national politics

Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Detroit was widely expected to pit the two leading progressives in the field against each other. Instead, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had each other's backs in fending off the other eight aspirants onstage.

They gave as good as they got, and emerged at least as strong as either was going in. That was particularly good news for Sanders, who had been perceived as ceding ground to Warren in recent months.

Ideological lines were drawn early and often during Tuesday night's presidential primary debate between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential candidates are proposing lots of progressive policies in this election. And while those policies may resonate with the party base, some of those ideas are not popular with a general election electorate, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Ross Perot, the colorful Texas billionaire businessman who ran twice for president, first as an independent and then as a third-party candidate, died early Tuesday at his home in Dallas. He was 89.

Perot, who had battled leukemia, was surrounded by family members when he died, his family said in a statement.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls debated this week about everything from healthcare to higher education to gun violence.

Notably missing from both nights — Latin America policy. Four hours of debate in Miami — the gateway to the Americas — and not a mention of Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua (what the Trump administration has called the "troika of tyranny").

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.

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.

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.

Sherrilyn Cabrera / WLRN

Presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington visited Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood Tuesday morning on the eve of the first Democratic debate. His main focus: climate change.

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.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

"I've got a plan." That's how Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren starts a lot of her sentences. It's also what many of her fans say resonates with them.

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.

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.

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