Despite ongoing concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting the 2020 Democratic Primary, the debate scheduled for Sunday will be going forth as scheduled, with just a few key changes. For starters, there will be no live audience in the building to watch Sen. Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden battle in a one-on-one debate, and the venue has been changed from Arizona to Washington, DC.
The venue changed, to the CNN studio in DC, is taking place out of an abundance of caution to limit the need for the further travel of the candidates and supporting media staff.
Here are the details for the debate including the start time and how you can watch it free without the need for a cable or satellite subscription.
CNN/Univision Democratic Debate (11th Debate)
Date: Sunday, March 15, 2020
Time: 8 pm ET (7 pm CT, 6 pm MT, 5 pm PT)
Location: CNN studio in Washington, DC
Sponsors: CNN, Univision, CHC BOLD
Moderators: Dana Bash, Jake Tapper, Ilia Calderón
Jorge Ramos was originally scheduled to moderate but due to COVID-19 exposure, he has bowed out and Ilia Calderón will take his spot to represent Univision.
How to Watch
On TV – The debate will air on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International, and Univision
Online – The debate will air on CNN.com without requiring a cable or satellite subscription to view
Streaming – CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV, as well as Univision’s digital properties
This show will be pretty sparse, with just two candidates on stage:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
The rules for participating in this debate were increased singinfiatly which cut Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from any chance of making the stage despite winning some delegates. The rules for the March 15 debate requires that participants have at least 20% of all of the pledged delegates awarded from primaries and caucuses up to that point. As a result, only Sanders and Biden have met the threshold.
Debate Moved to DC
CNN reports on the reason for the venue change, which should be obvious given the current news cycle:
The Democratic debate scheduled for Sunday will be moved from Arizona to Washington, DC, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.
Additionally, Univision’s Jorge Ramos was possibly exposed to coronavirus. While he is not exhibiting any symptoms, he has has stepped down from his role as one of the moderators for the debate, the DNC said. The network’s Ilia Calderón will take his place, alongside CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper. The debate is still set to take place 8 to 10 p.m. ET Sunday.
“Both Mr. Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom free,” Hinojosa said. “Despite being cleared by medical professionals and out of an abundance of caution, Jorge has decided to step aside from participating in the upcoming March 15 Democratic debate.”
“Our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, and all those involved in the debate.”
On one hand, it surprising that the DNC and CNN even decided to hold the debate in general given the current roaring level of Coronavirus concern. Still, though, the DNC is in a very tough sport in relation to Bernie Sanders. If they decided to scrap the debate, citing health concerns, they could be accused of heavy bias in not allowing Sanders to participate in another debate despite easily qualifying for it.
This will very likely be the final Democratic primary debate of the cycle as it’s unlikely the DNC would risk scheduling anything further. The potential twelfth debate was never put on the calendar so it’s likely it will not take place.
We will have the live stream and further information on Sunday with the latest developments and how to tune in for this Biden-Bernie two-man show.