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Democratic Debates Set Viewership Records, Yet Don’t Top Trump’s

During the first round of debates, viewership hit 15.3 million from NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo, while night two brought in a record-breaking 18.1 million.


This year’s first two debates hit a record-setting number of viewers for Democratic primaries on June 27.

During the first round of debates on June 26, viewership hit 15.3 million combined from NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo. This number does not include live-stream viewers. During the second round of debates on June 27, the viewership hit a record high, with 18.1 million viewers across the three networks that aired it.

Prior to the Wednesday night debates, NBC executives said they would be surprised to hit 10 million viewers, as debates usually don’t attract voters until later in the election season. This relatively large audience says a lot about what’s going on with Democratic primary voters this year: they care.

While these viewership numbers are not as large as the viewership turnout for President Trump on the Republican primary debate stage in August 2015 — which reached 24 million on its largest night on Fox News — these numbers are record breaking for Democratic primary debates.

The results of these debates are pouring in. Here’s the general consensus.

1. Kamala Harris Won Round 2

A general consensus in the mainstream media is that Sen. Kamala Harris won Round 2 of the Democratic debates. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight showed that Harris’s Twitter following grew by 59,588. the largest increase in Twitter followers in the Democratic field.

However, Harris is still polling at essentially the same number of primary supporters as before the debate. According to RealClearPolitics, Harris was polling at 7.0 percent on June 25, before the debates. On June 30, after all the debates, Harris had only raised in the poll by .08.

Although Harris may have gained attention in the larger mainstream media and a following from more Americans, it seems that Twitter followers plus attention from late-night TV shows aren’t actually having an effect on Harris’s poll numbers or electability, at least so far.

2. Marianne Williamson Is Gaining a Republican Following

Jeff Roe, the man who ran Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted that Republicans should donate $1 to Marianne Williamson’s campaign to keep her on the debate stage. Republicans on Twitter loved the idea.

While some are making the case that Williamson is just what the Democratic Party needs, those on the right want comic relief in the dry Democratic debates and are funding Williamson to keep her on the debate stage.

3. Trump Speculates that He’s Already Won 2020 

During the second round of Democratic debates, all 10 Democratic nominees said their socialized health plans would include fully taxpayer-sponsored health-care for illegal immigrants. Taxpayers and those with health insurance already pay for health services for illegal immigrants through their unpaid emergency room visits and Medicaid if they are the parents of a child born in the United States (and thus automatically granted U.S. citizenship under current laws, which includes welfare eligibility).

Despite cheers from the Democratic audience, Trump thinks promising taxpayer-sponsored health care for illegal immigrants is not a winning message.

Missed the debates? Don’t worry! Watch them below.

Here’s the June 26 debate with: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren.

Here’s the June 27 debate with: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.