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Democratic debate: Who won? Candidates clash over healthcare, immigration, impeachment and more

Candidates clash over immigration, gun violence and the economy

Democratic debate: Best moments of night one

The race to the White house has officially begun, with the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami now over.

Tonight's showdown featured: Cory Booker, Bill de Blasio, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard​, Jay Inslee​, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan and Elizabeth Warren.

The candidates clashed over immigration, gun violence and the economy - as well as getting in a number of digs at President Donald Trump.

The second 2020 debate will take place on Thursday evening with the remaining ten candidates having their chance to prove why they should be America's next president.

Follow how the debate progressed in the liveblog below

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's live coverage ahead of the first Democratic debate tonight, when 10 candidates will bid for the chance to take on Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

While there's still a long way to go until the 2020 Democratic candidate is chosen, tonight's debate represents the first major opportunity for the candidates and their plans to be tested and scrutinised while giving voters an opportunity to see how each of the hopefuls holds up under pressure.

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 13:45

Tonight's debate, held in the crucial swing state of Florida, will feature the following candidates: 

  • Cory Booker - New Jersey senator
  • John Delaney - former Maryland congressman
  • Elizabeth Warren - Massachusetts senator
  • Beto O’Rourke - former Texas congressman
  • Bill de Blasio - New York City mayor
  • Tim Ryan - Ohio congressman
  • Julian Castro - former Housing secretary
  • Amy Klobuchar - Minnesota senator
  • Tulsi Gabbard - Hawaii congresswoman
  • Jay Inslee - Washington governor
Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 13:56

The moderators will try to cover a range of issues tonight, but the growing concerns about conditions in government camps holding undocumented child migrants, as well as Trump's hardline immigration policies, are likely to feature heavily.

All eyes will be on Elizabeth Warren in particular following the top-polling candidate's announcement that she will spend the day visiting the Homestead migrant detention centre in Florida, after she was asked to do so by an audience member at a town hall question and answer session in the state.

Meanwhile, the devastating picture of the bodies of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, who were drowned in the Rio Grande attempting to reach the US from El Salvador, has galvanised international attention to the horrific reality for those trying to make the perilous passage to the US.

The Independent has taken the decision to publish the image in an effort to illustrate the human cost of the Trump administration’s approach towards immigration and those families desperately attempting to enter the country in search of a better life.

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 14:18

Among the candidates set to appear this evening is Tulsi Gabbard, the 38-year-old Hawaii congresswoman and former army medic whose campaign's central theme is an opposition to foreign wars.

My colleague Clark Mindock spoke to her last week about her plans to take on Trump in 2020 - take a look at his exclusive interview here:

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 14:51

For those of you planning to watch tonight's event unfold, the debate kicks off on Wednesday night at 9pm EST (2am on Thursday in the UK) and will be available on NBC News, the media partner for the first round of debates.

The debates will also be streamed on, and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 15:10

Carli Pierson meanwhile warns the Democrats that a middle-of-the-road candidate like Joe Biden or Kamala Harris will cost them in 2020.

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 15:32

Here's a quick refresher on the contenders vying to take on Trump in 2020: 

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 15:52

One keen viewer of the debates is likely to be the President himself.

He may be airborne during tonight's showdown as he travels to Japan for the G20 summit, but that won't stop him keeping an eye on proceedings.

The TVs on Air Force One are certain to be tuned to the debate and the hi-tech gadgetry on board the aircraft means he'll be able to give a running assessment of the candidates' performances via his social media platform of choice, Twitter.

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 16:18

Some of tonight's presidential hopefuls have blamed the Trump administration for the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border, in response to a widely shared photograph of a drowned El Salvadorean man and his 23-month-old daughter.

Read more from Zamira Rahim here.

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 16:32

All eyes on Elizabeth Warren

Recent polls suggest Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are the main contenders for the Democratic nomination, so Warren's position as the only frontrunner appearing tonight gives her the opportunity to solidify her increasingly formidable and policy-heavy campaign.

The progressive senator has become a favourite along the campaign trail thanks in part to her unending policy proposals, with “I’ve got a plan for that” becoming her unofficial slogan. 

However, paired with a group of candidates like Beto O’Rourke — who has failed to rise in the polls after initially starting out as a fundraising juggernaut — and others desperate for break-out moments, Ms Warren could find herself tasked with staying above the fray while appearing like a top contender against Mr Biden or the other top candidates appearing the following night. 

Tom Batchelor26 June 2019 17:05

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