Here Is the Lineup for the Democratic Debates

This first Democratic debates of the 2020 race have arrived, taking place Wednesday and Thursday nights from 9 to 11 p.m., with 10 candidates from the sprawling field of 24 debating each night.

Poise, deftness, and the ability to introduce themselves to a nationwide audience — all those things will matter. If you also think positioning matters, you can try to decode who might be at an advantage or disadvantage, given their spot in the lineup and the people they will be standing next to.

On the first night, for instance, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas will stand next to each other in the center of the stage. The second night will see former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont front and center.



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Night One: June 26

Bill de Blasio

Tim Ryan

Julián Castro

Cory Booker

Elizabeth Warren

Beto O’Rourke

Amy Klobuchar

Tulsi Gabbard

Jay Inslee

John Delaney

Night Two: June 27

Marianne Williamson

John Hickenlooper

Andrew Yang

Pete Buttigieg

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Bernie Sanders

Kamala Harris

Kirsten Gillibrand

Michael Bennet

Eric Swalwell

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Candidates will appear in this order on the stage, from left to right.

On Wednesday, from left to right, the candidates will be arranged like this: Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York; Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio; Julián Castro, the former housing secretary; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Ms. Warren; Mr. O’Rourke; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington; and former Representative John Delaney of Maryland.

The lineup for Thursday is as follows, from left to right: Marianne Williamson, a self-help author; former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado; Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; Mr. Biden; Mr. Sanders; Senator Kamala Harris of California; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado; and Representative Eric Swalwell of California.

The candidates will stand in a tight semicircle on a debate stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, surrounded by 600 square feet of screens that include a wraparound image of the White House. The lecterns are made of Plexiglas and carry the presidential seal. NBC, using five moderators, is hosting the debate.

On the first night, Ms. Warren will have the largest target on her back, as the only candidate on stage who is polling in double digits. She will be surrounded by candidates in search of a breakout moment.

One of them, Mr. O’Rourke, is looking to stop his slide in the polls, which began shortly after his March campaign announcement. And Mr. Booker, who will stand on the other side of Ms. Warren, has yet to have a breakout moment.

All of the candidates at center stage on Wednesday are betting big on Iowa — putting them in competition with one another geographically, if not ideologically. Mr. Booker’s Iowa operation rivals Ms. Warren’s as the most robust of the race so far. Mr. O’Rourke’s retail-style campaign is a traditional fit for the state. And Ms. Klobuchar, who will be standing on the other side of Mr. O’Rourke, is the senator from next door.

The six candidates closest to the center of the stage on that first night will also feature some of the ascendant diversity of the Democratic Party: three women, including the first Hindu member of Congress, as well as a Latino and an African-American candidate.

And the wide-angle camera shots will offer an additional interesting visual: the four spots at the outermost edges of the stage will all be occupied by white male candidates.

The prime-time matchup on Thursday will feature Mr. Biden, 76, and Mr. Sanders, 77 — the two oldest and (mostly) highest-polling politicians in the race — standing side by side. Of all the candidates, Mr. Sanders has been most eager to strike contrasts with Mr. Biden on policy matters since the former vice president entered the race in late April.

Now, he will get a chance to do so at close range, and there are a suite of issues on which Mr. Sanders has signaled he plans to draw distinctions with Mr. Biden, from their votes on the Iraq war to trade deals to their differing approaches to health care.

Those elder statesmen, who have each held elective office for decades, will be flanked by a pair of candidates making the case for a new generation of leadership: Ms. Harris, 54, and Mr. Buttigieg, 37, who has made the fact that he will be the same age as President Trump in 2054 a repeated joke on the campaign trial.

Those four are expected to soak up much of the attention and camera time.

For Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren’s absence on the second night will allow him to pitch his more progressive vision relatively unimpeded. None of the other three leading candidates are likely to jostle with him for the most committed ideological voters on the left.

More reporting on this week’s debates

Source: NYT

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