Iowa votes on February 3 kicking off the crowded race for the Democratic nomination, which then gives way to a hotly contested battle against presidential incumbent Donald Trump.
Here are the key steps along the way:
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– 2019: Debates –
Six Democratic debates were held in 2019 — some fiery, others sleepy — and another occurred two weeks ago.
With a sprawling, historically diverse field, candidates challenged one another on policy, ideology and performance.
Five more Democratic nomination debates are set for 2020 as the remaining candidates make their case to the American people.
– February 3, 2020: Iowa caucuses –
This sparsely populated Midwestern battleground gets its close-up every four years, given its role as the first US state to vote in the parties’ nomination processes.
By tradition, the vote is conducted in so-called caucuses, local meetings where participants hear pitches from candidates’ representatives, and can vote with their feet by grouping together with other supporters of the same candidate.
– February 11-29: Three key primaries –
Three more crucial early Democratic votes occur in quick succession. New Hampshire (February 11), Nevada (February 22) and South Carolina (February 29) receive inordinate amounts of political attention. Like Iowa, they can propel, or dash, the hopes of a candidate.
– March 3: Super Tuesday –
Given its avalanche of primary contests, so-called “Super Tuesday” could leave a decisive mark on the nomination race. Fourteen states and one territory, plus Democrats abroad, organize their votes on March 3, including the nation’s two most populous states: California and Texas.
All 50 states and five US territories will have conducted their votes by early June.
– July 13-16: Democratic National Convention –
After an intense campaign lasting more than a year and featuring a record number of contenders, the Democratic Party formally nominates its candidate for president at its national convention in Milwaukee, in the swing state of Wisconsin.
– August 24-27: Republican National Convention –
Several weeks later in Charlotte, North Carolina, it is the Republicans’ turn. But their nominee is effectively a foregone conclusion, with Trump still popular with the party’s base.
With an impeachment trial in process, his removal from office is possible but the chance seems remote at this stage.
– September 29: First presidential debate –
The Republican and Democratic candidates clash on stage during three nationally televised debates, the first occurring at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in late September, five weeks before the election.
The two others are set for October 15 at the University of Michigan and October 22 at Belmont University in Tennessee.
The candidates’ running mates seeking the vice presidency square off at the University of Utah on October 7.
– November 3: Election Day –
With the eyes of the world watching, millions of American voters head to the polls to choose the next White House occupant.
– January 20, 2021: Inauguration Day –
Either Trump is sworn in for a second term, or a new president takes the oath of office on the US Capitol steps to become the nation’s 46th president.