Wednesday Night Live Blog of the first Dem Debates

The first 10 Candidates for the Democratic Nomination for President debate tonight on several channels at 9:00 pm EST.  This kicks off our discussion with the basic information via NYT.  Join us for the discussion!!

  • You can watch it on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. It will also stream live on Twitter and YouTube. The debate is taking place in Miami.

  • The 10 Democratic candidates in this debate (10 others will debate on Thursday) will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for rebuttals. There will be no opening statements, and each candidate will give a one-minute closing statement. The debate will be broken up into five segments with four commercial breaks.

  • Lester Holt of NBC News is the moderator. He will be joined in the first hour by Savannah Guthrie of the “Today” show and José Díaz-Balart of Telemundo. Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC will appear in the second hour.

Via NPR:

Up first on Wednesday night: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Candidates will have to be succinct: The debate’s rules grant 60-second answers and 30-second follow-ups. There will be no opening statements. Each night will offer some chances for candidates to catch their breath — four commercial breaks among five segments during each two-hour event.

The best news is that there will be more women and POC than ever before! (Via Vox)

It’s a significant milestone for a whole slew of reasons. For one, the presence of more diverse voices ensures that there are a range of perspectives expressed on issues central to the Democratic Party, including health care, immigration, and wages. For another, the presence of more women candidates this cycle on both the debate stage and the campaign trail normalizes the idea of women as presidential candidates, helping shift the definition of “electability.”

While the Democratic field is still predominantly male (19 of the 25 candidates, to be exact), the debates this week offer an opportunity to see what the conversation looks like as gender parity in politics continues to grow.

Until this cycle, only a handful of women candidates have participated in presidential debates held by either party: Democrats Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun, and Hillary Clinton, and Republicans Carly Fiorina and Michele Bachmann.

None of them ever faced each other on a debate stage.

What should we keep a eye out for? Here’s Five-Thirty-Eight’s political Chat.


sarahf (Sarah Frostenson, politics editor): The first Democratic primary debates are finally here. And with two back-to-back nights, featuring 10 candidates each, it’ll be a challenge for many candidates to make an impression, especially those hovering around 1 percent in the polls.


So, join us  for the live action!

I’m pretty sure we won’t be in for a lot of finger wagging tonight but what else will we find out?


48 Comments on “Wednesday Night Live Blog of the first Dem Debates”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. NW Luna says:

    Hey! 2 questions already for Warren when others haven’t even gotten 1 question?

  7. NW Luna says:

    Castro: Pass the ERA!

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I just can’t stomach Elizabeth Warren. Sorry.

    • quixote says:

      Since you’re in Boston and have probably been aware of Warren longer than most of us, what is it about her that puts you off?

      Her one biggish demerit in my eyes is that she didn’t support Hillary until she had to in 2016. (Don’t even remember what she did in 2008.) That seemed a tad off. Very interested to hear your take on her.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Sanders was still hanging on when Warren endorsed Hillary. That’s why the Bernbots have turned on her.
        I like her

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m still angry about her failure to endorse Hillary until the end and even more angry that she claimed the 2016 primaries were rigged against Bernie. But mostly it’s just a visceral reaction. I find her folksy presentation annoying. Of course I’ll vote for her if she’s the nominee, but I much prefer Kamala Harris.

        Warren isn’t polling particularly well in Massachusetts, by the way. I supposed she’ll still win the primary here, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. This state isn’t very supportive of women candidates, unfortunately.

        • quixote says:

          She repeated the rigging twaddle? What’s up with that? Other than those false notes, I’ve found her okay. I like the judo move of turning the embryonic eyerolling about her plans into a funny-and-true campaign slogan about “I have a plan for that.” I wasn’t aware of the folksy stuff because I almost always just read what the candidates have to say. Mostly I can’t stand listening to any of them.

          I agree that Harris is the strongest candidate. She’s good on policy, she’s also outstanding at the devastating comeback. That’s what you need for a strong campaign.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Tulse rants off about the military when asked a question about women’s rights???

  10. NW Luna says:

    Oh Jay, talk instead about what you’ve actually done in WA — $15 min wage, number of jobs in clean energy in the state.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He was good.

    • dakinikat says:

      I loved his response bringing up access to repro rights for every one and I also adored Amy for what she said.

      • NW Luna says:

        Yes, but it seemed she couldn’t let Inslee say he passed a state law ensuring repro rights. Senatorial support is important but it hasn’t resulted (yet) in changes in law. But then, the role of a Gov is of course different from a Senator — Dem senators have more limits on what laws they can get passed with the Repubs blocking them.

      • dakinikat says:

        And this …

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Warren is getting way more questions than others. Booker and Castro almost none.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Amy, Jay was talking about what he accomplished in WA state — he was not saying that you don’t support women’s healthcare.

    Castro is conflating trans surgery with with women’s right to bodily autonomy.

  13. NW Luna says:

    Questions per candidate are not evenly balanced. The best way to see how the candidates stand is to ask the same question of each of them. I’m angry the moderators don’t do that.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Okay, so now we are proving we’re bilingual in Spanish … 3 so far?

  15. palhart says:

    Wow! They are all impressive, bright, assertive, democracy-loving, and knowledgeable. They have plans. I’m finding this debate riveting.

    • dakinikat says:

      Looking forward to Rachel coming in .. Todd not so much but anyway

    • NW Luna says:

      There are a few I don’t like (Gabbard, Blasio, and whoever it is to the right of Inslee), but several are prime Presidential material indeed.

      I love detailed plans. I also want to see how much they’ve already accomplished. We’ve got to take the Senate back in 2020 or even the best experience and plans won’t have a chance.

  16. dakinikat says:

  17. NW Luna says:

  18. NW Luna says:

  19. I actually didn’t enjoy it very much…kind of a snoozefest. The media never gave H credit for what a good debater she was and how much interest she created. Really not looking forward to seeing Biden and Bernie tomorrow.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I am hoping/praying that Kamala wipes the floor with them.

      Better yet, I hope she soundly thrashes them in both style and substance.

      (Why should it be a woman’s job to wipe the floor)

      • NW Luna says:

        I became frustrated and then angry early on. The same questions should be asked of all the candidates — how else can you see differences between them. Some candidates got more than twice the amount of time that other candidates got.

  20. Really wish Bernie and Biden would just go away and leave Kamala and Kirsten to do the grown up work.

  21. RonStill4Hills says:

    Wasn’t thee some looming threat that Agent Orange was going to live tweet the debate?

    Was it all so far over his head that he didn’t know what to say?

  22. palhart says:

    It will be the same old GOP political ads: dems are socialists and baby killers, and will raise your taxes.Trump will again harshly attack his opponents, especially Biden and Warren, from now to forever (like he STILL does with Hillary). Warren is too teachy and liberal for my neck of the woods I don’t find her as politically well-rounded as Hillary was (is).

    I like Harris over Booker, even though he comes across as smart and on point (but why he spoke in Spanish is beyond me). I can’t figure out why I don’t take to him. I thought Tim Ryan had some excellent points about not skipping over the midwest, again!, and the opioid crisis which is having devastating effects in my southern state. But he tried to oust Nancy Pelosi!

    I don’t see a winner yet. Bernie is too old and will be clobbered over being a democrat socialist in the general. Biden is favored by the black over 50 crowd. He will be viciously attacked by Trump and I have zero hope he could counter well. Too old.

    Kamala Harris could handle Trump.

    • palhart says:

      I forgot to mention that I was impressed with Julian Castro, but don’t quite see him in the WH yet.