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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

How to Watch Tonight's Democratic Debate in South Carolina

We did it, folks. We’ve made it to the 10th Democratic debate of the 2020 campaign. The big 1-0, what a journey. And our reward for getting this far is two more hours of well-rehearsed talking points about policy, occasional crowd-pleasing zingers, and—if the last debate is anything to go by—almost zealous dunking on a certain billionaire. (Spoiler alert: probably not Tom Steyer.) But I digress.

Tonight's debate takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, a few days before the state’s primary on Saturday. It’s also the last time candidates take the debate stage before Super Tuesday on March 3, when voters in 14 states and one territory head to the polls. CBS News is hosting the event along with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and the festivities are scheduled to kick off at 8 pm Eastern time (5 pm Pacific).

Who’s Debating Whom

Similar to last week’s debate in Nevada, candidates could qualify for tonight’s event by meeting either a delegate threshold—that is, by getting at least one delegate from any of the states to vote so far—or by reaching polling thresholds released by the Democratic National Committee earlier this month.

On Tuesday morning, the DNC and CBS News announced that seven candidates qualified for the South Carolina debate. They are, in alphabetical order:

  • Joe Biden, former vice president
  • Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York
  • Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Amy Klobuchar, US senator from Minnesota
  • Bernie Sanders, US senator from Vermont
  • Tom Steyer, billionaire investor
  • Elizabeth Warren, US senator from Massachusetts

The last remaining candidate in the primary race, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, did not qualify.

It hasn’t even been a full week since the last debate, but a lot has happened in that time! Bloomberg’s first debate performance was less than stellar, and some of his campaign’s strategies to build support online have raised a few eyebrows. Then there’s the specter of foreign interference, as news broke late last week about Russia supporting the Sanders campaign. Watch out for anyone trying to spin those reports in their favor tonight—that’s exactly what Russia wants.

Perhaps it would be better for the candidates to focus on issues like education, trade policies, and how they would propose to lead the country in the event of oh, say, a new disease epidemic. But with Sanders solidifying his status as front-runner after the Nevada caucus last Saturday, he’s now the candidate to beat—and to target in what have been increasingly contentious debates.

How to Watch

Unlike the presidential debates, which are simulcast across all the major networks, primary debates—for either party—air on a rotating cast of news organizations. The tenth Democratic primary debate is being hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Charleston, South Carolina.

The moderators for the evening will be Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King, CBS News announced, with Margaret Brennan, Major Garrett, and Bill Whitaker also posing questions at different points in the evening. Viewers could also submit questions for tonight via Twitter using the hashtag #DemDebate. There will be no opening or closing statements from the candidates, just the usual question and answer format. The whole thing is expected to last two hours.

The debate kicks off at 8 pm Eastern (5 pm Pacific) on CBS stations; check your local listings. If you’ve cut the cord, don’t worry—there are still plenty of options to watch:

  • You can watch a free livestream of the debate on the CBS News website, on mobile devices via the CBS News app (for iOS and Android), and on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • The debate will be available on CBSN, CBS News’ free streaming service, for smart TV devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. (CBS News lists all the available devices here.)
  • You can also watch the debate on CBS All Access, the network’s subscription streaming service.
  • CBS is also available with a paid subscription to streaming services like FuboTV, YouTube TV, and Hulu.

After tonight, there are two more Democratic primary planned. The next one is scheduled to take place on March 15 in Phoenix.

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