2020·2 min read

How to watch the debates: What to know about the second Democratic primary debate

Jul 28, 2019

The Story

Time for another round of ‘who remembers their high school Spanish?’ Yep, we’re talking about the second Democratic primary debate.

Please tell me there will be fewer candidates on stage this time.

Not a chance. The field is still crowded with a capital C. Just like the first debate, 20 candidates get a shot at the stage. That means five will be home with their face in a pint of ice cream.

Sad for them. Give me the fine print.

CNN is hosting in Detroit. July 30 and 31. 8pm ET. If cable isn’t your thing, you can watch online here.

I’m not saying I didn’t watch the first debate, but…

We got you. That one was broken up over two nights too. NBC hosted in Miami. Several candidates used it as a chance to practice their Spanish. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were prepared, and it showed. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke got into it over whether to decriminalize border crossings. Former VP Joe Biden and Harris got into it over Biden’s record on race. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) got his 15 minutes when he essentially called Biden out for being old, saying it’s time to “pass the torch” to a new generation of leaders.

How’d that go over?

Not well enough apparently. After the debate, he dropped out of the race, citing low fundraising and polling numbers. Meanwhile, billionaire democratic activist Tom Steyer decided to throw his hat in the ring.

So who’s going to be on stage this time?

It’s based on a random drawing of qualified candidates. Qualifying standards are the same as last time. Candidates have to either register 1% or more support in three polls. Or receive donations from 65,000 people, with 200 donors per state in at least 20 states.

Here’s the Night One lineup:

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Author Marianne Williamson

And Night Two:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Former VP Joe Biden

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang


This round is the last chance for candidates to show voters what they’ve got before the qualifying standards become tougher to meet for the third debate. Expect them to come out swinging in order to make an impression on stage. 

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