First 2020 Democratic Primary Debate Live Blog: Night 1

Rachel Mummey/Reuters/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/Chris Covatta/Getty Images

Welcome to IJR Blue’s debate night live blog! Be sure to check back frequently for updates throughout the evening.

Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls will take the stage in Miami on Thursday night in the first debate of the 2020 primary season. The debate is the first of two this week, splitting the 20 candidates who qualified for the first debate into two groups, with the second debate taking place on Thursday.

Tonight’s debate will feature:

You can watch the debate on NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, or right here:

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:00 p.m. ET]:

And we’re off! Unlike some debates past, candidates won’t have the chance to make an opening statement due to time constraints. With ten candidates and just two hours, it will be a lightning round of questions. Candidates will be given 60 seconds to respond to initial questions and 30 seconds for follow-ups.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:14 p.m. ET]:

Beto O’Rourke switches to Spanish while answering his first question of the debate in a moment that’s sure to generate some viral buzz. However, he quickly gets dinged by moderator Savannah Guthrie for not directly answering the question on support for a 70 percent top marginal tax rate.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:21 p.m. ET]:

All ten candidates are asked to raise their hands if they would abolish private health insurance — Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren are the only two to say yes.

Screenshot/NBC News

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:26 p.m. ET]:

We have our first confrontation between candidates. After O’Rourke explains why he changed his mind on ending private health insurance, de Blasio jumps in to call out the former congressman and argue that the private health care system is broken.

“How can you defend a system that’s not working?” de Blasio asks.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:29 p.m. ET]:

Who needs moderators? The candidates are now speaking in turn on their health care policies and debating back and forth with minimal direction from the moderators.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:34 p.m. ET]:

After Jay Inslee argues that he is the one person on the stage who has passed a law protecting women’s reproductive rights, Amy Klobuchar jumps in with a response and praise for Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren.

“I just want to say there are three women up here who have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose,” she says.

On that note, three women on the debate stage tonight is a new record for any presidential debate in history.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:40 p.m. ET]:

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro is the first candidate asked about his day one immigration policy and the photo of a drowned migrant father and daughter that circulated on Tuesday.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he says of the dead father and daughter. “It should also piss us all off.”

Castro also notes that he was the first 2020 candidate to release a comprehensive immigration platform.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:48 p.m. ET]:

Candidates who aren’t polling at the top of the pack will look to these first debates to boost their visibility and make their case on a national platform. A strong start for Julían Castro already seems to be paying off in some respects — Google Trends noted a 2,400% increase in searches for the former HUD secretary’s name in the first 40 minutes of tonight’s debate.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 9:53 p.m. ET]:

Another show of hands! Nine of the ten candidates raise their hands when asked if they would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal.

Cory Booker — the lone holdout — says he would prefer to negotiate a better deal.

Screenshot/NBC News

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:00 p.m. ET]:

It’s a moderator switch! Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd take over the debate for the second hour tonight.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:02 p.m. ET]:

The moderator handoff seems to have caused some unexpected technical difficulties. Chuck Todd asks a question on gun control, but none of the candidates can hear. We’ll go to a commercial break and try again.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:10 p.m. ET]:

Elizabeth Warren takes the question on gun control first, but she expands from the focus on school shootings to gun violence more broadly.

“Gun violence is a national health emergency in this country, and we need to treat it like one,” she says.

Warren doesn’t give a clear answer to Chuck Todd’s direct question on support for the federal government taking guns back from the public.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:13 p.m. ET]:

A loyal viewer has taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations with tonight’s technical difficulties.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:21 p.m. ET]:

The Parkland students came up in the question and a few of the answers from candidates on gun control. Some of those students are using Twitter during the debate to voice their view that gun control should also be discussed outside of the lens of school shootings.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:25 p.m. ET]:

We have our first question on climate change at the 80-minute mark of tonight’s debate. Governor Jay Inslee, who has pegged his campaign to the issue, opens by saying that it all starts with filibuster reform to prevent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from blocking bills.

“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last that can do something about it,” he says.

Inslee underscores the issue as a “climate crisis” with now being the only time to act.

The governor has battled with the DNC on his call for a debate focused solely on climate change.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:42 p.m. ET]:

Thursday night’s debate participants are getting in on the fun tonight through Twitter.

Andrew Yang is offering a free flow of his thoughts while watching from home, while former Vice President Joe Biden is providing answers to some of the questions given to other candidates tonight.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 10:47 p.m. ET]:

All of the candidates are asked to name the country’s biggest geopolitical foe. Some mention China, Russia, Iran, and nuclear war, but Jay Inslee gets the biggest applause for naming President Donald Trump. O’Rourke, Warren, and Booker all say climate change.

UPDATE [6/26/19, 11:00 p.m. ET]:

The candidates have given their closing statements, and that’s a wrap for tonight. We’ll be back tomorrow for two more hours and ten more presidential hopefuls.

Be sure to check back here throughout the debate for coverage of highlights and key moments of the debate.

What do you think?

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General Confusion

“Jay Inslee gets the biggest applause for naming President Donald Trump.” as our biggest risk. Article

Inslee is confused about his own priority issue. He is a one-issue candidate, climate, but went for the laughline at the one time that his policy should have counted.

O’Rourke fell down off of his countertop, and started the pandering session by speaking in Spanish. Apparently, there were massive eye-rolls in the audience and from the media on the sidelines.

Warren and de Blasio did well.


Waste of time and electricity to watch a rerun of the 10 Stooges in drag. Same old script of pandering election after election; different players with even MORE F R E E stuff for your vote. Would be more exciting to watch paint dry. Was unable to stay awake for more than 20 minutes. Should be really “exciting?” Thursday with Mr. Flip Flop Biden and Commie Bernie on top of the heap. I don’t look to change my 2020 vote from Trump to any member of the D’s clown car. America means more to me as a Korean and Vietnam… Read more »





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