has to say.