Democratic Debate Results

Fox News

Fox News


We ran the numbers: There are 10,844 news articles covering this topic. 47% (5044) are left leaning, 37% (4047) center, and 16% (1753) are right leaning.

As the 2020 race for the presidency approaches, the Democratic candidates have cleared their first major hurdle on the way to the primaries. On June 26 and 27, twenty candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination faced off in a set of two debates. Slots were drawn randomly to determine who would debate on which night. The first night featured Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Jay Inslee, Bill DeBlasio, and John Delany. The second featured Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet, and Eric Swalwell. With so many candidates vying for public approval on the debate stage, there was a great deal of room for interpretation of the night’s events.

On the first night of the debates, the conversation centered around topics that were much more left-leaning than was the case during the lead-up to the 2016 election. For instance, candidates were asked whether they would eliminate private health insurance and whether they would decriminalize illegal immigration (making it a civil rather than a criminal offense), and even those such as Klobuchar and Booker who took more moderate positions were sure to emphasize that they still opposed the status quo. Elizabeth Warren was widely agreed to be the candidate who set the tone for the first night of the debates. In contrast, the standout character of the second night of debates was Joe Biden, an institutionalist who has adopted more moderate stances than Warren. One of the most memorable events of both debates occurred when Kamala Harris, a senator from California who has positioned herself as a radical, challenged Biden on race. Harris said that she didn’t consider Biden to be a racist, but said that it was hurtful to hear him discuss with regard the reputations of two US senators—James O. Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia— who had supported racial segregation.


The coverage of this dispute varied dramatically along the political spectrum. A New York Times article used the exchange between Harris and Biden to question whether Biden could establish himself as sufficiently forward-looking to appease the reform-minded and leftist voters of the new Democratic Party. “Will the Democratic Party of 2020 — buoyed last year by the midterm success of a new generation of female and nonwhite candidates — really choose as its standard-bearer a center-left white man who joined the Senate during the Nixon administration? And if not, who will be the contender willing to challenge him most directly, with so many voters chiefly concerned about uniting to defeat President Trump?” the article asked.


Fox News also addressed the conflict between Biden and Harris, running the headline “Harris puts Biden's record on race on trial at debate; Trump predicts victory over Dems on this issue.” After recounting the candidates’ exchange, the article emphasized that Biden kept the focus on President Trump and on Biden’s connection to President Barack Obama. All 10 candidates on stage during the second debate said that their healthcare plan would cover illegal immigrants; Fox News reported that Trump feels that this position will help him to win reelection. 

Centrist news organizations such as NPR focused on fact-checking the debates. However, they also noted that many of the candidates hit hard against Trump’s immigration policies, and that Trump proclaimed the first debate to be “BORING!”