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First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate for 2020: What You Might Have Missed

Updated on June 30, 2019
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been writing for HubPages for a long time. She is an expert about a variety of subjects she writes about.

20 Democratic Presidential Candidates
20 Democratic Presidential Candidates

I am not a political writer, but I am a writer. Therefore, I can't help writing about some interesting things I gleaned from the first of twelve Democratic Presidential Primary Debates that took place over a two-night period on Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27, 2019. About 15.3 million watched the first debate on television that was held in Miami.

What I point out might help you get more from the next eleven Democratic debates. The second round of debates will be in Detroit, Michigan on July 30 and 31, 2019.

Number of Candidates

By now, most people know there were 20 candidates, which was a nice round that could be divided evenly into two different groups by a random drawing. There were 14 men and 6 women debating. On the first night, there were seven men and three women on the stage. The same scenario existed on the second night with seven men and three women on the stage.

Originally, there were 25 candidates. So, why were only 20 allowed to debate? According to the Democratic National Committee, Democratic hopefuls have two ways of getting onto the debate stage.

  1. They can earn at least 1 percent of the vote in three different national or early-state polls conducted by qualifying pollsters.
  2. They can receive donations from at least 65,000 unique donors, with at least 200 individual donors in at least 20 different states.

Five hopefuls did not meet at least one of the two qualifications. Therefore, they were not allowed to debate.

Who Spoke the Most on the First Night?

Number of Words
Cory Booker
Beto O’Rourke
Elizabeth Warren
Amy Klobuchar
Julián Castro
Tim Ryan
Tulsi Gabbard
John Delaney
Bill de Blasio
Jay Inslee

Booker spoke more than his polling averages predicted. Warren spoke less than the polls suggested.

Who Spoke the Most on the Second Night?

Number of Words
Joe Biden
Kamala Harris
Pete Buttigieg
Bernie Sanders
Michael Bennet
Kirsten Gillibrand
Marianne Williamson
Eric Swalwell
John Hickenlooper
Andrew Yang

Harris spoke more than their polling averages might have predicted. Sanders spoke less than predicted. Andrew Yang spoke the least out of all the candidates even though he was in the middle of the pack in the polling average.

Senator Kamala Harris
Senator Kamala Harris | Source

Kamala Harris' Outbreak Toward Joe Biden Was Scripted

For once, President Donald Trump said something I agree with. He said Senator Kamala Harris was given too much credit for being the front runner of the second debate when she challenged former Vice President Joe Biden.

Her scripted remarks would not have worked if the random draw had put her on the Wednesday night stage. She had planned that approach in advance when she found out she and Biden would be on the same stage. She jumped in and remarked out of order when a question was not posed to her. She wiggled her way into the conversation saying what she and her campaign had prepared in advance. How do we know this?

The Harris campaign had a photo from her childhood with the same tagline Harris shared: “There was a little girl in California who was bused to school. That little girl was me.” There were black t-shirts on sale at the end of the debate with that little girl's picture on them front and center.

Harris needed what many called "her breakout moment." The California Senator had not had a significant push since she launched her 2020 presidential campaign in January.

The timing of Harris' remarks was perfect. The second quarter fund-raising deadline was on Sunday, June 30 when candidates had to disclose their latest finances. Harris' contributions increased partly from the sale of the t-shirts and other donations after she became the top trending topic on Google during the debate.

Marrianne Williamson
Marrianne Williamson | Source

Marianne Williamson Debated Poorly

Marianne Williamson was once Oprah Winfrey spiritual advisor. The 66-year-old candidate debated so poorly that some Democrats don't want her to take time away from other debaters in the next round.

Interestingly, Jeff Roe, who was the campaign manager for Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, wants Williamson to continue. He called on Republicans to donate to her campaign to keep her on the debate stage. He posted his receipt proving that he had already given her a dollar.

Andrew Yang often goes without a tie
Andrew Yang often goes without a tie | Source

Everyone Wanted to Stand Out

All the candidates wanted to stand out in some way so their name could be mentioned the following day. It could have been something they said, something they didn't say, or something unusual. Here are some of the talked about things that made people stand out even if they don't help them continue in the campaign.

  • Candidate Andrew Yang was the only male candidate who did not wear a tie during Thursday night's debate. It was insignificant, but it got his name mentioned. Some people praised him and others criticized him on Twitter. The 44-year-old attorney is almost always photographed tieless.
  • Some were noticed for speaking the most.
  • Others were noticed for speaking the least.
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg kept repeating, "As the youngest guy on the stage..." He is 37 years old. He did not mention that he is the first openly gay presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. He also did not mention that he speaks eight languages.

