What Time & Channel Does the Sixth Democratic Debate Air Tonight?

Democratic Debate

Getty Democratic Debate

The sixth Democratic debate is tonight, Thursday, December 19, 2019. What time is the debate starting and how can you watch it on TV? Here’s a quick look at when you’ll need to tune in for the debate as candidates seek the Democratic nomination.

Debate Time & Channel


Debate Date: The sixth Democratic debate is taking place tonight: Thursday, December 19, 2019.

Debate Time: The debate will start at 8 p.m. Eastern (7 p.m. Central.) It’s scheduled to last for three hours, but it might last longer, even up to four hours.

On the West Coast, the debate will air simultaneously with the rest of the country (not on a delay like sometimes happens for West Coast airings.) This means the debate will begin at 5 p.m. Pacific.

According to TV Guide, the debate is scheduled to last three to four hours.

Debate Channel: Tonight’s debate will be broadcast on two TV channels. It will be on your local PBS station under the name “PBS NewsHour and Politico Democratic Debate.” The debate will also be aired on CNN as “CNN Democratic Debate: Los Angeles,” along with CNN International and CNN en Espanol.

To find out what channel PBS or CNN is on for you, click here to go to TV Guide’s listings. Then change the “Provider” (right under TV Listings) to your local provider. You’ll be able to scroll down to see what channel PBS or CNN is on for you.

You can also watch the debate in the live stream below.

WATCH LIVE: The PBS NewsHour/POLITICO Democratic DebateThe PBS NewsHour and POLITICO are hosting the sixth Democratic debate on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The debate will feature Andrew Yang, former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Live stream schedule: 3:00 p.m. ET/Noon…2019-12-12T17:41:10.000Z

Details About Tonight’s Debate

Because of more stringent debate requirements, the candidates in tonight’s debate are narrowed down to 7 from the previous debates that ranged from 12 to 20. In order to qualify for this debate, the candidates needed at least two polls at 6 percent or more in the four early nominating states, or four polls at 4 percent or more in early nominating states or national surveys. Candidates also needed 200,000 unique donors.

The candidates for tonight are:

  • Joe Biden, former Vice President
  • Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator
  • Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator
  • Tom Steyer, businessman
  • Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator
  • Andrew Yang, entrepreneur

There are two fewer candidates tonight than in the last debate. Beto O’Rourke withdrew from the race and Julian Castro did not qualify. Cory Booker also did not qualify, and neither did Michael Bloomberg. Kamala Harris did qualify, but she dropped out of the race. Tulsi Gabbard is still running, but chose not to attend the debate before it was known whether or not she qualified. She was one poll away.

The debate is being co-hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. The debate will take place in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. The moderators will be Judy Woodruff, Amna Nawaz and Yamiche Alcindor from PBS NewsHour, along with Tim Alberta from Politico, Deadline reported. According to Deadline, Alberta was a controversial choice because he had worked with the National Review, a conservative publication, before and had reported frequently on Republican topics in the past.

To qualify for tonight’s debate, candidates had to get at least 4 percent in four qualifying polls (nationally or in early voting states)  between October 16 and December 12, or at least 6 percent in two early state polls (that’s Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada.) They must also have donations from at least 200,000 unique donors, which includes 800 unique donors in at least 20 states.

The next debate after tonight’s will take place in Iowa on January 14, Politico reported.  That debate will be hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register. The debate will be held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It might be affected by an impeachment trial, however. An anonymous official said the DNC will work with anyone affected by the trial.

Then on February 7, ABC News and WMUR-TV and Apple News will host a debate in New Hampshire at St. Anselm College.

On February 19, NBC  News and MSNBC will co-host a debate with The Nevada Independent in Las Vegas.

On February 25, CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, partnering with Twitter, will host a debate at The Gaillard Center in South Carolina.

It’s not yet known if qualifications will be increased for the next debates in January and February. The rules might change once people start voting in primaries, Politico noted.

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