Thinning Out: 10 Democratic Candidates Take the Debate Stage

Joshua Duffy-Cooper, Staff Writer 

Though the school year is off to a great start, the 2020 presidential election is full speed ahead. Over the summer there has been a myriad of political campaigning from numerous candidates of the democratic party. This summer also brought tensions to a head between the trump administration and the democratic party as a whole.

With tensions showing no signs of letting up, this election season has the potential to be the most complicated and polarizing one yet. At the beginning of the election season, there were over 26 democratic candidates alone, ranging from mayors to former vice presidents to everything in-between. However, after many months of campaigning, fundraising, and 2 debates, the original 26 has shrunk to 20.

Tonight’s debate effectively cut the candidate pool in half, only 10 of the 20 of the candidates are qualified to participate according to the regulations of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). This will be the first debate this year to only feature front runners, and semi-prominent candidates.

The third debate is set to occur tonight, Thursday, September 12 at Texas Southern University, an HBCU located in Houston, Texas. This debate is especially noteworthy because this is the first time a debate has been held at an HBCU. It will be moderated and televised by ABC and Univision.

The 10 qualified candidates for tonight’s debate are:



Former Vice President Joe Biden, 76

  • Biden has been the most noteworthy front runner, his relationship with President Obama significantly boosted his early poll ratings and has continued to keep him afloat. Biden has struggled on the debate stage, and his history with the criminal justice system has made him a questionable candidate for many.


Cory Booker, 50

  • The current senator from New Jersey, Booker is one of the more popular candidates, who have effectively connected with younger generations of voters in the United States. Booker is a very talented orator; this skill has given him great leaps and bounds on the debate stage. Booker focuses on issues like gun control, inner-city disparities, education, and social/rights problems.


Kamala Harris, 54

  • As the current senator of California, Harris is one of the most prominent candidates in the election. She has continually forced her poll numbers to increase as she makes a name for herself on the debate stage and campaign trail. However, Harris has as faced as much controversy as a success because of her history as a state prosecutor.



Bernie Sanders, 77

  • As the senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders continues to make people “feel the Bern”. Standing on the polarizing title of ‘socialist’, Sanders has promoted ideas like economic equality, a desire to weaken the power of Wall Street, and to protect the rights of women and minorities.



Elizabeth Warren, 70

  • The current Senator of Massachusetts, Warren is one of the most qualified on paper. Her policies and stances she’s spoken about are extremely thorough and complete. She focuses on Women’s and Social issues.



HUD Sec. Julián Castro, 44

  • A somewhat unknown coming into the debates, Castro has been able to continually gather support for his campaign on polarizing issues like immigration. Castro connects especially well with the Hispanic community, and this may keep him in the running for quite some time.


Beto O’Rourke, 46

  • A Former Texas Representative, Beto is most know for almost beating Ted Cruz in the previous election. He is generally considered the middle of the pack, in both policy and polls. However, he shows the potential to elevate his position in this next debate. Beto has heavily focused on the Hispanic community, as the issues on and about the border crisis become more and more complex.


Andrew Yang, 44

  • Yang is an Entrepreneur and self-made man. He is one of the younger candidates in the election; he supports most liberal-leaning ideas, like decriminalizing marijuana and establishing basic income for all.


Pete Buttigieg, 37

  • As Mayor of South Bend, Ind., Buttigieg seemed like an unlikely pick to make the cut for these debates. However, with strong language, and a great debate presence, Buttigieg has been able to keep his name in conversation just enough to take the stage.


Amy Klobuchar, 59

  • Klobuchar has been the Senator of Minnesota since 2007. Prior to the Senate, she served as the County Attorney for Hennepin County, from 1999 to 2007. She has focused on the opioid and prescription drug epidemic.

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