Sound Bites and Other Remarks

There were sound bites from some of the candidates that were twisted into what they were not intended. Case in point. Joe Biden who spoke the most words on night two of the debate was notified that his time was up. So he said, "My time is up. I'm sorry." Commentators used that as a sound bite and suggested that Biden was talking about his time is up as a viable candidate. Those who watched the debate know the context of the remark.

When Biden responded to Harris about busing, commentators say Biden is talking about what he did decades ago. Therefore, they say he is stuck in a time zone and should come closer to the future. However, it was Harris who brought it up.

When journalists mentioned that there could be a Biden-Harris ticket, others refuted that statement and suggested a Harris-Biden ticket. Joe Biden has been a Vice-President of the United States once, why would he consider being one again with Harris?

76-year-old former Vice President was attacked the most.
76-year-old former Vice President was attacked the most. | Source

Who Was Attacked the Most?

Most surveys say that Joe Biden was attacked the most because he failed to respond effectively to criticisms from other candidates. Biden was the Democratic front-runner before the debate on Thursday night, but he did not use his 13.5 minutes wisely.

The 76-year-old candidate did not make a case for his age and experience when attacked by his rivals.

Bill Maher Calling for Ten Candidates to Bow Out

Bill Maher, the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, called for 10 candidates who were in the debate to drop out now. He cited that there are too many Democrats in the race.

  1. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
  2. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet
  3. Former Maryland Representative John Delaney
  4. Ohio Representative Tim Ryan
  5. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
  6. California Representative Eric Swalwell
  7. Spiritual Guru Marianne Williamson
  8. Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang
  9. Former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke
  10. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Maher said he wanted the others to stick around. Last week, Maher said the only sure person who could win against President Trump is not a candidate, and that is Oprah Winfrey. He added that Winfrey checks all the boxes that Democrats need in order to beat President Trump in the 2020 election. Even though Winfrey has vehemently said she would not run for president, Maher still endorses the 65-year-old television icon.


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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      19 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Lori, I didn't watch much of the debate over the two nights. I did catch many of the highlights. I like to write about tidbits concerning the candidates rather than addressing their various issues.

      Doing research was a good way for me to get to know the candidates because I didn't know much about some of them before. There are 11 more Democratic debates coming up. Some of the candidates might have bowed out by the next debate on July 30.

      Thanks for reading my article and commenting.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      19 months ago from United States

      This was a great synopsis. I didn't nor did I want to watch the debates. I get so much information in the news about where they stand on the issues and most of it I find appalling. I saw an interview of Andrew Yang the other day with Ben Shapiro and really liked the guy. I am not for everything he said, but I surprisingly agreed with many of his comments.

      Jay Inslee should be the eleventh to drop out of the race. He is governor of my state and he and our majority elected officials have created some appalling crises. He is a one issue guy. I hope he falls out quickly as I don't want a president like him.

      I am so fed up with politics but try to keep current as it is my responsibility as a citizen, but I just couldn't stomach watching a long drawn out debate where people don't answer questions or get caught up into slamming one another. But this was a nice flyover to give me some sort of information. I ususally try to research them in other ways. Thanks.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      19 months ago from U.S.A.

      Margaret, you did a fabulous job here. No bias and filled with information; that's why I keep reading your material. May God always guide your skillful and non-biased pen in whatever you write. Respectfully, Tim

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      19 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Tim, thanks for reading and commenting. As I said in my introduction I usually don't write about politics, but there were so many interesting things about the debate that I was led to write this time. There will be 11 more Democratic debates in addition to the Republicans debates. Therefore, I will have a lot of material to write about.

      Blessings to you!

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      19 months ago from U.S.A.

      I agree Harris scripted her remarks, but that only goes to prove she is politically savvy. It's no more than what others have done. If Joe Biden wins the nomination, he will need to have someone with him who can handle the craftiness of a Trump team. Biden-Haris could pull that off, not the other way around. However, Oprah would be great, but she appears not to be interested as she repeatedly said and you noted. I personally don't care as long as the front-runner is a person of decency and will work for all Americans and not a select few. I will "give Caesar what is Caesar's" because they can't touch what belongs to God regardless of who they are. Great article.


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