Tonight, the two major candidates remaining in the 2020 Democratic primary race will finally debate in hopes of securing their nomination for this year’s presidential election. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will go head-to-head on-stage from the CNN studio in Washington, D.C., after the event was relocated from the Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix as a result of the continued spread of the coronavirus.
Read on to find out all the details about the 11th Democratic primary debate airing on Sunday, March 15, including how to watch live and online.
How do I watch the next Democratic Primary debate?
The 11th Democratic primary debate will air exclusively on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International, and Univision on Sunday, March 15, beginning at 8/7c. The debate is expected to run for two hours and is being presented by the DNC and CHC Bold, a political action committee associated with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The debate will be available to stream on CNN.com, with no cable login information necessary to watch, along with CNN’s apps on iOS and Androis and CNNgo apps on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Android TV, and Univision’s digital media properties. Audio of the debate can also be tuned into on SiriusXM and Westwood One Radio Network.
Why was the event changed?
In a statement provided to CNN, the Democratic National Convention explained its decision to relocate Sunday’s debate from Arizona to D.C. by saying, “Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience.” The committee also confirmed that Univision’s Jorge Ramos, who was expected to serve as a moderator for the event, has possibly been exposed to coronavirus and, though asymptomatic and cleared by medical professionals, will no longer participate in the event. Ilia Calderón, who was already expected to field audience questions, will take his place alongside CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.
CNN previously announced that this event would not feature a live audience, press filing center, or spin room as a cautionary measure.
“CNN’s top priority is the safety of our employees and community members. This extends to guests planning to attend or cover our debate on March 15. At the request of the campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to eliminate the live audience, the press filing center and spin room in Phoenix,” the network said in a statement. “We encourage you to tune into the debate at 8 pm ET.”
Who is moderating the debate?
CNN previously announced that anchors Dana Bash and Jake Tapper will moderate the debate alongside Univision’s Jorge Ramos. However, Ramos has stepped down from the event as a result of potential exposure to coronavirus. Instead, Univision’s Ilia Calderón, who was previously expected to handle audience questions, will step up to co-moderate the event.
When are the next primary elections?
On Tuesday, March 10, Democratic primary elections were held in six states: Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington. On March 14, a caucus will then be held in Northern Mariana. Following the 11th primary debate, on Tuesday, March 17, voters will again hit the polls in four additional states: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.
The primary process will then continue on with elections on March 29 in Puerto Rico; April 4 in Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming; April 7 in Wisconsin; April 28 in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island; May 2 in Guam and Kansas; May 5 in Indiana; May 12 in Nebraska and West Virginia; May 19 in Kentucky, Oregon, and Georgia; June 2 in the District of Columbia, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota; June 6 in the Virgin Islands; and June 20 in Louisiana.
The Democratic National Convention will follow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from July 13 to 16, which is when the party’s nominee will be declared, at the latest.
How many delegates does a candidate need to win the nomination?
To secure the party’s nomination for president, a candidate will need to garner 1,991 delegates of the 3,979 which can be pledged. As of this writing, per the New York Times, Biden leads with 890 delegates, while Sanders has 736 so far. There are 577 delegates which will be awarded based on the results of the post-debate election on Tuesday, March 17. If neither candidate amasses the requisite number of delegates before the DNC convenes in July, it would trigger a contested election in which a bloc of 771 superdelegates vote in a second ballot, and a candidate would need to get a majority of 2,375.5 votes in that election, including the superdelegates and pledged delegates, to win the nomination.
What else do I need to know about the debate?
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is still technically in the running for the party’s nomination, but she has not qualified for this debate due to a recent criteria change by the Democratic National Convention, which requires a candidate to boast at least 20 percent of the total number of pledged delegates in certain state contests. She currently has just two.
The contest between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders follows the suspension of several competing campaigns, including that of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has thus far declined to endorse either candidate, as well as Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar, all of whom endorsed Biden. Biden has also received endorsements from former presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker. Meanwhile, Sanders has also been endorsed by several influential politicians, including civil rights icon Jesse Jackson and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The 11th Democratic primary debate in Washington, D.C. will air on CNN on Sunday, March 15 at 8/7c.