How Candidates Qualify for 2020 Democratic Debates

The DNC released its official rules for how candidates can qualify for the first two Democratic debates for the 2020 Presidential Primary. It’s important as Progressives to ensure these rules are fair and upheld equally for all candidates. In 2015, the DNC excluded Larry Lessig from the debates. He claimed then that the party changed the rules on him at the last minute.

However, Tom Perez said in a statement he is, “committed to running an open and transparent primary process,”. He went on to say that includes updating the threshold for candidates to qualify for a spot on the debate stage. He also hopes the rules place a greater focus on grassroots support.

Two Ways to Qualify for Democratic Debates

The DNC rules provide two pathways for candidates to qualify for the 2020 Democratic debates. They also stated a number of additional rules outlining how to deal with too many candidates and how many debates there will be.

Qualify with donations

Candidates qualify for the Democratic debates if they receive donations from at least 200 people in at least 20 total states. However, the total number of unique people donating to the campaign must add up to at least 65,000 people.

Qualify with polling

Alternatively, candidates qualify for the first two Democratic debates by receiving 1% in three seperate national or nominating state polls.

Other Rules to Know

The lineups and order of candidates on stage for each debate will be chosen at random. They will not be based on polling.

If more than twenty candidates surpass the minimum requirements, candidates who accomplish both will be given preference. After that polling averages will be considered. The DNC has set the limit at twenty candidates total on the same stage.

When are the First Debates?

There are no specific dates set, but the first two Democratic debates will take place in June and July. There will be 12 debates in total over the 2020 Democratic primary season. Six debates will take place in 2019 and six more will happen in 2020. MSNBC and others will hosts the first debate in June amd CNN will host the second debate in July.


Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

1 Comment

  • Here in 2019 United States / U.S has had it’s magnification like never before with me running for President of the United States Of America also. It’s been togetherness with the usage of the word us. Pertaining to my fellow candidates my fellow American Citizens. Terrill TC!

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