Dems debate electability, foreign policy, black voter outreach in Atlanta

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

November 21, 2019: Ten Democratic presidential candidates debated Wednesday night in Atlanta. Wayne Messam ended his presidential campaign. blank    blankblank   

 Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020, Saint Anselm College (November 13-18, 2019)
Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020, Quinnipiac University (November 13-17, 2019)

Notable Quotes of the Day

“This debate was not a competition, as the first debate outings last summer were, over who could sound most unhesitantly progressive, or most flamboyantly impatient with conventional politics or the incremental liberalism of Barack Obama. Instead it was a competition over who could sound most credibly in touch with the political, policy, and even psychic needs of a country they see as ready to move beyond the traumas of the Trump era.”

– John F. HarrisPolitico

 “The debate seemed like a series of bilateral boxing matches rather than a group debate. … The paired contests made for good television and easy to follow narratives that emphasized specific points of difference between candidates on wealth inequality, racial justice, foreign policy and gender equality. In a race between candidates who largely agree on issues, the event provided a window into substantive and stylistic distinctions between the candidates in a way that seemed productive.”

– Jennifer Victor, George Mason University professor of political science

Debate Night

Ten Democratic presidential candidates debated Wednesday night in Atlanta: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegTulsi GabbardKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBernie SandersTom SteyerElizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang

The candidates discussed impeachment, healthcare, tax policy, national security, climate change, voting rights, border policy, and abortion. Warren had the most speaking time at 13.5 minutes. Yang spoke the least at 6.8 minutes. 

For highlights from the debate for each candidate, click here.


  • BookerButtigiegKlobucharSteyer, and Yang are speaking with Rev. Al Sharpton about civil rights and racial equality at the National Action Network’s regional conference in Atlanta on Thursday.

  • Michael Bennet spoke about foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night.

  • Biden is hosting a town hall on Thursday in Greenwood, South Carolina.

  • Steve Bullock aired his latest ad on prosecutorial authority in Iowa markets during the fifth Democratic primary debate.

  • Julián Castro wrote an op-ed in Shondaland on Wednesday about why he chose to continue his campaign after not qualifying for the November debate.

  • John Delaney continues to campaign in Iowa on Thursday with stops in Des Moines and Estherville.

  • Wayne Messam ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. He wrote in a statement, “I will continue to be engaged during this 2020 cycle to ensure that we defeat Donald Trump. My state of Florida will be ground zero and I intend to be a factor to mobilize our state.”

  • Sanders is holding a rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Thursday.

  • Joe Sestak wrote about China’s 5G wireless infrastructure in an op-ed in the Harvard International Review.

  • Warren will discuss workers’ issues at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia on Thursday.

  • Marianne Williamson will campaign in Iowa on Thursday with stops in Fairfield and Des Moines.


  • Donald Trump bought a full-page ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution criticizing the Democratic candidates and used aerial advertising over Atlanta on Wednesday.

  • Bill Weld spoke at Northeastern University in Boston on Wednesday.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

Flashback: November 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders attended South Carolina’s Annual Blue Jamboree.blank