Your Guide to the 2020 Presidential Debates


//PICTURED ABOVE: The Stage was ready at a 2016 primary debate. In 2016, the Republican Party held Primary debates, unlike this year. 

As the school year comes to a close and most stressful commitments are winding down, the world continues to turn around us. Believe it or not, the 2020 presidential debate season is upon us, and the first of these debates will be this June.

The first round of debates will be “primary debates,” or debates involving only one political party. A primary debate’s purpose is to cater to voters from the same party as the candidates debating so that voters can decide which candidates they will support in the primary election. Additionally, they are a chance for voters to hear from candidates about their political views.

According to Upper School U.S Government teacher Kristen Blevins, in the upcoming primary debates candidates may be “trying to distinguish themselves from one another, whereas in a presidential debate with two major party candidates, that’s a little more about trying to appeal to a broader base of people.”

The first primary debates will be held on June 26 and 27 in Miami by the Democratic party. “There will be 12 debates in total over the 2020 Democratic primary season — the June debate is the first of six scheduled for this year, with six more scheduled for 2020,” Allan Smith of NBC News said. The debates will take place over the course of two days due to a large number of candidates from the party this year. The selection of candidates who will debate on each day will be chosen at random.

However, due to the sheer number of Democratic candidates for the 2020 election, some requirements have been put in place by the Democratic National Committee to slim down who participates. There are two possible ways a candidate can qualify to debate: registering at least one percent support in three polls or demonstrating donations from 65,000 separate donors (or 200 separate donors in each state in a minimum of 20 states).

One possible reason for a large number of candidates from the Democratic party could be a reaction to the current presidency.

“In every presidential election, the party not in power would like to take power from the opposing party. But, I think that since there’s been such backlash to the current president in particular from the Democratic party that many candidates feel like it’s an absolute necessity to get President Trump out of office,” Blevins said, “everyone is throwing their hats in the ring in the hopes that they find at least one really strong candidate to be president.”

On the opposite side of the aisle, there will be no Republican primary debates for the 2020 election. The Republican National Committee voted to make this change Thursday, May 3. The change could symbolize the party’s support of President Trump, as the lack of debates would not support new Republican candidates who wish to receive the Republican nomination over President Trump.

Co-president of the Young Democrats Club Annie Herring took an interesting perspective of the debates, commenting on one thing she will look out for.

“I think [viewers] should watch for what candidates say about Donald Trump, because there are some people who are being a bit more wary and not saying bad things about him really overtly, but there are other people who are openly disagreeing with him,” Herring said.

This June, make sure to pay attention to these first few debates, which will undoubtedly have plenty of interesting information and will set the tone for the important election in 2020.

Story by Laine Betanzos

Photo provided by WikiCommons