“Viewers tuning in for the latest Democratic presidential candidates’ debate Tuesday night may sense something missing in Des Moines.
“For starters, the well-lit stage on the Drake University campus may seem half-empty. There will be only six candidates raising their hands and vying for airtime.
“That’s less than a third as many as qualified for the first round back in June. At that point, the debate was held over two nights with 10 different candidates onstage each night.
“Most of the original crew have dropped out, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey; and former Cabinet Secretary Julián Castro and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, both of Texas.
“Others have been excluded as the qualifying criteria — poll standing and fundraising — have grown tougher (and more controversial).”
Read more at NPR