A Complete Guide to the Democratic Debates for the 2020 Presidential Primary

on Jul18
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2019-07-18 08:26:15

With the first Democratic debate of the 2020 presidential election in the bag, here’s a primer with information on what you should know about that two-night event and future debates. 

When and How to Watch the 2020 Democratic Presidential Debates

The Democratic National Committee has approved up to 12 debates. Six debates are scheduled in 2019 and six more set for 2020. NBC News went first which makes CNN’s the next debate up in late July. 

CNN will host its debate on July 30 and 31 from Detroit, Michigan. Ten candidates are debating from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m ETeach night. Qualifying rules are the same as for the first debate (more on that below).

The debate will air on CNN, CNN en Español and CNN International. The network said it will not require a log-in from a cable provider for accessing its live debate stream.

Candidates will be allowed opening and closing statements, 60 seconds to answer questions from moderators and 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals. In contrast to NBC News’ debate, CNN said its would not include “show of hands” questions or ones calling for one-word answers. The network also vowed to reduce time for candidates who repeatedly interrupt. 

ABC News will host the third presidential debate on Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston and also air live on Univision with a Spanish translation. This debate will be harder to qualify for than the first two (more on that below).

The first debate, sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, took place on June 26 and June 27at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida. Watch everything each candidate said on night one and night two

At NBC’s debate candidates were allowed closing statements but no openers.

The 20 Democrats Who Made the Second Presidential Primary Debate Lineup in Detroit Are

Qualifying were: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Gov. Bullock; South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former housing secretary Julian Castro; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; author Marianne Williamson; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

This time Montana Gov. Steve Bullock made the cut, having secured his spot after Rep. Eric Swalwell of California exited the race.

Three candidates who again failed to qualify after missing the first debate were Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam. Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania and billionaire activist Tom Steyer, both new entrants to the race, also did not qualify. 

CNN will hold a live drawing on July 18 to determine the order of who will debate which night.

The 20 Democrats Who Appeared in the First Presidential Primary Debate in Miami Were

The first group of 10 who appeared on Wednesday, June 26: Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Tim Ryan, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.  

NBC News has a full transcript here.

Clockwise, from top left: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Tim Ryan, Gov. Jay Insee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. John Delaney, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Cory Booker, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will appear in the first presidential debate between Democratic candidates, being held on June 26, 2019, in Miami.

Photo credit: Getty Images

More coverage from night one: 

Key Moments From Democratic Debates: Night 1Key Moments From Democratic Debates: Night 1

This shows the most commonly used words by candidates from night one of the first Democratic debate.

The second group of 10 who appeared on Thursday, June 27: Sen. Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Michael Bennet, author Marianne Williamson, Rep. Eric Swalwell, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.

NBC News has a full transcript here.

Top, from left: Sen. Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; bottom, from left: Sen Michael Bennet, Marianne Williamson, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang and Gov. John Hickenlooper, will debate on June 27.

Photo credit: Getty Images

More coverage from night two:

This shows the most commonly used words by candidates from the second night of the first Democratic debate.

Three candidates who failed to make the cut for the first debate were Gov. Bullock, Rep. Moulton, and Miramar Mayor Messam. 

Here is more information about all the candidates and how they are trying to stand out. 

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

The race for the 2020 presidential election is underway, and the field of Democratic candidates is packed. Those who have announced presidential bids include a vice president, senators, House members and three mayors. As for the GOP, a single Republican has announced his bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the party nomination: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who ran for vice president (and lost) in 2016 on the Libertarian party ticket.

Click the photos to learn more

‘My Big Idea’ with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates O’Rourke, Warren and Others'My Big Idea' with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates O'Rourke, Warren and Others

‘My Big Idea’ with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Buttigieg, Sanders and Others'My Big Idea' with 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Buttigieg, Sanders and Others

So…Who Won the First Democratic Debate?

That’s ultimately for the voters to decide. Kamala Harris received an initial bump in the polls and Joe Biden slid, according to some polls. Here is how NBC News’ political team assessed the hopefuls on round one and round two.

How Candidates Qualifed for the First Two Democratic Presidential Primary Debates

In February, the DNC published specific debate guidelines spelling out what  candidates have to do to participate. 

Democratic candidates may qualify for the first and second debate by meeting one of the two following sets of criteria:

Criteria 1Polling Method: Participants must register 1% or more support in three polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) publicly released between Jan. 1, 2019, and 14 days prior to the date of the debate. Qualifying polls will be limited to those sponsored by one or more of the following organizations/institutions: Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Des Moines Register, Fox News, Las Vegas Review Journal, Monmouth University, NBC News, New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Quinnipiac University, Reuters, University of New Hampshire, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Winthrop University. Any candidate’s three qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas.

Criteria 2Grassroots Fundraising Method: Candidates may qualify for the debate by demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 65,000 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states.  

If more than 20 candidates qualify, here is how a tiebreaker would work, according to NBC News. Candidates who meet both the polling and fundraising criteria would get preference. If that still doesn’t winnow the field, then preference goes to candidates with the highest polling average.    

How Candidates Will be Selected for Future 2020 Presidential Debates

For the third debate, the DNC is essentially doubling the polling and fundraising thresholds set for the first two debates — and requiring candidates to meet both standards, instead of just one or the other, NBC News reported.

Candidates will need to register at least 2 percent in four major polls conducted this summer and receive donations from at least 130,000 individual donors, including at least 400 in 20 states.

Who Will Moderate the 2020 Presidential Debates?

CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper will moderate the second debate on July 30 and 31, the network reported.

There were five moderators for the first debate: “TODAY” co-anchor and NBC News chief legal analyst Savannah Guthrie, “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline” anchor Lester Holt, “Meet the Press” moderator and NBC News political director Chuck Todd, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and “Noticias Telemundo” and “NBC Nightly News Saturday” anchor José Diaz-Balart. 

Holt moderated for both hours. Guthrie and Diaz-Balart co-moderated for the first hour, while Todd and Maddow joined Holt for the second hour, NBC News said. 

Specific hosts and moderators have not yet been revealed for subsequent debates.

The DNC has said it will have at least one female and non-white moderator at each Democratic presidential debate.

“The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process,” DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill told Refinery29, which first reported the debates will have at least one female moderator. “That means that all 12 DNC sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans.”

HuffPost later reported that the debates will also include at least one person of color as a moderator, who could also be the same person as the female moderator. 

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