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5 Things to Watch For at Tuesday's Democratic Presidential Debate (Including the Fed Rate Hike)


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Democratic presidential debate will produce exactly zero new Donald Trump gifs, but it will give us plenty of other things to talk about.

Tuesday evening, American voters will get their first look at all five Democratic candidates to be the next president of the United States together on stage in a debate hosted by CNN and Facebook (FB - Get Report) and starting at 8:30 P.M. eastern time. And while the event is likely to draw in fewer viewers than the two previous Republican debates aired on Fox News and CNN, it might prove more insightful -- and amicable.

"I do think the Democratic debate is likely to be much more civil than the Republican debate," said Chris Arterton, professor of political management and former dean at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. "I think that the two Republican debates have thus far been disappointing, if only because the number of people on stage is so large that it's hard to get anything but superficial analysis and rhetoric as opposed to anything that's substantive. [With the Democrats], there is an opportunity for more back-and-forth among the candidates on real policy matters."

Moderator Anderson Cooper has promised to ask each contender "pointed questions" at the Las Vegas debate and also hopes the conversation will be a bit nicer. "I don't think this is a debate where you're going to have candidates attack each other, we have not seen that on the campaign trail," he said in an interview with "Reliable Sources" on Sunday.

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Plenty of topics will be up for grabs Tuesday evening as Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee take the stage together for the first time. TheStreet will be covering the debate live. In the meantime, here are five things you'll want to watch out for.

1. The Biden-Sized Elephant in the Room

Vice President Joe Biden is still mulling over whether to throw his hat into the ring and isn't likely to make an appearance at Tuesday's debate. However, his presence will be felt even in his absence.

Rumors regarding a potential Biden run have been swirling in recent months, and the vice president has outwardly addressed his indecision. When asked in September whether he would launch a third presidential run in September, he replied, "I just don't know."

In an incredibly candid interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show days later, he said, "I don't think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president, and two, they can look at folks out there and say, 'I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion to do this.' And I'd be lying if I said that I knew I was there."


open for Biden on the debate stage should he decide to take part, and he will implicitly be part of the conversation, even if he doesn't appear and if his name isn't...