HOUSTON – Ten Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage on Thursday in the next round of debates of the 2020 campaign.
Want to know where candidates stand on issues important to your state? Check out our chart.
The debate will be held in Houston, Texas, a state Donald Trump won in 2016. The three-hour debate will begin at 8 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ABC.
The debate provides 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 still leading in the majority of polls. This debates may also be the last chance for some of the lower-polling candidates to make their mark.
What's different about this debate?
Just 10 of the 20 candidates who took part in the second set of debates will participate this time around due to stricter polling and fundraising requirements for entry. This is also the first debate during which the top two polling candidates, Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, will appear on the same stage.
How did candidates qualify for the debates?
- Registering two percent or more in at least four qualified polls. These include national polls, or polls conducted in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada.
- Receiving donations from at least 130,000 unique donors, and by receiving donations from a least 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
Additional candidates, including the ones participating this week, still have a chance to qualify for the October debate in Ohio. It has been reported that there is a possibility that the October debate may be two nights depending on how many more candidates qualify.
In the last two debates, the 20 candidates were split into two groups of 10 and debated on two separate days. This time the participating candidates have been cut in half, allowing the debate to take place on one night.
Which candidates did not make the debate?
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, author and activist Marianne Williamson, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard are the Democratic candidates who appeared in the previous two-night debate that are still in the race, but who failed to qualify for the Houston debate.
Several other participants from the last debate have stepped out of the running, including former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
The rules for the fourth debate are the same as the third, which means all of the candidates who are participating this time will appear again next month. Philanthropist Tom Steyer, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Marianne Williamson have all claimed to be close to or have already qualified for the October debate, as well.
What should we expect from the third debate?
This debate is set in the home state of two candidates: former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. This debate will likely include conversations on immigration, climate change, and gun control.
The debate comes in the wake of two almost back-to-back mass shootings in Texas, one of which took place in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso. O’Rourke halted campaigning immediately after the El Paso mass shooting and was very vocal in his criticism of President Trump’s visit to the city to meet with victims, saying the president had “no place here,” and has also made curbing gun violence a priority in his campaign.
In the previous two debates, immigration was front and center. That is not likely to change now that the candidates are physically closer to the shared border with Mexico. Julián Castro has previously talked about ending the criminalization of illegal border crossings and seeking more pathways to citizenship. Many other candidates, including Joe Biden, also support a pathway to citizenship.
Climate change is another possible topic in this debate, which is taking place just weeks after Hurricane Dorian destroyed sections of the Bahamas and nearly did the same to southern coastal states, including Florida and North Carolina. Earlier this month, CNN hosted a seven-hour town hall, during which the 10 candidates participating in this week’s debate were given the opportunity to talk about their climate change policies. Some of them discussed plans that would tax carbon pollution, while others touted their support of a Green New Deal.
Other topics that are likely to come up are taxes, health care, and civil rights—all of which were touched on in the previous debates.
How did the race change after the second debates?
Sen. Elizabeth Warren saw an almost 4 percent poll jump within 10 days of the last debates, which while impressive was only a fraction of what other candidates saw after the first set of debates according to RealClearPolitics polling data.
Warren took to the stage the first night of the debate and was criticized, as was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, by other candidates for supporting universal health care. Warren held her ground, telling fellow candidates she would not go through the trouble of running for president if she was only focused on what she cannot and should not be fighting for.
Polling data shows other candidates saw little change in their polling numbers immediately following the last debates, if not an overall downward trend in the following weeks.
One of those candidates was Joe Biden. Prior to the August debates, Biden was polling at 31.8 percent according to RealClearPolitics. By August 26, he had dropped to 26.6, before seeing another upward swing.
During the second set of debates, Biden took heat for his defense of former President Barack Obama. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was one of the candidates directing criticism at Biden, saying the former Vice President invoked Obama when it was convenient and dodged when it was not.
As of Monday, Biden had yet to recover to his pre-second debate polling numbers.
Despite this, Biden is still polling more than 10 points higher than his nearest challengers, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Following the first debate, California Sen. Kamala Harris saw a large spike in her poll numbers, with her percentages more than doubling compared to before that debate. That success proved unsustainable, however. Since then, her numbers have dropped, putting her back at 7 percent, almost exactly where she was before the first debate.
What else should New Yorkers listen for in Thursday’s debate?
New Yorkers may hear about a number of issues important to the state during the debates. Here are a few:
- Gun Control
In the wake of the recent mass shootings in Ohio, Texas, and California, gun safety is another hot-button issue for voters.
Biden recently released a new ad in which he boasts that he “beat the NRA twice.” Senator Cory Booker has laid out an aggressive gun control policy that would require having a license to buy or own a gun in the United States.
Governor Cuomo in New York has made gun control a signature for him. In the last year, the Democratic majority in the state Legislature has approved, and Cuomo has signed into law, measures that are designed to keep guns away from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others and require the safe storage of guns in homes where kids live. Cuomo has challenged Democratic candidates to make gun control a central focus of the campaign.
- Health Care
When it comes to healthcare, Biden has talked up his time as vice president in helping to pass the Affordable Care Act and outlined a policy that would strengthen it.
Biden’s more moderate plan stands in stark contrast to Sanders, Warren, Booker, Harris, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, and Pete Buttigieg, who have all called for a version of “Medicare for All.” State lawmakers in New York are expected to once again push for a state-level version of single-payer health care after the bill stalled in the Legislature this year. Recently, lawmakers traveled to Canada to review its health care system.
- Climate Change
As we see more active and severe weather, climate change is one issue that’s likely to be top-of-mind for New Yorkers voters. Former Vice President Joe Biden has touted a climate strategy that’s been branded as “middle ground.” His closest competitors, meanwhile, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are both co-sponsors of the more far-reaching, Green New Deal.
In New York, lawmakers and Governor Cuomo approved a climate changing fighting law in June. The measure is meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades and shift the state to renewable sources of energy.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Where do the candidates who qualified stand on issues important to New York?