Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will face off in the 11th Democratic presidential debate tonight in Washington as much of the country remains closed down by the spread of the coronavirus.
Expect the spread of COVID-19 to be a major topic after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and states across the country — including Pennsylvania — shuttered schools and placed bans on large gatherings. Even the King of Prussia Mall, the largest shopping mall on the East Coast, closed its doors Saturday to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The virus has also forced physical changes to tonight’s debate. Originally scheduled to take place in Phoenix, Ariz., the Democratic National Committee moved the location to CNN’s studio in Washington out of what it described as “an abundance of caution” and an attempt to reduce cross-country travel. The debate, which begins at 8 p.m. on CNN and Univision, will also take place without a studio audience.
There has also been a last-minute change in moderators. Univision news anchor Ilia Calderón will replace Jorge Ramos as one of tonight’s moderators after Ramos was “in proximity with someone who was in direct contact with a person that tested positive for coronavirus.” Joining Calderón on stage will be CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and anchor Jake Tapper.
Biden enters the debate the clear front-runner thanks to a significant delegate lead over Sanders, who has suffered a string of primary losses (though he did win the Northern Mariana Islands caucuses Saturday night). With four important states — Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Arizona — voting on Tuesday, Sanders could soon face the possibility of seeing his comeback attempt shift from unlikely to practically impossible.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch or stream tonight’s Democratic presidential debate:
Sunday’s Democratic debate, the 11th of the 2020 election cycle and the fifth this year, is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET and end at 10 p.m. ET. It’s cohosted by CNN, Univision, and CHC Bold, a political action committee associated with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It will air live on CNN and Univision.
The debate will also stream live for free on the CNN website and CNN app.
Seven candidates qualified for the last Democratic debate. Tonight, only two will be on the stage. They are (in alphabetical order):
Once again, the only Democratic presidential candidate who won’t be on the debate stage is Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Despite what you may have heard about this being a two-person race, Gabbard has not ended her long-shot presidential campaign. She has managed to nab just two delegates — both from American Samoa — and garnered less votes during Tuesday’s primaries than candidates that already dropped out of the race.
Gabbard would have qualified for tonight’s debate if the DNC hadn’t upped the threshold to 373 delegates — or 20 percent of all delegates available from the primary so far.
Gabbard’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The debate will feature three moderators:
The DNC has approved as many as 12 debates. That leaves one more after tonight, tentatively scheduled for April. The date and location have not yet been announced, and that debate might not be necessary if Biden has another impressive night on Tuesday.