Elimination Round: Thursday Dem Debate

Your absurdly complete guide to the next 2020 Democratic presidential debate on ABC and Univision

By Wilson Criscione, Josh Kelety, Daniel Walters & Samantha Wohlfeil
The Inlander

A version of this article first appeared in the Inlander, a weekly based in Spokane, Washington.

The next Democratic debate is Thursday, Sept. 12, starting at 5 pm Pacific time and airing on ABC and Univision. George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, Linsey Davis and Jorge Ramos will moderate.

The culling has begun. Jay Inslee is out. So are Kirsten GillibrandMike Gravel and John Hickenlooper.

And the next debate for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary is one night only. Making Thursday night’s debate meant both racking up over 130,000 individual donors and getting 2 percent support in at least four qualifying polls. That means you won’t see Tom SteyerTulsi Gabbard or Marianne Williamson on the debate stage.

Under the shadow of Donald Trump’s presidency, plenty of Democrats feel that absolutely nothing is more important than winning the election. If you thought Trump’s done damage now, they say, what could he do with four more years of tweets, tariffs and Supreme Court picks? Nothing, these Democrats argue, is more important than picking someone who’s “electable.”

And yet, at the same time, Trump’s election has made the very notion of “electability” seem like a farce. Trump got elected. We’re clearly living in a magical realist age of the absurd and fantastical. Anything is possible.

Maybe electability isn’t about being boring, moderate and middle of the road. Maybe the voters aren’t looking for another dull technocrat. After all, nobody wants to end up as the Democratic version of Jeb. And so suddenly a lot of the Democratic candidates aren’t afraid of being called liberal — or even “socialist.”

Back in 2008, Barack Obama wasn’t even willing to endorse gay marriage. But today? You have Democrats calling for the government to provide reparations for slavery. Candidates aren’t just talking about universal health care — they’re talking about canceling college debt and expanding the Supreme Court. …

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