So far in the race, former Vice President Joe Biden holds the strongest support with black voters, leading Democrats to wonder how other candidates running might find a path to the nomination if they don't make more of a connection in communities of color, a vital part of the country's voting population.
Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of MA were holding dueling rallies on Atlanta's historically black college campuses, pitching their progressive policy slates to a younger African American audience that is viewed as up for grabs.
For black voters, the pragmatic calculation in considering the nominee comes down to two main questions: Do you speak to me?
Emerson College polled 1,092 registered voters from November 17-20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg - but they all added up to taking a lap under a caution flag in a race in which many candidates have failed but no one has taken a commanding lead.
"Yes, there's a lot at stake in this election, and I know people are scared", she said, her voice reaching a crescendo over the roaring crowd. Biden continued to push for modifications to Obama-era health care reforms over the "Medicare for all" proposals from Warren and Sanders.
Protesters interrupted Warren's speech multiple times with chants in favor of school choice.
"The president broke the law again and again and again", Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said in the event's opening minutes.
Asked whether that means Sanders will be looking to strike at the next debate, Shakir said: "I'll hold and reserve that". "I'm not here tonight to tell you about a painful history that black Americans have experienced and know all too well".
Buttigieg said farmers are important to spreading the message of climate change to rural communities.
What is the significance of securing the black vote in the 2020 election?
Biden touted his record of passing bipartisan legislation and his long experience in Washington.
"Kamala Harris having this moment where she 100% acknowledged - and I'm not saying she ever shies away from her blackness - but really embodied it for the black women who don't have the numbers to be on that stage, who don't have the political experience to be on the stage, but have a common shared experience with her in what it's like to be disenfranchised, discounted, treated as invisible, and feel like their voiceless with the party that they overwhelming support". Being on one side or the other has become such an expectation that many people don't even stop to consider the fact that I might be viewing each issue individually and drawing my own conclusions.
Buttigieg argued that, as a gay man, he understands the experience of suffering from discrimination. Buttigieg seemed stunned by the statement and said Gabbard was being misleading. "I've been one since I was 18".
Speaking of 11th-hour entrants, former Gov. Deval Patrick's Democratic presidential campaign is reportedly looking past Iowa and New Hampshire, and instead focusing on South Carolina's February 29 primary as the contest that could make him a serious contender.
That number was down more than 2 million from the 13.8 million people who watched the first day of testimony during which diplomats William Taylor and George Kent spoke about President Donald Trump.
The sixth round of US Democratic debates will take place on the 19th of December, with six more debates set to take place in the first four months of 2020.