Everything You Need To Know About The First Presidential Primary Debate

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The 2020 presidential primary season is well underway. A grand total of 25 Democrats have thrown their hat in the ring in an attempt to beat President Donald Trump, which has led the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to whittle it down to 20 for the first debate. There is a total of 12 primary debates scheduled.
In many ways, the first Democratic primary debate is the first opportunity for the Democratic presidential hopefuls to make their pitch to voters. In such a crowded field, the main question they need to answer is: Why should voters pick you as the Democratic presidential nominee? It's a tough task, if you ask us. But that's something the DNC says it has taken into account.
"The DNC has taken unprecedented steps to ensure that this historically large field of candidates gets the opportunity to make their case on the debate stage to a wide audience," DNC women's media director Elizabeth Renda told Refinery29. "We committed to an inclusive, fair, and innovative approach for all aspects of the 2020 debates, and we're working hard to ensure that our candidates have a meaningful conversation on the debate stage. To make that a reality, we took historic steps, like requiring that all 12 DNC-sanctioned debates feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists that include women and people of color. We're confident that with the standards we've established, our candidates will have a conversation that addresses the concerns of working Americans, not a back-and-forth about hand size."
This can all seem overwhelming, so we're here to walk you through the process. Ahead, everything you need to know about the first presidential primary debate.

When is the first Democratic primary debate of 2019?

Candidates take the stage for the first Democratic primary debates on Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, FL. The debates go from 9 to 11 p.m. ET on both nights.

Who are the Democratic candidates who qualified for the first presidential debate?

The DNC decided that candidates must have received campaign contributions from at least 65,000 individuals and hit the 1% threshold in three separate polls in order to qualify for the first debate.
The 20 candidates who made the cut are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Tim Ryan, former Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Sen. Michael Bennet.

Who did not make the Democratic debate?

The four candidates who were left out of the first debate are Gov. Steve Bullock, Rep. Seth Moulton, Mayor Wayne Messam, and former Sen. Mike Gravel.

What is the Democratic debate lineup?

The candidates are split into two groups of 10 for each night.
Wednesday, June 26: Booker, Klobuchar, Warren, Gabbard, Ryan, Delaney, O'Rourke, Castro, de Blasio, and Inslee.
Thursday, June 27: Biden, Bennet, Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, Buttigieg, Hickenlooper, Swalwell, Williamson, and Yang.
As we exclusively reported before, the DNC is requiring for the first time that each debate includes at least one woman and one person of color as moderators. The five moderators for the first debate are Rachel Maddow, Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, and José Diaz-Balart.
According to NBC, the format is similar on both nights. Holt, Guthrie, and Diaz-Balart are moderating the first hour of each debate. In the second hour, Holt appears again with Todd and Maddow as co-moderators.

What will the debate topics be?

Commentators are pushing the moderators to ask tough questions on topics including immigration, #MeToo, and socialism. There's also a big push among activists and others to talk about the pressing issue of climate change.
According to a poll by Refinery29, 28% of our readers want climate change to be front-and-center in the debate, 19% care most about abortion and reproductive rights, 11% think the economy is most important, 11% care most about immigration, and 6% consider healthcare the most crucial issue. As far as candidates, our readers are most interested in hearing from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, at 55%, while 15% chose Sen. Kamala Harris and 15% chose Sen. Bernie Sanders as the candidate they most want to hear from.

How do I watch the Democratic debate tonight?

Click here for our primer on how to watch the Democratic debate tonight.

Who won the first Democratic debate last night?

According to many pundits, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro made the strongest showing in the first Democratic debate on Wednesday night. "In banding together on issues and refusing to battle each other directly, Warren and Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, scored a victory for progressives, letting their policies shine through rather than giving in to Democratic drama," writes Refinery29 contributing editor Lily Herman.
Warren and Castro set a high bar for discussing immigration, reproductive rights, and more, earning effusive praise from progressive tone-setter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What is the Democratic debate schedule?

Here is when and where the upcoming primary debates are scheduled for.
Second Debate: Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, MI.
Third Debate: Thursday, September 12, and Friday, September 13. The location has not been disclosed yet.
Fourth Debate: October 2019. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
Fifth Debate: November 2019. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
Sixth Debate: December 2019. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
Seventh Debate: January 2020. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
Eighth Debate: January or February 2020. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
Ninth Debate: February 2020. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
10th Debate: February 2020. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
11th Debate: March 2020. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.
12th Debate: April 2020. Exact dates and location have not been announced yet.

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