A Guide To Tonight’s Democratic Debate

Tonight primary season will officially begin with the first Democratic debate in Miami, Florida. As voters, tonight and tomorrow will be our first chances to see the Democratic candidates together on a stage, as they try to lay out visions and contrast themselves with their rivals.

Join us in our private Facebook group to discuss the issues and candidates during the debate and to reflect on what we saw (and didn’t see).

Here’s what you need to know:


The first debate will be tonight, Wednesday, June 26, from 9 to 11 p.m EDT.

The second debate will take place tomorrow, also from 9 to 11 p.m., EST.

The Democratic National Committee separated the candidates into two different subgroups: candidates polling at 2 percent or higher and those polling lower. Then they divided each subgroup evenly between the two nights. During the next set of debates in July, the DNC will only allow candidates who are polling at least 2 percent in at least 4 polls and who have also raised money from 130,000 donors.


You can watch it live on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo. You can also stream it on Twitter and YouTube.


Lester Holt will moderate the full debate. According to the New York Times, Savannah Guthrie of the “Today Show” and José Díaz-Balart of Telemundo will join Holt for the first hour. For the second hour, he will joined by Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd.


The lineup of 10 candidates for tonight’s first night of debates will be (in order of appearance on the stage, from left to right):

NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio

Ohio Congressman. Tim Ryan

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney

Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate polling in the top five who will appear on stage tonight.


Politico has an excellent and comprehensive guide to where each candidate stands on every issue, from criminal justice and healthcare to taxes and immigration.

To learn more about each candidate’s “signature” issues — the ones for which they have the most detailed plans and (possibly) boldest positions — check out CNN’s guide.

Crooked Media also has a pretty amazing interactive guide to help you make sense of the candidates and their positions.


“For Jay Inslee, tonight will be a chance to lay out details of his climate agenda, while Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro will likely spend time discussing immigration, which has dominated much of their talking points on the campaign trail. Cory Booker has made criminal justice reform a signature issue of his campaign, while former Maryland congressman John Delaney may try to differentiate his plan to ensure all Americans have healthcare from Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All proposal.” – CNN

Elizabeth Warren will not be onstage with her top rivals, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Will her main “target” be Donald Trump or will she also highlight the contrasts between her and her opponents not sharing the stage with her tonight.


The next set of Democratic debates will take place on July 30-31. 

What are you looking for in tonight’s debate? Which issues are important to you? 

Join our Facebook group The Insiders and share what you think.