Live Blog: Night 2 of the First Democratic Debate


Tonight 10 more Democratic presidential candidates will debate at 9PM Eastern in Miami. Last night’s debate dominated TV ratings. Will the second night–with more first tier candidates–attract even more viewers?

Deadline: Democratic Debate Night 1 Gets 15.3M Viewers Across NBC, MSNBC & Telemundo; 9M Watch Via Streaming.

Most of the contenders pulling in big poll numbers take the stage in Miami later today for Night 2 of the Democratic debates on NBC, but Night 1 has set a pretty high bar for Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and the rest to reach. That bar, however, is well below what both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump drew in the early stages of the 2016 Presidential election.

When NBC, MSNBC and Telemndo are all added up, Nielsen has the showdown last night pulling in 15.3 million viewers.

As we detailed earlier today and now have further confirmed, the total viewing numbers for last night’s warm-up debate of sorts are far behind the audience of 24 million that the first GOP debate pulled in in August 2015 on Fox News. Last night is also down 4.3% from what the five-0person first Democratic debate snagged in October 2015 on CNN….

In a look at the reality of small screen viewing in 2019, Night 1’s live stream saw more than 9 million viewers and 14 million video views across all platforms. Those services included the heft of,,, NBC News NOW on OTT devices, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The candidates in tonight’s debate are: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Kirstin Gillibrand, Andrew Yang, Eric Swalwell, Michael Bennett, John Hickenlooper, and Marianne Williamson.

From The New Yorker:

Tonight’s top tier: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will all be on the debate stage together on June 27

Thursday night’s debate will have the bigger characters, and the more obvious frame: Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders, center versus left. But there’s also a Colorado senator (Michael Bennet) versus a Colorado governor (John Hickenlooper), and an online phenomenon (Andrew Yang) versus a spiritual guru (Marianne Williamson). Wednesday night suggested that, with ten candidates onstage, the points of contrast will be more opportunistic and less predictable than we might expect—a knife fight, not a duel.

We’ll see. With both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in the lineup, we’re likely to see plenty of finger-wagging.

NBC News: On Night Two, all eyes — and jabs — will be on Biden.

It’s all about Joe Biden now.

The former vice president could solidify his status as the favorite to win his party’s presidential nomination with a strong debate performance here Thursday night.

But more than two months into a campaign noteworthy for the candidate’s limited interaction with the public and the news media, Biden could also walk out severely hobbled.

Voters, Biden’s Democratic rivals and President Donald Trump will be looking for any sign that he has lost heat off his fastball as a candidate — a gaffe, a moment of indecision or an inability to explain either his past or his plans for the future.

Any slip could be costly because Biden has built his lead in the polls in part on the perception of strength, and because he has struggled in recent weeks to effectively communicate about his change on a decades-old position in favor of restricting federal funding for abortion and his relationships with segregationist senators during his first terms in the Senate.

Even a lack of luster could spell trouble for the 76-year-old former senator from Delaware.

Read more at the link above.

The Moderators: José Diaz-Balart, Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow

The New York Times: Democratic Debate 2019: What to Watch for on Night 2.

Like last night:

The candidates 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.

On Biden:

Every candidate but one on stage Thursday has recently participated in a nationally televised town hall forum, taking tough questions with the cameras rolling. The exception is Mr. Biden.

The first debate will be one of the first times since he entered the race that Mr. Biden, the former vice president, will be pressed for answers about both his record and his vision for the future. He’ll answer in front of a national audience of millions.

Yes, Mr. Biden has run for president twice before, and has been on the debate stage in recent memory — when he ran on his own in 2008, and in the vice-presidential debate that year and in 2012. But years have passed since then, and given that he would be the oldest president ever elected, one of the first tests he will face is whether he looks rusty on stage.

Mr. Biden’s early strength in the polls is expected to make him a magnet for scrutiny, as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont seeks a foil for his argument that there is “no middle ground” when it comes to progressive priorities and others seek to chip away at Mr. Biden’s early lead.

There’s much more about tonight’s candidates at the NYT link.

Last night, MSNBC began their debate coverage at 8PM, so I’ll be turning it on then, and I’ll try to make it to the end. I hope you will join us and share your reactions tonight.

33 Comments on “Live Blog: Night 2 of the First Democratic Debate”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I’m just about to turn on the TV. What I’m looking forward to tonight is seeing how Kamala Harris performs. I just hope Joe and Bernie don’t manage to hog all the limelight.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Bernie is so annoying. And he looks so old. Can you imagine what he would look like by the end of his first term?

  3. bostonboomer says:

    I consider myself to be pretty liberal, but some of the pie in the sky proposals sound nutty to me.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Now Bernie is screaming .

  5. janicen says:

    Kamala got the kids to settle down.

  6. janicen says:

    Oh god I can’t stand Bernie’s harping.

  7. janicen says:

    Biden is just coming across as old.

  8. roofingbird says:

    Marianne Williamson had some good points. I appreciate her taking the energy to get those in. As always, Gilibrand is a good Senator.

  9. roofingbird says:

    Kamala had a good answer on guns , and I’m glad someone/she brought up the ATF. They have had their teeth pulled.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    I had to give up at 10:30, but I just have to say that Harris confronting Biden on bussing was epic!

  11. TokyoSand says:

    Harris was commanding. Buttigieg performed well and likely got onto the radar of folks who only just started to pay attention. Biden and Sanders did not do themselves any favors and I wonder if their poll numbers slip. Yang did not do a good job of explaining the one issue he’s running for. Hickenlooper, Bennet, Gillibrand, and Swalwell did ok but didn’t land anything substantial. Williamson is inspiring a lot of hilarious tweets, so that’s probably not good if she wants to be taken seriously.

  12. NW Luna says:

    I had to work late last night so missed everything. Judging from what a mess the moderators and format Weds night were, I’m happy I didn’t sit through all of the Thurs “debate.” Thanks for your comments up above. Now I’ll have to find recordings — I think just the highlights, if I can find any from a neutral source. Too easy to show clips out of context.

  13. NW Luna says:

    WaPo fact checker upset at difference between 2,100:1 vs 1,786:1 in a speech on inequitable salaries. Pish! OK, Inslee had the # off, but given that egregious ratio between CEO and average worker pay you’d think they could cut him some slack.

    “It is not right that the CEO of McDonalds makes 2,100 times more than the people slinging hash at McDonalds.” –Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

    It’s unclear exactly whose salary Inslee is comparing the chief executive’s salary to, but here’s a comparison to the average McDonald’s worker. The chief executive of McDonald’s, Steve Easterbrook, made $21.8 million in 2017, according to the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing. According to PolitiFact, the typical McDonald’s service crew worker makes about $12,200.

    That means the chief executive’s 2017 salary was about 1,786 times the average McDonald’s worker.