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Democrats duel: 5 things to ponder ahead of the party's third showdown

There will be a duel. 

Here are a few things to ponder ahead of the Democratic party debate that is tonight, 7 p.m. central time, on ABC.

Will the debate turn into a brawl?

Will the debate become a brawl about whether the Democratic Party is favoring Hillary Clinton? Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is threatening to sue the party over what it says is a lack of access to voter files, data that is critical to a campaign. At the same time, Sanders has been defending itself against charges that it accessed Clinton campaign data. It has the potential to look petty and ugly.

How will the hopefuls address gun control?

How will the massacre in San Bernardino influence talk about gun control? Clinton has already staked out a tougher stance for gun control measures than Sanders, whose background from rural Vermont makes him more sympathetic to gun ownership.

Democratic rebuttal

In the Republican debate Tuesday, Republican hopefuls talked of carpet bombing Raqqa, Syria, banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and  shooting down Russian fighter jets. How will the Dems respond?

Twitter accounts foreshadow:

Big Brother: How much is too much?

How much distance will there be among the candidates on the issue of government surveillance? In Tuesday’s GOP debate, sharp divisions emerged over how much power the government should have to watch people in the United States.

The Islamic State factor

The candidates will no doubt have to talk much about the approach to the Islamic State, with a focus on the role U.S. ground troops will play in comparison to troops from allies.

Will anyone put forth a plan, or will IS tough talk stay in the realm of rhetoric?

It remains to be seen. 

Make sure to catch the debate and find out. Follow us as we cover it live on NewsOK.com. Here are the details: 

Who: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

When: Debate is Saturday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. Central time.  

Where to watch: Aired on ABC (AT&T U-verse, channel 5; Cox, channel 8) and streaming for free at www.abcnews.com.

Debate moderators: The debate will be moderated by David Muir and Martha Raddatz of ABC News.

Site: Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: The party front-runner has been giving speeches on ISIS after attacks in Paris and San Bernardino changed the tenor of the 2016 campaign. She maintains a commanding lead while trailed by trustworthiness questions that swirl around Clinton dysfunction.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: He’s on friendly turf, leading Clinton in a recent poll of New Hampshire primary voters. After attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, though, will Sanders have any room to talk about his strong suit, income inequality?

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: Barely registering in the polls, though recently trying to distinguish himself as the candidate friendliest toward refugees.

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Juliana Keeping

Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award... Read more ›

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›