How to Watch the Fourth Democratic Primary Debate Tonight


The fourth is with us—the fourth Democratic primary debate, that is. And there have been ju-u-u-st a few notable developments out of Washington, DC since candidates last took the debate stage in September. The Nationals made the playoffs, for one thing. Oh, and the president faces an impeachment inquiry for using US diplomatic channels to pressure foreign governments into investigating one of his top political opponents, Joe Biden, who as it happens will also be on the debate stage tonight.

Biden and 11 other leading Democratic candidates—including first-timer Tom Steyer—will gather in Ohio to debate, once more, over who should be the party’s presidential nominee. The action is slated to begin at 8 pm ET, and is being broadcast and streamed live by cohosts CNN and The New York Times.

Who Will Be Onstage

In order to participate tonight, candidates had to meet the same qualifying criteria as last month’s debate: 2 percent support in at least four pre-approved polls, and campaign contributions from at least 130,000 donors. Whereas “just” 10 politicians made both thresholds in September, two additional candidates—Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire activist Tom Steyer—made the cut this time around, for a grand total of 12.

The candidates taking part in tonight’s debate are, in alphabetical order:

Joe Biden, former vice president
• Cory Booker, senator from New Jersey
• Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana
• Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary
• Tulsi Gabbard, representative from Hawaii
• Kamala Harris, senator from California
• Amy Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota
• Beto O’Rourke, former representative from Texas
• Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont
• Tom Steyer, billionaire
Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts
• Andrew Yang, tech entrepreneur

Despite the expanded lineup, organizers decided to keep the debate format to a single night. As a result, Americans are set to witness a record number of presidential candidates sharing a debate stage at once. We live in extraordinary times.

The debate will surely cover a wide range of issues important to Americans—health care, the economy—but expect impeachment to the topic du jour. There’s Biden, of course. Current members of Congress onstage would also be active participants in any impeachment proceedings. And Steyer has famously pushed for Donald Trump’s impeachment for years, spending millions of dollars in the process.

How to Watch

Unlike the presidential debates, which are simulcast across all the major networks, primary debates—for either party—are hosted by a rotating cast of news organizations. The fourth Democratic debate is being cohosted by CNN and The New York Times at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. CNN’s Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper will moderate the proceedings, along with Marc Tracey from the NYT.

CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español will all broadcast the debate live; it’ll stream on both CNN.com and NYTimes.com beginning at 8 pm ET. Note that you will not need a cable or other subscription log-in to watch online tonight—the DNC’s partners for all these debates have agreed to make them as accessible as possible.

To that end, there are still more options for watching the debate live. It will be available on mobile devices via CNN and the Times’ apps for iOS and Android; on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and a number of other smart TV devices via the CNNgo apps; The debate will also stream live on Facebook. In addition, audio from the debate will be broadcast on SiriusXM, the Westwood One Radio Network, and National Public Radio.

There are still eight more debates to go after this one (yep); the DNC recently announced that the fifth will take place in Georgia on November 20. The qualifying thresholds will increase again, too. What will the race look like at that point? For some candidates, it may very well come down to their performance tonight.


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