As the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential election approaches in late June, here's a primer with what you should know about what's been announced so far.
When and How to Watch the 2020 Democratic Presidential Debates
The Democratic National Committee has approved up to 12 debates with the first taking placing over two consecutive nights in June. Six debates are scheduled this year and six more set for 2020.
The first debate, sponsored by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, will take place on June 26 and 27 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida. The field will be split into two with 10 candidates debating each night. The DNC has said the lineups for each debate will be chosen at random. (Check further down on this guide for information about the five moderators.)
The debate will air live across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo and also stream online free on this website, NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News mobile app and OTT apps, in addition to Telemundo’s digital platforms.
CNN will host the second debate in Detroit on July 30 and 31.
The 20 Democrats Who Qualified for the First Presidential Primary Debates in Miami Are
NBC News announced on June 14 the lineups of Democratic presidential candidates who are appearing on stage at the first debates in Miami.
The first group of 10 appearing on Wednesday, June 26: Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
The second group of 10 appearing on Thursday, June 27 are: Sen. Kamala Harris of California, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, author Marianne Williamson, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
How You Can Have a Question Asked During the Miami Debates
NBC News is collecting questions from viewers, some of which will be read during the debates by the five moderators.
Submit yours below.
How Candidates Qualify for the First Two Democratic Presidential Primary Debates
In February, the DNC published specific debate guidelines spelling out what candidates have to do to participate.
Democratic candidates may qualify for the first and second debate by meeting one of the two following sets of criteria:
Criteria 1- Polling Method: Participants must register 1% or more support in three polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) publicly released between Jan. 1, 2019, and 14 days prior to the date of the debate. Qualifying polls will be limited to those sponsored by one or more of the following organizations/institutions: Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Des Moines Register, Fox News, Las Vegas Review Journal, Monmouth University, NBC News, New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Quinnipiac University, Reuters, University of New Hampshire, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Winthrop University. Any candidate’s three qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas.
Criteria 2 - Grassroots Fundraising Method: Candidates may qualify for the debate by demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 65,000 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states.
If more than 20 candidates qualify, here is how a tiebreaker would work, according to NBC News. Candidates who meet both the polling and fundraising criteria would get preference. If that still doesn't winnow the field, then preference goes to candidates with the highest polling average.
How Candidates Will be Selected for Future 2020 Presidential Debates
For the third debate, the DNC is essentially doubling the polling and fundraising thresholds set for the first two debates — and requiring candidates to meet both standards, instead of just one or the other, NBC News reported.
Candidates will need to register at least 2 percent in four major polls conducted this summer and receive donations from at least 130,000 individual donors, including at least 400 in 20 states.
Who Will Moderate the 2020 Presidential Debates?
There will be five moderators for the first debate: "TODAY" co-anchor and NBC News chief legal analyst Savannah Guthrie, "NBC Nightly News" and "Dateline" anchor Lester Holt, "Meet the Press" moderator and NBC News political director Chuck Todd, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and "Noticias Telemundo" and "NBC Nightly News Saturday" anchor José Diaz-Balart.
Holt will moderate for both hours. Guthrie and Diaz-Balart will co-moderate for the first hour, while Todd and Maddow will join Holt for the second hour, NBC News said.
No information has been revealed by the DNC on the question format.
Specific hosts and moderators have not yet been revealed for subsequent debates.
The DNC has said it will have at least one female and non-white moderator at each Democratic presidential debate.
"The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process," DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill told Refinery29, which first reported the debates will have at least one female moderator. "That means that all 12 DNC sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans."
HuffPost later reported that the debates will also include at least one person of color as a moderator, who could also be the same person as the female moderator.