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Ten Democrats Prepare to Debate

Given the recent heatwave, it may hard to imagine a cold February night in Iowa. But for ten people gathering this evening in sticky Houston, it is all they can think about. The race for president continues with the Democratic Primary Debate planned for tonight in Texas. The debate host, ABC, has provided a background on the ongoing battle for the Democratic nomination for president, why the debate tonight will feature 10 candidates instead of the recent 20, and the network is also prepared to provide post-debate coverage on which Democrat is most likely to fight their way onto the debate stage with their presumptive Republican opponent, President Donald Trump.

[Insert Picture 1. Caption: The historically large Democratic field is beginning to winnow as the Democratic National Committee starts requiring better poll numbers and donor support in order for candidates to qualify for debates. Source: ABC News]

It is not unusual to see debate discussions on social media during and after the debate. Increasingly, news programs seem happy to use questions from viewers posted in real time on social media as part of their inquisition for candidates. However, it may be interesting to see how social media is reacting to the Debate before it has even begun. Staff at the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center took to Social Studio to see how the debates are being discussed in the media before the sun sets on the debate venue.

A review of the results shows that Twitter minds think alike. While coverage among many news sources remains the same, discussions of the Debate have risen precipitously on Twitter over the past two days in anticipation of this evening’s event. If sentiment were an election, Democrats would have the edge; sentiment readings of the posts suggest that 56% have a positive response to the Democratic Debates while 44% do not. All of the opposition does not appear to be coming from the political right, however. Much attention is being given to Greenpeace protesters who have shut down part of a bridge in Houston as a way of bringing attention to their opposition to fossil fuel, long a source of wealth and political power in Texas. It will be interesting to see how this protest factors into discussions at tonight’s debate if it does at all.

[Insert Picture 2. Caption: The Houston Chronicle shares a story on social media about Greenpeace protesters shutting down a portion of a bridge in Houston as a way of voicing their opposition to continued fossil fuel use. Source: Twitter]

In addition to the protest, other terms are on the minds of would be debate watchers including socialism, anti-socialism, the economy, and of course, Donald J. Trump. It is too early to see if tonight’s debate will move the needle for one candidate or crater the chances of another. One thing for certain is that no matter the specific outcome of tonight’s contest, it moves the Democratic Party and the country towards the contest that every one is waiting for: the day when the Democrats choose a candidate to go head to head with the president. With a Washington Post poll showing voter enthusiasm as sky high, that match up promises to be one for the ages. Staff at the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center will continue to monitor the presidential campaign and other important stories as we move that much closer to Election Day 2020.

[Insert Picture 3. Caption: One of the people who will stand behind these podiums tonight will have a shot at becoming the 46th President of the United States. Source: ABC News]