NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

One night only! Lineup announced for third 2020 Democratic debate in Houston, Texas

This morn­ing, ABC News (the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee’s media part­ner for the third offi­cial­ly-sanc­tioned can­di­dates debate) con­firmed that just ten can­di­dates had qual­i­fied for the stage in Hous­ton, which means that that the debate will only take place on one night instead of two like in the last rounds.

The debate is set for Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 12th, 2019 from 5 PM to 8 PM Pacif­ic. Texas South­ern Uni­ver­si­ty is the host venue.

The qual­i­fy­ing can­di­dates are:

  • For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden
  • New Jer­sey U.S. Sen­a­tor Cory Book­er
  • South Bend, Indi­ana May­or Pete Buttigieg
  • For­mer Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Julián Cas­tro
  • Cal­i­for­nia U.S. Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris
  • Min­neso­ta U.S. Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar
  • For­mer Texas U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Beto O’Rourke
  • Ver­mont U.S. Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders
  • Mass­a­chu­setts U.S. Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren
  • Entre­pre­neur Andrew Yang

The can­di­dates who did­n’t make it, but pre­vi­ous­ly qual­i­fied are:

  • Mon­tana Gov­er­nor Steve Bul­lock
  • Ohio U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tim Ryan
  • Hawaii U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tul­si Gab­bard
  • Author Mar­i­anne Williamson
  • For­mer U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Delaney
  • Col­orado U.S. Sen­a­tor Michael Ben­net
  • New York May­or Bill de Bla­sio

For­mer can­di­dates who exit­ed the race in advance of not qual­i­fy­ing are:

  • Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee
  • New York U.S. Sen­a­tor Kirsten Gilli­brand
  • Mass­a­chu­setts U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Seth Moul­ton (nev­er qual­i­fied)
  • For­mer Col­orado Gov­er­nor John Hick­en­loop­er
  • Cal­i­for­nia U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eric Swal­well

Bil­lion­aire and late entrant Tom Stey­er, mean­while, also did­n’t make the cut, although he may qual­i­fy for the next debate in Octo­ber.

Although there’s no sec­ond night this time, the first and only night will be a long one, as ABC is plan­ning a three hour debate last­ing from 5 to 8 PM Pacif­ic.

There will be four mod­er­a­tors, in keep­ing with the recent trend of hav­ing a large num­ber of tele­vi­sion per­son­al­i­ties share mod­er­a­tion duties:

  • George Stephanopou­los, Chief Anchor, ABC News
  • David Muir, Anchor of World News Tonight
  • Lin­sey Davis, ABC News Cor­re­spon­dent
  • Jorge Ramos of Uni­vi­sion

Addi­tion­al­ly, ABC plans to have pret­ty much all of its star pun­dits and reporters in Hous­ton dur­ing the week of the debate. The ABC pun­dit ros­ter (which is very heavy on neolib­er­als) includes buck­rak­er Cok­ie Roberts and pub­lic opin­ion ana­lyst Nate Sil­ver plus Hei­di Heitkamp, Rahm Emanuel, and Chris Christie.

There will be a one-hour “preshow” start­ing at 4 PM on the day of the debate and there will be post-debate cov­er­age and analy­sis after it is over for any­one who wants to be glued to their tele­vi­sion set for more than three hours.

With regards to for­mat, ABC says there will be open­ing state­ments but no clos­ing state­ments. The net­work did not reveal its plans for address­ing often neglect­ed top­ics like the cli­mate cri­sis or afford­able hous­ing.

You’ve got lots of options for tun­ing in:

The ABC News Demo­c­ra­t­ic Debate will air live nation­al­ly on the ABC Tele­vi­sion Net­work and Uni­vi­sion (with a Span­ish trans­la­tion) and local­ly on KTRK-TV. ABC News will livestream the debate on ABC News Live – the network’s 247 break­ing news and live events stream­ing chan­nel – on Roku, Hulu, AppleTV, Ama­zon Fire TV, YouTube, Apple News, Face­book, Twit­ter, and the ABC News, Good Morn­ing Amer­i­ca and FiveThir­tyEight web­sites and mobile phone apps. Uni­vi­sion News will also livestream the debate on all of its dig­i­tal plat­forms includ­ing Face­book, YouTube and Periscope.

NPI will bring you live analy­sis and reac­tion on debate night from 5 PM to 8 PM Pacif­ic. Join us — at least dur­ing the com­mer­cial breaks! — if you’d like to see the debate bro­ken down from a lin­guis­tics and fram­ing per­spec­tive.

POSTSCRIPT: ABC News has released the podi­um order for the debate. Here are some impres­sions from our Pres­i­den­tial Elec­toral Ana­lyst, Ruairi Vaugh­an.

Joe Biden is sand­wiched by War­ren and Sanders

War­ren and Sanders got a real boost by work­ing togeth­er in the last debate against neolib­er­al can­di­dates, they are like­ly to bring that team­work to bear against Biden, who they both need to knock down in the polls.

Biden has not faced War­ren in a debate so far — they’ve been on stage dif­fer­ent nights. Biden could be at a real dis­ad­van­tage if he isn’t pre­pared to take her on, and his team will have a hard time work­ing out how to deal with her.

Few­er neolib­er­als in this debate

The only oth­er open­ly par­tial pro­gres­sive can­di­date besides Biden is Amy Klobuchar. In the last debate, she did­n’t have the fight­ing spir­it of a Delaney or a Bul­lock (she opt­ed for a more con­cil­ia­to­ry tone), so it seems unlike­ly she would rush to Biden’s aid when he gets crit­i­cized, at least not in a com­bat­ive way.

Tex­ans togeth­er

Beto O’Rourke and Cas­tro will be next to each oth­er – can we expect anoth­er show­down in Span­ish, like in the first debate?

The high­est-polling can­di­dates are also the old­est

ABC has put the old­est can­di­dates at the cen­ter of the stage (because they are the high­est polling can­di­dates). This could cre­ate a strange pile-on against the cen­ter dynam­ic if the can­di­dates are asked about age… Biden, War­ren and Sanders might even have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to call out ageism togeth­er.

Will Kamala Har­ris rebound?

Kamala Har­ris got high marks for her first debate per­for­mance in June, but in July, she came across much more uneven. She faced the full wrath of Biden, plus attacks from neolib­er­al can­di­dates, plus an unex­pect­ed swipe from Tul­si Gab­bard.

This time, Biden will like­ly have his hands full tus­sling with War­ren and Sanders, there aren’t any oth­er com­bat­ive neolib­er­als, and Gab­bard isn’t in this debate.

That could cre­ate a favor­able dynam­ic for Har­ris.

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One Comment

  1. It sounds like they are get­ting to the “meat and pota­toes” of the can­di­dates. I see a much bet­ter debate and the con­tenders sur­viv­ing while more pre­tenders leave the field.

    # by Mike Barer :: August 29th, 2019 at 8:35 PM