2020 presidential election

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been converging on the Homestead shelter for migrant children this week. On Friday, several more tried to get in after Thursday night’s debates at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

In a Fortune Article released earlier this week, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam blasted the Democratic National Committee’s system he claims prevented him from qualifying for the first 2020 Democratic presidential debates. 

Messam, the son of Jamaican immigrants, grew up in rural South Bay, Florida. His father cut sugarcane as a contract farm worker, and his mother fed migrant field workers. 

Wayne Messam
Sam Turken / WLRN

After failing to raise the funds to qualify, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam was not part of this week's Democratic debates in Miami. 

But Messam is continuing to run his presidential campaign from South Florida.

In Miami, De Blasio Said Four Words In Spanish. Slight Problem: They Were Che’s Words

Jun 28, 2019
PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio became the latest presidential candidate to flash a little español this week when, during a political rally Thursday, he pulled out a Spanish phrase he thought might motivate workers striking at Miami International Airport.

But instead of endearing himself to South Florida’s Hispanic diaspora, an apparently unwitting de Blasio uttered a revolutionary rallying cry deeply associated with Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution and a man viewed by hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles as a sociopath and mass murderer.

When Sen. Kamala Harris of California launched her presidential campaign in January and drew a crowd of 20,000 in Oakland, Calif., she raised some eyebrows about the potential for her candidacy.

But during the early stretch of this Democratic primary campaign, Harris struggled to catch on or stand apart — until Thursday night.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California directly challenged former Vice President Joe Biden over his past opposition to federal busing policy, in a heated exchange on the second night of the first Democratic presidential primary debate.

This issue, from early in Biden's lengthy career in Congress, has hung over his campaign for president, creating a clear target for challengers to his front-runner status.

Joe Raedle / Getty

At the top of hour two of the first Democratic debate, the questions turned to guns, an especially wrenching issue for voters in Florida, who experienced the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Julian Castro, former secretary of housing and urban development and former mayor of San Antonio, praised “the activists of Parkland, the folks from Moms Demand [Action], who have risen up across the United States.”

If the overarching question heading into the first debate of the 2020 presidential primary for Democratic voters was "Who can you see as president up there?" it's not certain they got a clear answer.

Rather than fireworks — toward each other or President Trump — the candidates took a cautious approach. Will that be the approach on Night 2, Thursday night, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden on the same stage?

Here are five takeaways from Wednesday night's debate:

1. Elizabeth Warren was consistent.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren controlled the debate early with a progressive policy pitch. She and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said they would eliminate private insurance in favor of "Medicare-for-all." Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was aggressive on immigration, backing decriminalizing illegal border crossings.

Daniel A. Varela / Miami Herald

The new must-visit South Florida landmark for Democratic presidential hopefuls is a place so exclusive and secretive that most have no shot of getting through the front door.

Aaron Sánchez-Guerra / WLRN

Tuesday morning's Miami kickoff for the Latinos for Trump Coalition was just like most other rallies supporting the president's reelection — except much of the messaging was done in Spanish.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Beto O’Rourke will be among 20 Democratic presidential candidates debating this week in Miami. But on Tuesday night, he got the stage to himself.

DAVID SANTIAGO / MIAMI HERALD

As the nation prepares for the first Democratic debates, Miami drivers should prepare for the traffic it will bring.

Although the debates start at 9 p.m. at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, road closures will begin hours before that.

On both Wednesday and Thursday, Biscayne Boulevard between Northeast 13th and Northeast 14th streets will be completely closed in both directions from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Miami police said. All traffic heading north and south will be rerouted.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET Thursday

A former vice president, four senators, a representative, a former governor, a mayor and a pair of entrepreneurs walk onto a stage ... where 10 other candidates tried to get their messages across to voters on Wednesday night.

Millions of television viewers are getting their first extended look at the historically sprawling Democratic primary field over two nights in Miami this week.

MIAMI HERALD

The Adrienne Arsht Center is one of the biggest performing arts centers in the United States, located in a ritzy downtown Miami neighborhood that will be the center of attention when 20 Democrats running for president debate for the first time this week.

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