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How to Watch Democratic Debate: Time, Schedule & More

The three front-runners at the September debate. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Tuesday night marks the fourth debate on the primary calendar — meaning there’s only eight more of these gauntlets to go in the Democratic primary race. Unlike last month’s debate, the event on October 15 expands the field, with 12 candidates onstage, including one new challenger.

What Time Is the Democratic Debate?

Hosted by Otterbein University near Columbus, Ohio, the festivities will start at 8 p.m. ET and drag on until 11 p.m.

What Channel has the Democratic Debate?

Co-hosted by CNN and the New York Times, the debate will be available for streaming — without requiring a cable-provider log-in — at CNN.com, the New York Times mobile app, and on Facebook.

What is the Democratic Debate Lineup?

The candidates will appear onstage, from left to right, as follows:

Tulsi Gabbard
Tom Steyer
Cory Booker
Kamala Harris
Bernie Sanders
Joe Biden
Elizabeth Warren
Pete Buttigieg
Andrew Yang
Beto O’Rourke
Amy Klobuchar
Julián Castro

Like last debate, Biden is flanked by the two progressives closest in the polls; unlike last debate, Warren has surpassed the former vice-president in at least one poll, making his front-runner status no longer unanimous.

How’d They Decide Who Made the Cut?

To qualify for the debate, the Democratic National Committee determined that Democrats had to receive contributions from a minimum of 130,000 donors and had to register at least 2 percent of support in four DNC-approved polls. Because the qualifications did not increase in difficulty between September and October, candidates had more time to reach the donation and polling requirements — thus, the inclusion of Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire impeachment enthusiast Tom Steyer.

Who Are the Moderators for the Democratic Debate?

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor Erin Burnett, and New York Times national editor Mark Lacey.

The I-Word Looming Over the Debate

A drastic political change has occurred since the last debate: House Democrats are conducting an impeachment inquiry into the president’s quid pro quo pressuring of Ukraine to investigate the business dealings of the former vice-president’s son Hunter Biden. And though a potential impeachment proceeding could benefit Democrats in the long run — just over half of voters support the president’s removal, according to a recent Fox News poll — the scandal will be complicate the debate, as New York’s Ed Kilgore notes:

In talking about Trump and impeachment, the candidates vying to become his vanquisher in November 2020 are in the awkward position of discussing and promoting an event that would make their own competition wildly different if not irrelevant. What are they supposed to do? Boast of how they will tear Mike Pence a new one? Make the general election a referendum on why it took Republicans so long to abandon their corrupt leader? It’s a tough set of questions — again, for moderators as well as for debaters.


If any of the debaters … go after Hunter [Biden], his father could very well exploit the moment to depict himself as the victim of an infamous Trump smear, and also as the candidate Trump fears enough to risk impeachment to smear. Suffice it to say there is some nervous debate prep under way on the subject.

When Is the Next Democratic Debate?

Held on Wednesday, November 20, in Georgia and hosted by MSNBC, the threshold for the next debate went up, as candidates will have to clear 3 percent in at least four national polls — or polls in early-voting states Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — in addition to 160,000 donors. Despite the raised admission point, the debate will still be packed: Candidates who have made the fifth debate thus far include Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.

How to Watch Democratic Debate: Time, Schedule & More