Your guide to the second night in Detroit
Ten Democratic candidates took the stage Tuesday in Detroit to battle for primary voters’ hearts and minds in the second debate of the 2020 presidential race. Ten more will be out there Wednesday, with the frontrunners trying to hold their places, while those trailing in the polls will do what they can to make a lasting impression and boost their campaigns.
The first night in Detroit largely pitted Democratic moderates like former Rep. John Delaney and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock against progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, particularly on the question government-run health care.
Those same dynamics will likely be at play on the second night as well. But with former Vice President Joe Biden on stage – whom voters consider the most capable of defeating President Donald Trump next November, according to the polls – you can also expect the candidates to make their case for why they are the best-equipped to unseat the incumbent.
Analysis: The Democratic debate exposed an ideological rift
More: The winners and losers of Tuesday’s Democratic debate
Here’s a guide to the second night of the Democratic debate in Detroit:
When and where is the debate?
8 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Mich. It is scheduled to last two hours, but Tuesday night’s debate continued until about 10:45 p.m.
Where can I watch?
Through an agreement with the Democratic National Committee, CNN has exclusive rights to the debate and if you want to watch, you’ll have to watch there. If you don’t have cable or a streaming service that provides CNN, you’re not necessarily out of luck: It will be streamed live on CNN.com for free and without requiring a cable provider login.
What sort of coverage is USA TODAY providing?
We’ll have stories leading up to the debate and the Detroit Free Press, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, will provide coverage from inside and outside the event. That includes reports from the spin room afterward, where the campaigns and the candidates come to push their take on how it all went.
- Look for expert analysis
- Winners and losers
- Best and worst moments
- What’s next?
- What’s on voters’ minds?
- Candidate statements fact-checked in real time
Keep an eye on usatoday.com and freep.com throughout.
Fact check: Democrats trip on Detroit details
Takeaways: Top moments of Tuesday’s Democratic debate
Who is in the lineup for Wednesday night?
• Former Vice President Joe Biden
• Sen. Kamala Harris of California
• Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
• Andrew Yang, businessman
• Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
• Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
• New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
• Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
How was the lineup determined?
Some time ago, the DNC settled on the following criteria for candidates in order to make the debate: At least 1% support in three qualifying public opinion polls; 65,000 or more unique donors to their campaign with a minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states, or both. Those doing better on those criteria were slotted into the debate up to the 20-candidate limit.
CNN held a random draw that assured that two of the top four candidates would be on each night, as well as three of the next six in terms of their place in the polls.
Who won’t get to debate either night?
Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, a late entry in the presidential race, won’t be part of the debates. Joining him are Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam.
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, who was on the stage in Miami, dropped out of the race and is the only person who was in those debates who won’t be on stage in Detroit. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock took Swalwell’s place.
What is the format?
Candidates will be given time for both an opening and a closing statement. When a moderator asks a direct question of a candidate, he or she will have a minute to respond. Other comments or rebuttals will be limited to 30 seconds.
As anyone watching debates knows, however, these are just guidelines: The candidates will absolutely try to get as much time as they can, though CNN threatened it will deduct time from a candidate who “consistently interrupts.” Any candidate targeted by another candidate as part of his or her response will be given 30 seconds to respond.
CNN also says that there will be no “show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions” for the candidates.
Who is moderating?
CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper will serve as moderators for the debates.
What issues will be debated?
Health care, immigration, climate change, the economy, trade, race relations and foreign policy were among the issues discussed Tuesday. Questions on those topics will likely be asked Wednesday.
Looming over all of those issues will be President Donald Trump. Expect him to come up a lot as Democratic voters have it made clear that their frustration with the president will heavily influence their vote in next year’s primaries and caucuses.
Polls consistently show registered Democrats and voters who lean Democratic care more about nominating someone who can beat Trump than someone who agrees with them on the issues.
Donald Trump: President stays silent as Democrats brand him a ‘phony’ and a ‘liar’ during debate
Candidates take tough questions: ‘Who here is on stage making promises to get elected?’
What are the key debate matchups?
On night two, the marquee matchup will be between Biden – who still holds a comfortable lead in most polls – and Harris. In Miami, Harris, a former prosecutor and California attorney general, scored tons of points by going after Biden on busing and his comments on having worked with segregationists while in the Senate. Biden was criticized as seeming unprepared for the debate attack and showing a sluggish response. If she goes after him again, his reaction will be closely gauged.
The other candidates can be expected to attempt to insert themselves into questions as they did during the first debates in Miami.
Here’s what to watch: The gloves will be off in Detroit
Polls: Biden holds comfortable lead heading into Detroit