Two nights. 20 candidates. Six hopefuls who happen to be women. After months of anticipation, the Democratic debates are finally here—and are expected to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Taking place on June 26 and 27, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST, each night will feature 10 candidates selected at random to avoid putting all the top-tier Democrats on the same night.
First up? Tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has pulled ahead in the polls in recent weeks, squares off against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), and former Congressman John Delaney. Then comes some of the heavier hitters. On Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) will all face off.
While the topics of the debate haven’t been announced, NBC has shared who will be asking the questions. There will be five moderators for the two nights, including Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and Noticias Telemundo host José Diaz-Balart.
The debates will be available to watch on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo and free to stream on NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News app, and all Telemundo digital platforms. But before you get your popcorn (and much-needed glass of wine) out to watch the debates, here’s everything you need to know about the female candidates’ strategies for the big night.
Senator Kamala Harris (D–Calif.)
When She’ll Appear: The California senator will take the stage during the second night of the debates.
What She’ll Talk About: Harris recently proposed a massive tax cut for middle-class families, known as Livable Incomes for Families Today. It’s the most robust piece of policy on her platform and would provide refundable tax credits to families, and allow them to receive their benefits on a monthly basis. Harris will definitely try to touch on it, as well as her support of “Medicare for All.”
How They’ll Attack Her: Harris hasn’t been able to shake her “tough on crime” past in her campaign so far. While serving as the first female attorney general of California, she supported some criminal justice stances that some consider conservative. For example, she enforced an anti-truancy program and fought to release fewer incarcerated people. She’s already had to defend her record since announcing her run, so if anybody criticizes Harris, this is most likely how they’ll go for the jugular.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.)
When She’ll Appear: Warren will take part in the first night of the debates. According to The Hill, many think Warren got the “short end of the stick” being assigned to the first night, as this prevents her from debating Biden and Sanders, her closest opponents in the polls who will both appear during night two.
What She’ll Talk About: “Warren Has a Plan for That” has become the tagline of her campaign, and that’s exactly what she’ll hit on—her policies. Some of her proposals include a new tax on Americans with a net worth of $50 million or more, and would also tax billionaires an additional 1 percent. The economy is Warren’s passion point, and she’s also likely to discuss her proposed Accountable Capitalism Act, which would redistribute trillions from American corporations’ to the middle class.