On Wednesday evening, presidential candidates will take to the NBC News Democratic debate stage hoping to boost their recognition and share why they should get their party’s nomination to take on President Trump in 2020.
Since the Democratic candidate pool is over twenty candidates, NBC News only admitted those candidates which met certain qualifications to attend. The hosts then randomized the 20 candidates who did qualify into two groups of ten for different nights of debates.
As Reuters reports, the two candidates leading in the polls are sitting out on Wednesday, the first night of the debates. This leaves Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren as the top candidate of the night.
She will be joined by Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard and Tim Ryan, former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former congressman John Delaney, and Washington state Governor Jay Inslee.
Tonight's debate lineup:
— Sen. Elizabeth Warren— Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
— Sen. Cory Booker
— Sen. Amy Klobuchar
— Gov. Jay Inslee— Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
— Former Rep. John Delaney
— Former HUD Sec. Julián Castro— Rep. Tim Ryan
— Mayor Bill de Blasio https://t.co/hjYReC7pAC
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 26, 2019
Booker, Klobuchar and O’Rourke have had their moments during the first few months in the battle for the 2020 Democratic nomination. But they have not broken through to mount a serious challenge to the top contenders, making Wednesday’s debate a chance to grab some of the limelight.
O’Rourke’s travails come perhaps as the biggest surprise. On the heels of his underdog 2018 run for the U.S. Senate in Texas that made him a national figure, his entry into the presidential race was met with a crush of media coverage. But he has steadily dropped in polls and needs to right the ship.
With 10 Democrats attending the two-hour debate, each candidate will only have 60 seconds to answer a question and 30 seconds to respond to a follow-up, making each response critical.
And, via ABC News:
The first debates might usher in a breakout performance or a disappointing one, but it will also give candidates their first opportunity to show their differences and pitch their wide array of policy prescriptions to the major issues like climate change, gun control, health care, foreign policy, immigration and criminal justice reform, that have been percolating in the Democratic primary so far.
A day before the first debate, NBC announced that each night will be split into five segments with four commercial breaks over the two hours. Throughout each segment, candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups, according to NBC.
In order to qualify for the debates in June and July, candidates must earn at least 1% support in three separate national or early-state polls conducted from Jan. 1 to two weeks before the given debate, or receive donations from at least 65,000 people across 20 different states, with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state. The number of debate participants has been capped at 20 by the Democratic National Committee.
President Trump previously mentioned that he was considering live-tweeting the debates so he could comment in real time on the answers offered by the Democratic candidates.Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.