How Long Is the Democratic Debate Tonight? When Does It End?


Tonight is the latest Democratic debate, this time featuring Bernie Sanders vs Joe Biden alone on stage. So just how long is the Democratic debate tonight? It’s scheduled to be two hours and 15 minutes in length, but it could go longer. Read on for more details, and see an embedded video for watching the debate live right here later tonight.

The Debate Is Scheduled to Last Two Hours & 15 Minutes

Tonight’s Democratic debate begins at 8 p.m. Eastern and is scheduled to end at 10:15 p.m. Eastern. (That’s 7-9:15 p.m. Central, 6-8:15 p.m. Mountain, and 5-7:15 p.m. Pacific.) But there’s a chance it could go on a little longer, so don’t be surprised if it does. In the past, some two-hour debates have already gone over the estimated time during this campaign cycle.

According to the TV Guide listing, the CNN broadcast runs from 8 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Eastern.

After the debate, CNN has a post-debate show scheduled until midnight called CNN Debate Post Analysis. If the debate went a little long, it could easily spill over into this programming schedule.

About Tonight’s Debate

The debate is being co-hosted by CNN, Univision, and CHC BOLD.

The candidates for tonight are:

  • Joe Biden, former Vice President
  • Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator

Moderators for the debate include Dana Bash, Jake Tapper, and Illia Calderon. Calderon took the place of Jorge Ramos, who was exposed to someone diagnosed with coronavirus.

Candidates qualified if they met a polling or delegate threshold. Tulsi Gabbard is still running and has two delegates but did not meet either threshold. 

There will likely be a lot of things to discuss tonight, not the least of which is the coronavirus concern. The debate was supposed to be held at a large venue in Arizona without a live audience, after the audience was asked not to come due to COVID-19 worries. Then the debate was moved to a TV studio in Washington, D.C. because of concerns about the coronavirus. The debate is taking place at the CNN Washington Bureau, CBS News reported. It’s still going to happen, despite concerns.

Bernie Sanders had a fireside chat the night before the debate, in which he talked about his strategy for the upcoming debate.

Bernie Sanders previews debate strategy against Joe Biden in 'fireside chat' | FULL REMARKSIn a "fireside chat," Sen. Bernie Sanders previewed how he'll take on Joe Biden in tomorrow's Democratic presidential debate.2020-03-15T00:53:14.000Z

Joe Biden tried to host a virtual town hall about coronavirus concerns on March 14, but technical difficulties caused a lot of issues. At one point he walked off camera while answering a question.

What’s interesting is that he actually seemed to be moving back to face the camera right when the video was taken down. Viewers couldn’t see what was happening after that.

The next debate is supposed to take place in April. CNN has placed restrictions on non-essential travel for employees, so only people who need to be present will actually be working at the debate tonight. There won’t be any additional people, and there won’t be anyone in the audience to clap, cheer, or boo for the candidates’ responses.

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