2020 Elections

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his campaign for president on Friday morning, acknowledging that he was unable to successfully pitch his progressive ideas to the Democratic electorate.

"I feel like I have contributed all I can to this primary election. It's clearly not my time, so I'm going to end my presidential campaign," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

De Blasio's exit makes him the sixth candidate to drop out of the field, bringing the total number of Democrats seeking the nomination to 19.

There was something different about the Democratic debate this week, compared with the earlier rounds this summer. Something was happening that was hard to pin down, but it was palpable. Not the contrast of night and day, but perhaps the difference between dusk and dawn.

It's a critical difference, and it comes at a crucial time. Because the Trump presidency these candidates are competing to truncate has reached what may be a critical juncture. But more of that in a moment.

Heading into Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, the third this campaign season, we had five political questions.

Here are those questions and how they got answered:

Once again, health care took up a large chunk of a Democratic primary debate. Once again, there were fights over costs, coverage and whether the party is growing too extreme.

But this time, all of the front-runners were onstage together, providing the first opportunity for all of them to take direct aim at each other and their vastly differing health care plans. It made for some heated exchanges, putting "Medicare for All" supporters on defense. But it also showed clearly that some candidates are cautious not to criticize others' proposals too harshly.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gave a staunch defense of his gun control plan during Thursday's Democratic presidential primary debate, saying that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons.

Quoting the candidate's past comment about selling back AR-15s and AK-47s, moderator David Muir asked O'Rourke: "Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"

O'Rourke answered, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

Here's more of what he said:

More than 16 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, former Vice President Joe Biden is still struggling to explain his vote for the war and when his feelings about intervention evolved.

On Thursday night, during the third Democratic debate, which took place in Houston, Biden said he "never should have voted to give [President] Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do."

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September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

Donald Trump's immigration stances — family separation, a ban on immigrants from several majority-Muslim nations, the cancellation of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, to name a few — have given Democrats much to criticize as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

It means that the Democratic candidates are pretty uniform in coming out hard against the president on immigration. However, they differ on the particulars of what policies they would like to put into place instead and, in many cases, have not articulated what they would do specifically.

There are now less than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential nominating contest. So the spotlight is going to be even hotter on the 10 candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate in Houston. (Follow NPR's live analysis here.)

Elizabeth Warren is on the rise among Democratic voters, but she and other Democrats are less popular with the overall electorate, raising concerns about a bruising primary that could go on for the better part of the next year, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

The survey also finds President Trump continuing to struggle, with economic concerns seemingly starting to affect his standing, leaving a cloudy picture about the 2020 presidential election.

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