The Democratic debates, in four graphs

The 2016 Democratic debate season continues Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, with three candidates taking the stage: Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders. It will be the first debate since Vice President Joe Biden declined to enter the race, and since long-shot candidates Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb dropped out. Here are a few graphs to put the Democrats' 2016 debate schedule in context. (Click here for the full debate schedule).

Number of Debates

Many Democrats are upset with the limited number of debates scheduled for the 2016 primary cycle. Only six debates are scheduled, compared with the 12 scheduled Republican debates. Only four Democratic debates will happen before the first votes are cast in the Iowa Caucuses, while the GOP will host six before then.

Like Republicans, Democrats are cutting down on the number of debates this cycle. From 1984-2008, Democrats averaged 14 debates per cycle.

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The Democrats have not hosted so few debates in a presidential cycle since 1976. That cycle, however, few of the candidates realized the primary contests would be important under a new nomination system, explaining the relatively low number of debates.

This debate's three candidates marks the fewest number of participants in a second debate since only Al Gore and Bill Bradley contested the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000.

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