The Countdown: Looking ahead to first Democratic debate of 2020

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As the candidates prepare for the first Democratic debate of 2020, President Trump is expected to be front and center once again.

In past debates, the president's impeachment was a topic of discussion, but now his handling of Iran and Iraq will also likely be a major topic of discussion.

In this week's edition of "The Countdown," political consultant Hank Sheinkopf and ABC News Deputy Director MaryAlice Parks join Bill Ritter to discuss what we can expect from the debate.

Only six presidential candidates were invited to take the stage at the seventh Democratic Primary Debate this Tuesday, according to the Democratic National Committee.

Those candidates are, in alphabetical order, Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, billionaire Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

So how will recent international events impact the debate and the election overall?

"Generally Democrats in elections overall, according to data from lots of political scientists, foreign affairs don't play the ultimate role. The ultimate role is generally about domestic politics." Sheinkopf said. "If there's a war, the president in power tends to win because people are more patriotic."

While former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not be on stage at this debate, there's no doubt from the experts that Warren and Sanders would love to go toe-to-toe with the billionaire.

"They've been running against billionaires and running against the idea of money and politics and in some ways he embodies that," Parks said. "I think that Bernie and Elizabeth Warren have a strong argument when they say that people shouldn't be able to buy their way into campaigns and into elections -- and that resonates with Democratic voters."

Sanders has the lead over his fellow Democrats into this critical stretch less than a month away from the Iowa Caucus, according to the latest CNN/The Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll.

This is still a tight race -- nearly half of Iowa voters said they have not made a firm decision on who they plan to support.

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