Top Democratic candidates are taking the stage again on Thursday, September 12, for the third debate of the 2020 primaries in a three-hour political spectacular hosted by Texas Southern University in Houston.
Tonight’s Democratic debate will be the first time all top-polling candidates meet together on one stage as the race heats up between progressives and more moderate liberals. Viewers might expect these dynamics to come to a head as former Vice President Joe Biden will come face to face with both further left frontrunners Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
As the country continues to grapple with the growing threats of gun violence—mass shootings in August alone resulted in the deaths of 53 people—and climate change, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the two issues could likely be front and center on Thursday’s Democratic debate stage.
Here’s everything you need to know about the third Democratic debate tonight.
Which candidates qualified for the third Democratic debate?
Just 10 candidates will take the debate stage on Thursday night, due to the Democratic National Committee’s qualifying regulations.
Candidates will appear on stage in the following order:
- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
- South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- California Sen. Kamala Harris
- Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang
- Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
Warren and Biden in particular, representing opposite sides of the Democratic political spectrum, are expected to go head to head, as the two will share the debate stage for the first time.
Which candidates didn’t qualify for the third Democratic debate?
There are still 20 Democrats in the race for the nomination, but only half of the candidates qualified for Thursday’s debate. Here are all the candidates sitting this one out, due to the DNC’s regulations:
- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
- Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
- Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
- Philanthropist and billionaire Tom Steyer
- Author and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson
- Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam
- Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak
What were the requirements for the third debate?
The DNC changed its qualification requirements ahead of the third Democratic debate, making it harder for lower-polling candidates to secure a spot on the stage. In order to qualify for this debate, candidates were required to receive campaign contributions from at least 130,000 individuals, and reach a 2% polling threshold in four separate DNC-approved polls.
What’s the format of tonight’s debate?
Each candidate will have one minute and 15 seconds to respond to questions from the moderators, and an additional 45 seconds to respond to follow-up questions and rebuttals from other candidates. Candidates will have the opportunity to give an opening statement, but there will be no closing statements in this debate.
Who is moderating the third Democratic debate?
Thursday night’s debate will have four moderators. They are ABC News This Week host George Stephanopoulos, ABC News World News Tonight anchor David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, and Univision anchor and journalist Jorge Ramos.
How to watch the third Democratic debate live
The third debate will air Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. E.T. and is hosted by Texas Southern University in Houston. You can watch the debate on ABC or Univision, or stream it online for free on ABC News, Good Morning America and FiveThirtyEight.
When is the next Democratic debate?
The fourth debate, scheduled for October 15, could once again turn into a two-night event. The DNC’s requirements to qualify in the fourth debate are the same as the third debate, and all 10 candidates participating in the third debate are expected to take the stage again next month, unless they drop out before then.
But Steyer and Gabbard hope to join the stage next month, as well, if they can reach the polling threshold. Both candidates have already secured enough donors.
The upcoming debate schedule is as follows:
- Fourth debate: October 15 and 16, 2019 in Ohio
- Fifth debate: November 2019
- Sixth debate: December 2019
- Seventh debate: January 2020
- Eighth debate: January or February 2020
- Ninth debate: February 2020
- 10th debate: February 2020
- 11th debate: March 2020
- 12th debate: April 2020
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—Facebook and Google met with U.S. intelligence about 2020 election
—MSNBC climate change forum will give a voice to those denied the DNC debate stage
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