Twenty Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage on Tuesday and Wednesday in the second round of debates of the 2020 campaign.
The two debates will be held in Detroit, in a state Donald Trump narrowly won in becoming president in 2016. Each debate will begin at 8 p.m. and be broadcast by CNN. For debate updates and analysis about the issues that matter to New Yorkers, follow NY1 on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
The debates are another chance for the candidates to detail their visions and try to stand out in a crowded field before a national television audience.
Some of the higher-polling candidates hope to close the gap between themselves and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading in polls. The debates may also be the last chance for some of the lower-polling candidates to make their mark.
What's different about these debates?
Nineteen of the 20 candidates who took part in the first debate will participate in one of this weeks debates. The lone newcomer is Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who replaces California Rep. Eric Swalwell. (Swalwell dropped out of the race earlier this month.)
Candidates qualified for the debate in one of two ways:
1) Registering 1 percent or more in at least three qualified polls. These include national polls, or polls conducted in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada.
2) Receiving donations from at least 65,000 unique donors, and by receiving donations from a least 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
As they were in Miami last month for the first debate, the 20 candidates will be split into two groups of 10 and will debate on two separate days.
July 30 candidates:
Steve Bullock, Montana Governor
Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
John Delaney, former Congressman from Maryland
John Hickenlooper, former Colorado Governor
Amy Klobuchar, Senator from Minnesota
Beto O'Rourke, former Congressman from Texas
Tim Ryan, Congressman from Ohio
Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont
Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts
Marianne Williamson, author and activist
July 31 candidates:
Michael Bennet, Senator from Colorado
Joe Biden, former Vice President
Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey
Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City
Tulsi Gabbard, Congresswoman from Hawaii
Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator from New York
Kamala Harris, Senator from California
Jay Inslee, Washington Governor
Andrew Yang, entrepreneur
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Miramar (Fla.) Mayor Wayne Messam, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak and activist Tom Steyer are the Democratic candidates who will not be on the debate stage.
How did the race change after the first debate?
Judging by RealClearPolitics polling data, the first debate was very significant for California Sen. Kamala Harris, who enjoyed a bump in popularity after criticizing Biden for defending working with segregationists, and for once opposing mandatory busing of students to desegregate public schools.
According to RealClearPolitics, her average in all polls surged from 7 percent on June 29 to 15.2 percent by July 5. A lot of her gain came at the expense of Biden, who dropped from a 32 percent polling average on June 29 to a 26 percent polling average on July 6.
Biden has gained back some ground since then. As of this week, his RealClearPolitics polling average was at 29.3 percent. Despite the setback, Biden is still 14.3 percentage points ahead of his nearest challengers, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Sanders is polling at 15 percent, and Warren is polling at 14.5 percent. Harris is currently at 11.8 percent.
What should we expect from the second debate?
In the first debate, candidates tangled on immigration, taxes, health care and civil rights, among other topics. Expect the second debate to include conversations about these topics again, and potentially more questions about trade and cities.
Candidates could take the opportunity to criticize the private detention centers where immigrants are being held at the border, as many did during the first debates.
Health care – specifically, the topic of whether to abolish private insurance – was brought up at both debates during the first round, and may come up again as the candidates try to make distinctions between their plans clear. (Warren, Harris, Sanders and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio all said they would abolish private insurance during the first debate.)
Sanders and Warren, who are the candidates with the highest rankings in the polls out of the Day 1 participants, may end up taking the heat from their rivals in that debate.
Biden still appears to be the front-runner, so he could once again be the focus of attacks from other candidates on Day 2, particularly from Harris, Sen. Cory Booker and de Blasio, who have publicly criticized Biden in the past. Harris may also face more attacks than she did in the last debate after rising in the polls.
President Trump is expected to be a topic of discussion as well. Candidates may use their time to further denounce his tweets suggesting that four Democratic congresswomen should "go back" to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came," comments that were officially condemned by the House, and to discuss racial relations overall in the country.
Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election, and Trump's response to the investigation, may also be discussed after Mueller's testimony in House hearings last week.
Trump himself may use Twitter to weigh in during the debates, as he did during the first round.
This could be the last chance for several candidates
The rules for the first and second Democratic debates meant 20 candidates qualified, but the rules for the third debate in September will make it harder for some of the lower-polling candidates to make it onto the debate stage.
The polling and fundraising thresholds will both be higher for the third Democratic debate, and candidates will have to meet both thresholds instead of just one.
To qualify for the third debate, candidates must receive 2 percent or more in at least four qualified polls. They must also receive donations from at least 130,000 donors, and from 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
As of July 12, according to FiveThirtyEight, only five candidates met both thresholds so far: Biden, Harris, Sanders, Warren and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The deadline for the candidates to hit both thresholds is August 28, so the other candidates still have time to make up the difference. A strong performance in the second debate could go a long way toward helping them reach that goal.
Where do the New York candidates stand heading into the debate?
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will both participate in the second debate, and they will each need a big performance to avoid missing the next one. Per the RealClearPolitics polling average, de Blasio is averaging 0.8 percent in national polls, and Gillibrand is averaging 0.5 percent. They may not be faring any better in statewide polls either. A recent Quinnipiac University poll asked 500 Democratic voters in Ohio who they would vote for in the Democratic primary: none chose de Blasio or Gillibrand.
Two weekends ago, de Blasio was campaigning in Iowa when a blackout hit parts of Manhattan. He cut his trip short, but did not arrive back in New York until after power had been restored. The blackout illustrated one of the biggest challenges facing the mayor as he runs for president.
Gillibrand was in the news last week, when the Senate passed a bill she was the primary sponsor of that insures the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund will never run out of money. It became a point of contention between the senator and the mayor, as de Blasio and his aides claimed the mayor was not invited to the bill signing in Washington. Gillibrand's aides denied she was trying to snub de Blasio.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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