Debate Preview: Here Are the Rules for the Upcoming Democrat Debates

(L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) talk with each other as they listen to Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh …
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The rules for the upcoming 2020 Democrat Primary debates – taking place at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami Wednesday and Thursday night – have been released by NBC with a big emphasis on timeliness.

Each debate will have five segments with four commercial breaks throughout the duration of the two-hour event. With ten candidates taking the stage each night, they will only have 60 seconds to answer the question directed toward them and 30 seconds for follow-ups.

Candidates have been brushing up on their ability to fully answer questions within the brief time frame, NBC News reports.

The 20 qualifying candidates have been split into groups of ten for each night, which was determined –the Democrat National Committee claims – by a “random” drawing at NBC News’ headquarters.

NBC reported:

One representative from each of the qualifying campaigns was invited to attend the draw along with officials from the Democratic National Committee. Campaign representatives saw the paper slip with their respective candidate’s name on it before it was folded and placed inside the box.

A representative from NBC News Standards & Practices conducted the draw.

The first debate, taking place Wednesday, will feature Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Julián Castro (D), John Delaney (D), Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Beto O’Rourke (D), Tim Ryan (D), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Thursday night’s debate will bring Michael Bennet (D), Joe Biden (D), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), John Hickenlooper (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Marianne Williamson (D), and Andrew Yang (D) on stage.

There will be no formal opening statements at the beginning of each debate, but each candidate will have the opportunity to close.

The debate kicks off at 9 p.m. ET both nights. NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate both hours each night. Savannah Guthrie and José Diaz-Balart will moderate alongside him for the first hour and switch with Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow for the second hour.


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