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Biden, Harris highlight Wednesday's Democratic Party debate

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jul 31, 2019

Tonight marks the second night of the second set of Democratic Party debates and will feature the frontrunner and several of his top foils.


Vice President Joe Biden will once again take the center of the stage in Detroit tonight, surrounded by two candidates who have been harsh critics of Biden's handling of race issues.

Where are all of the candidates?

The top 20 Democrats based off polling and fundraising were invited to one of two debates, the first taking place last night. Last night's round featured the two top candidates vying for support from the liberal wing of the party - Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

To qualify for the debates, candidates had to fulfill one of two criteria: either get 65,000 donors to their campaigns, with at least 200 donors in 20 different states, or obtain at least 1% in three polls recognized as legitimate by the Democratic National Committee.

Differences from last month's debate

While there will be 20 Democrats on the stage -- 10 each night -- one Democrat has since dropped out of the race. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California ended his bid for the presidency earlier this month. His spot on the debate stage has since been filled by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who participated in last night's debate.

With this debate being aired on CNN, there will be a different set of moderators. Don Lemon, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper will conduct the debate.

Unlike last month’s Miami debate, CNN has told the candidates that there will be no “show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions.”

Also different, CNN has threatened to reduce the time of candidates who are constantly interrupting.

What is the same

Candidates will be given 60 seconds to answer and 30 seconds for follow ups. The requirements to qualify for the debate also remained the same, and was based off of polling and fundraising criteria.

Time, time time

If last night's debate was any indication, Biden and Harris should get the most talk time. According to a tracker by the Washington Post, Warren and Sanders talked the most, with more than 17 minutes of talk time. Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in third with 14.4 minutes. All other candidates fell between 8.8 and 10.9 minutes.

Warren and Sanders have been competing for second in the polling.

Biden back as frontrunner

Biden’s lead took a bit of a hit in the days following the last debate thanks to a contentious confrontation from Sen. Kamala Harris. Harris’ emotional rebuke of Biden’s stance on public school busing in the 70s was easily the most memorable moment of the night.

It also seemed to have, at least temporarily, cut into Biden’s lead. Polls from CNN and Quinnipiac University had Biden’s polling as low as 22 percent. Harris, for her part, saw her numbers increase to above 10 percent. Biden has seen his polling number return to near 30 percent. Harris, however, has continued to poll above 10 percent, indicating that she perhaps draw some support from some of the other candidates.

Biden and Harris are the two center-stage candidates for tonight's debate.

But Harris might not be Biden’s biggest concern on Wednesday. Sen. Cory Booker and Biden have been involved in a spat in recent days over criminal justice reform. Booker called Biden “an architect of mass incarceration.” This is over Biden’s support for the 1994 Crime Bill.

Here are the candidates:

How to watch:

The debates will be aired live from 8 to 10:30 p.m. ET on CNN.