This is the first time that candidates will be able to draw contrasts with their rivals in a face-to-face setting.
Here is how to watch:
When are the first debates?
The first pair of Democratic debates is taking place on Wednesday and Thursday in Miami from 9 to 11 p.m. EDT on NBC.
Get ready for the debates all day on CNN.com and then stay with us for real-time news, analysis and fact-checking during and after the debates. CNN will have live TV programming starting at 11 p.m. EDT breaking down the biggest moments and story lines from the first debates.
What are the lineups?
The Wednesday debate will feature:
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas
- Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York
- Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
- Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
The Thursday debate will feature:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
- Sen. Kamala Harris of California
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
- Author Marianne Williamson
- Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
- Businessman Andrew Yang
- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
Who didn't make the cut?
Three Democratic hopefuls -- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida -- did not qualify for the first contests. Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania entered the race too late to qualify for this initial set of debates.
How were the debate stages decided?
Candidates had to qualify for the first debates by either receiving at least 1% support in three polls from an approved list of pollsters or receiving campaign contributions from 65,000 unique donors, including 200 donors each from 20 different states.
NBC divided the 20 qualifying candidates into two groups: those with polling averages at 2% or higher and those whose polling averages are under 2%. NBC then did a random selection, dividing up the top tier and lower tier into the two nights.
What are the rules for the debates?
Candidates have one minute to respond to questions and 30 seconds for follow-ups, according to NBC News. Each two-hour debate will be divided into five parts with four commercial breaks.
Candidates will not have the opportunity to make opening remarks but will be given time for closing statements.
Catch up on the candidates
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- 'Every one of the decisions is her decision:' Inside Elizabeth Warren's policy factory
- What's behind Elizabeth Warren's rise? This wall of letters at her campaign HQ offers some clues
- Elizabeth Warren's rise opens a new chapter in the progressive primary
- Elizabeth Warren flew out of DC's most notorious airport gate. Here's what happened.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke
- Beto O'Rourke proposes 'war tax' as part of veterans' plan
- Beto O'Rourke proposes LGBTQ protections in plan that undoes Trump policies
- Beto O'Rourke is polling worse than ever
- Beto O'Rourke 2.0 looks a lot like Beto O'Rourke 1.0
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
- Cory Booker slams 1994 crime bill as 'awful' and 'a mistake'
- Cory Booker steps into the spotlight with forceful rebuke of Joe Biden
- Cory Booker is using an Oscar-nominated documentary to boost his 2020 bid
- Can love and unity beat Trump in 2020? Cory Booker wants to find out
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro
- Iowa Democrats have struggled to organize Latinos. Julián Castro is trying to change that.
- Julián Castro on new policing plan: 'The system is broken'
- Julián Castro unveils immigration plan that rolls back Trump, Bush-era laws
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
- Tulsi Gabbard won't say whether Syria's Assad is a war criminal
- Tulsi Gabbard once touted working for anti-gay group that backed conversion therapy
- Gabbard says deploying to the Middle East changed her views on LGBT rights
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
- Jay Inslee proposes ending fossil fuel subsidies in latest proposal to combat climate crisis
- Jay Inslee calls out Joe Biden on combating climate change: 'We have to live in the real world here'
- Inslee: DNC rejecting climate change debate is 'extremely disappointing'
- Inslee unveils plan to combat climate change through foreign policy
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- Klobuchar lists actions she would take in first 100 days as president
- Amy Klobuchar's novel pitch for the Democratic nomination: Pragmatism
- Amy Klobuchar defends her staff treatment, says toughness needed when dealing with Putin
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Why New Yorkers mock Bill de Blasio
- The math is against Bill de Blasio 2020
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces 2020 presidential run
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
- John Delaney searches for a middle lane in a crowded 2020 Democratic field
- John Delaney booed by California Democrats after criticizing 'Medicare for All'
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
Former Vice President Joe Biden
- 'Barack picked him for a reason': South Carolina voters stand by Joe Biden after comments about segregationist senators
- Inside Joe Biden's abortion stance reversal
- 'He's going to have to earn it': Can Joe Biden hold on to his place as Democratic front-runner?
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren clash escalates in contest for progressive champion
- Bernie Sanders unveils plan to cancel all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt
- Bernie Sanders makes the case for democratic socialism as Trump attacks and moderate Democrats worry
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
- Pete Buttigieg confronts leadership test in impassioned South Bend townhall
- Under Pete Buttigieg, racial tension has long plagued South Bend's Police Department
- Pete Buttigieg seizes on top-tier status with 2nd-quarter fundraising blitz
Sen. Kamala Harris of California
- Kamala Harris touts prosecutor past as a strength: 'I know how to take on predators'
- Kamala Harris unveils immigration plan to expand deferred action, use executive action to provide pathway to citizenship
- Kamala Harris' secret weapon: The sisters of AKA
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Kirsten Gillibrand is campaigning by living her best life. So why aren't voters responding?
- Kirsten Gillibrand embraces Fox News host calling her not 'very polite'
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
- With viral speech as his introduction, Sen. Michael Bennet tests the waters in Iowa
- Michael Bennet links conservation with global warming in new climate plan
Author Marianne Williamson
- Marianne Williamson moves to Des Moines in bid for the Iowa caucuses
- Marianne Williamson apologizes, says she misspoke in calling vaccines 'draconian'
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
Businessman Andrew Yang
- Andrew Yang announces he will pay a second voter $1,000 a month
- Andrew Yang: We're undergoing the greatest economic transformation in our history
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper