The debate will reportedly begin with a lengthy segment discussing the horrific attacks in in Paris and foreign policy more broadly. Expect questions about Syria, ISIS, and refugee policy to come up. Other issues will also be discussed in the debate, though, according to a report by Yahoo's Hunter Walker.
This year's Democratic debate schedule is quite sparse — this is the second of a mere six debates the party has approved. Furthermore, three of those debates are scheduled for the weekend (including, of course, this one). Vox's Alvin Chang crunched the numbers and found that weekend debates, which tend to get lower ratings, are highly unusual. So it sure looks to many like the Democratic National Committee has limited both the number and the potential viewership of debates in an attempt to safeguard frontrunner Hillary Clinton's lead.
So far, Clinton hasn't seemed to need the help. In the past few weeks, her campaign has looked stronger than ever — she's won the endorsement of Democrat after Democrat, she was judged the winner of the first debate, she deterred Joe Biden from entering the race, and her testimony before congressional investigators on Benghazi was viewed as a success. Beyond that, her poll leads nationally and in Iowa still look strong, and she's regained some ground on her main challenger Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.
Only two other Democrats remain in the race against Clinton — Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. So far, Sanders has done far better than most commentators and party insiders expected — he's regularly topping 30 percent in national polls and has often led New Hampshire polls, which is quite good for a self-professed "democratic socialist." He's done so by running on a platform that boldly challenges the Democratic Party status quo and the power of corporations and the wealthy. But tonight, he'll have to discuss terrorism and foreign policy at length.
Meanwhile, O'Malley had hoped to become progressives' preferred alternative to Clinton, but his campaign just hasn't gone anywhere so far. He'll hope to stand out with a memorable performance at tonight's debate — because there won't be another one for more than a month. You can read more about where he stands on the issues here.
As for tonight's moderators, two of them work for CBS News: John Dickerson and Nancy Cordes. The other two are Kevin Cooney of KCCI NewsChannel 8 in Des Moines and Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register. Learn more about them here.
How to watch
When: 9 pm Saturday
Where: Drake University, Des Moines
Online: At CBS.com, a free live stream will be available.