In the wake of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Democrats will hold their sixth debate of the 2020 election cycle Thursday night at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Just seven Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage, teeing off less than two months away from the first 2020 votes being cast in the Iowa caucuses. Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the primary’s steady front-runner, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. Remaining close behind him are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounding out the race’s top tier.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or stream Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate:
Thursday’s Democratic debate, the sixth of the 2020 election cycle, is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern and last about three hours. It’s co-hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico, and will air live on CNN and WHYY in Philadelphia.
Thursday will be the smallest lineup yet for a Democratic debate, with just seven candidates qualifying. They are (in alphabetical order):
Two notable omissions are former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Bloomberg, who officially entered the race Nov. 24, did not meet the polling and fund-raising thresholds required to quality for Thursday’s debate. He has spent a lot of money since entering the race — north of $100 million, according to Advertising Analytics — but has yet to come close to the front-runners in recent polls.
Booker met the donor qualification, but didn’t poll high enough to qualify, and is unlikely to do so for the party’s other 2020 debates. Booker and eight other Democratic presidential candidates signed a letter to DNC chairman Tom Perez last weekend, urging him to loosen the rules, but so far the party isn’t budging. The DNC said in a statement that it “will not change the threshold for any one candidate and will not revert back to two consecutive nights with more than a dozen candidates.”
Booker won’t be completely absent from the debate. His first (and possibly only) national ad will air during one of the debate’s commercial breaks:
Thursday’s debate will have four moderators:
The DNC has approved as many as 12 debates, though there may be fewer, depending how the primary process plays out. Thursday’s debate will be the sixth of 2019, with six more tentatively scheduled for 2020. The DNC has yet to release the qualification criteria for its forthcoming debates.
The seventh debate will be held Jan. 14, 2020, at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and will once again be hosted by CNN. Following that will be debates in New Hampshire (Feb. 7), Nevada (Feb. 19), and South Carolina (Feb. 25).