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2020 Dems prepping for crucial first debate
06:20 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Tonight, 10 challengers for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination will face off in the first debate of the season. After months of campaign coverage, the two-hour event will finally give voters a chance to watch Democratic candidates exchange views on a variety of issues, from health care and immigration to taxes and climate change. While they will likely spend a fair amount of time attacking the policies of President Donald Trump, the debate will also be an opportunity for candidates to draw contrasts with each other and tout their signature issues in front of a national audience.

For Jay Inslee, tonight will be a chance to lay out details of his climate agenda, while Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro will likely spend time discussing immigration, which has dominated much of their talking points on the campaign trail. Cory Booker has made criminal justice reform a signature issue of his campaign, while former Maryland congressman John Delaney may try to differentiate his plan to ensure all Americans have healthcare from Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All proposal.

Among those on the stage this evening in Miami, Warren leads the pack according to CNN’s latest polling. Overall, she is currently neck and neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for second place behind former vice president Joe Biden (both of whom will participate in tomorrow’s debate).

Other notables include Booker and O’Rourke, who according to a recent Monmouth University poll, are each polling at 2%. The rest of the pack likely see this as their moment to break out from the 1% (or, in some cases, 0%) rut.

Here’s a look at some of the policies and issues these candidates have promoted during their campaigns and topics they’re likely to touch on this evening.

Candidates are listed in order according to their current poll numbers.

Elizabeth Warren

The notoriously detail-oriented Massachusetts Senator has rolled out a broad set of policy initiatives that rival any of her opponents in terms of scope. On the trail, Warren has talked taxes, health care and climate change, with a focus on specifics. Warren’s wonkish approach has contributed to her steady rise in the polls in recent weeks, and distinguished her as the candidate with “a plan for that.”


Warren has repeatedly pushed for a wealth tax on people whose net worth exceeds $50 million. Over 10 years, Warren claims, the tax would generate some $2.75 trillion for the government.

She says the tax would pay for a number of her other initiatives, including universal pre-school, universal college and more.

“You’ve been paying a wealth tax forever. It’s a property tax that you’ve been paying on your biggest asset,” Warren said. “All I’m proposing is for the biggest fortunes in this country to include the stock portfolio, the diamonds, and the yachts.”

Health care

Warren has previously supported Medicare for All or a Medicaid buy-in as a means for achieving universal coverage. But at an Aurora, Colorado, town hall in April, and in more recent campaign stops, Warren has argued that Medicare should be the way to move forward with universal coverage.

“Lots of different pathways, but we know where we’re headed. Where we’re headed is 100% coverage for all of all families at the lowest possible cost,” Warren said, “and Medicare is the way to do this.”