WASHINGTON – The first Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 election season has come and gone.
It took place on Wednesday night and featured 10 of the 24 candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump.
Many analysts said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who according to most polls is in third place, handily won the debate.
Tonight, the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his closest rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), will spar with eight other candidates in the second debate.
Like the first debate, it take place in Miami and will air on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo 9-11 p.m. EDT.
The second debate will be over in a matter of hours.
At that point, some of the lower-tier candidates may begin to reassess their electability.
TMN asked analysts to make predictions.
“I really see no reasonable prospects for winning or unique takes on issues and therefore a reason for a continued candidacy by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke,” said Richard Vatz, a professor of political persuasion at Towson University in Maryland.
But former Rep. Jason Altmire, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said the field is unlikely to shrink until this fall.
“The first wave of dropouts will come after the September 30 reporting period, when it will become clear who the serious contenders are — those who are raising money and faring well in the polls,” he said.
Altmire added: “At that point, the sitting statewide officials who are in the race but not doing well are likely to be the first wave to drop out. These could include Sens. [Cory] Booker (N.J), [Amy] Klobuchar (Minn.), and [Kirsten] Gillibrand (N.Y.), along with Gov. [Jay] Inslee (Wash.) if they fail to move up in the coming weeks. They are the ones with reputations to protect for their political careers.”
Both Altmire and Vatz were asked to define the central theme of Wednesday night’s debate.
“I think the central theme, save interruptions to the semi-contrary by Delaney, was who can be further to the left and who can give the American people more ‘free’ stuff, which costs the government but of which no one details the costs or for how it would be paid,” Vatz said.
Altmire had a different take.
“The biggest takeaway from last night’s debate was the overall reluctance of candidates to criticize President [Donald] Trump. It came up a few times, but candidates generally stuck to policy and ideas, suggesting they may believe that focusing their campaign messaging on only being anti-Trump is a losing strategy,” Altmire said.
Gov. Steve Bullock (Mont.), Rep. Seth Moulton (Mass.), Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam and former Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) were not included in the first debate and will not be included in the second debate because they did not meet the minimum threshold in polls.