Democratic Debate: How To Watch, When Does It Start – Rolling Stone
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Everything You Need to Know About the Democratic Primary Debates

The lineup has been set and the rules have been laid out for the fourth Democratic primary debate

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Meg Kinnard/AP/Shutterstock; Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Shutterstock; Arnaud Andrieu/SIPA/Shutterstock

Related: RS Politics 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard

Though it’s unclear what, if any, impact the Democratic primary debates have on the polls, one thing is certain now that three of them are in the books: Joe Biden is no longer running away with the nomination. The former vice president is now neck-and-neck with red-hot Elizabeth Warren, who has run just about as close to a flawless campaign as the race enters the last few months leading up to the Iowa caucuses in February. Though Bernie Sanders is still lurking in third, the rest of the field is dropping out of focus. Candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Andrew Yang need to make moves and make them fast if they hope to join the contenders before it’s too late. Tuesday will be their latest best chance to do so, as the fourth debate will feature each of the top 12 candidates on the same stage. In other words, everyone is going to have a chance to get a few shots in on the frontrunners.

To see where the candidates stand before they step behind a podium for the third time, check out Rolling Stone‘s 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard.

Here’s everything you need to know about the debates:

How to watch the debate

The debate will be Tuesday, October 15th at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. It will run from 8:00-11:00 p.m. ET and be broadcast live on CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español. It will be streamed live on and homepage of the New York Times, which is co-moderating the debate with CNN.

For some commentary, visit the Rolling Stone YouTube channel to watch along with Useful Idiots hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper.

Which candidates made the debate?

While only 10 candidates will faced off in third debate in September, two more (Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard) have qualified for the fourth debate, bringing the total to 12. Instead of splitting the field into two nights, the Democratic National Committee has elected to cram all 12 hopefuls onto a single stage. To qualify, candidates were required to register at least two percent support in at least four independent state and national polls determined by the DNC and/or receive at least 130,000 unique donations.

Below are the 12 candidates who satisfied both criteria, listed in the order they will appear onstage.

Tulsi Gabbard
Tom Steyer
Cory Booker
Kamala Harris
Bernie Sanders
Joe Biden
Elizabeth Warren
Pete Buttigieg
Andrew Yang
Beto O’Rourke
Amy Klobuchar
Julián Castro

Which candidates didn’t make the debate?

There are seven candidates still in the race who did not qualify for the third debate: Marianne Williamson, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan, Michael Bennet, John Delaney, Wayne Messam, and Joe Sestak.

When are the next debate?

The fifth debate will be held in November 20th in Atlanta, Georgia. It will be co-moderated by MSNBC and the Washington Post.

The DNC has set the qualifying threshold a little higher than it was for the fourth debate. Candidates will be required to register at least 3 percent support in four national or early-state polls, or 5 percent support in two polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina. Candidates must also have received donations from at least 165,000 unique donors.


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