Day One of the Second Democratic Debates

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Erin Schaff/The New York Times


We ran the numbers: There are 3431 news articles covering this topic. 49% (1674) are left leaning, 33% (1133) center, 18% (624) right leaning.


On Tuesday, ten of the Democratic candidates who will be seeking the presidential nomination went head-to-head in a CNN-moderated debate. Taking the stage were two of the frontrunners, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as Pete Buttigieg, Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, Tim Ryan, Marianne Williamson, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke. The debate was notably policy-centric compared to June’s Democratic debates, with candidates articulating their positions on healthcare reform, immigration, gun violence, race, and many other hot-button issues. Some thought that the two biggest candidates on stage, Warren and Sanders, would spend the night attacking one another. However, as personal friends and fellow progressives, they teamed up to defend against criticism from the many moderates sharing the stage with them.

A left-leaning New York Times rundown of the debate’s highlights focuses on this dynamic–featuring a sub-headline announcing “Warren and Sanders owned the night.” A Washington Post article (also left-leaning) reports, “the realists attacked the revolutionaries, and the revolutionaries won.“

Interestingly, right-leaning sources such as Fox News also fixated on the dynamic between Warren and Sanders. A Fox News article mocked the debate–choosing to focus on celebrities’ humorous pickings of democratic candidates.

The Warren-Sanders dynamic also dominates coverage by centrist media, with an NPR article article beginning with the lines “Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Detroit was widely expected to pit the two leading progressives in the field against each other. Instead, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had each other's backs in fending off the other eight aspirants onstage.”

On Wednesday, ten more Democratic candidates will go head-to-head in Detroit; we’ll update you about how the media covers the second round of the 2020 Democratic candidates’ battle for the nomination.