Here's what you need to know about tonight's Democratic debate in Detroit

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in 2018
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Twenty Democratic presidential candidates are debating in Detroit on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and Tuesday's 10 contenders feature Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.), plus lower-polling candidates Beto O'Rourke, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Marianne Williamson, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), former Rep. John Delaney (Md.), and, for the first time on stage, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

The debate, hosted by CNN and moderated by Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, and Dana Bash, begins at 8 p.m. ET and will end at about 10:30 p.m. It will be broadcast live on CNN, streamed online at, and broadcast over the radio on Westwood One. Each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer questions from the moderators and another 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals; moderator will not ask show-of-hands questions or for one-word answers. Oddly, all the candidates onstage will be white, thanks to the flukiness of CNN's draw.

"Warren and Sanders are the two highest polling candidates on stage Tuesday night, and they're the two most dominant progressive voices in the primary," BuzzFeed News notes. "So the general expectation here, understandably, is that the two will clash in their first shared debate, scrounging for ownership of the primary's left-wing. That expectation could flop," though not for lack of effor from the moderators. The second-tier candidates — Buttigieg, O'Rourke, and Klobuchar — "certainly need breakout moments" and will be scrambling to create them, NPR News predicts.

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And the other five? "The decent bet is that Tuesday night is the last chance you'll have to catch about half of these candidates on a debate stage," BuzzFeed says. "The giant field is about to shrink — enjoy it while it lasts."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.