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Danielle Kurtzleben

At the Democratic presidential debate this week, voters got a preview of how Democrats will handle what for now is an uphill battle against President Trump.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 candidates will take the Democratic debate stage to talk about a wide range of policy topics. And 20 candidates times dozens of policies equals a lot to keep track of.

It's true that, these being Democratic candidates, there's a lot they all agree on — taking action on climate change, for example, or improving the health care system. But this debate is the first time we'll see them next to each other, coming into direct conflict over what, exactly, they disagree on.

The lineups are set for the first Democratic presidential primary debates.

Among the debate matchups: Former Vice President Joe Biden, currently leading in primary polls nationally, will face off against Vermont senator and 2016 candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will face New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday the list of presidential candidates who will take the stage at the first primary debates, on June 26 and 27.

To accommodate the massive field of candidates, the debates will be spread over two nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage for each two-hour debate.

Here are the candidates who the DNC said have made the cut, in alphabetical order:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker*

In 2005, bankruptcy was on the rise and had been for years.

Lawmakers were pondering why, exactly, that was happening — and what, if anything, they should do about it — when two future presidential rivals squared off over a bankruptcy overhaul bill that would restrict who could write off their personal debts.

Updated 2:07 p.m.

Bernie Sanders didn't have his usual adoring crowds at his Wednesday campaign stop. That's because he spoke to Walmart shareholders at their annual meeting.

At a time when House Democrats are battling the president for his tax returns, new disclosures provide some basic information about his finances. For instance: His income was at least in the hundreds of millions last year.

Alice Rivlin, former President Bill Clinton's budget director who overcame sexism to become the first woman to serve in that role, has died of cancer, the Brookings Institution confirmed Tuesday. She was 88.

Her name may not be widely known outside of Washington, but she had a hand in five decades of the nation's economic policy. At the peak of her power, she was one of the most influential and respected nonelected officials in the country.

Workers on the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign have ratified a union contract with management, which says it is the first campaign union contract at the presidential level.

The campaign and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 — with whom the workers are affiliated — both announced the agreement on Wednesday.

Jill Biden is accomplished in her own right — she holds two master's degrees and a doctoral degree. But then, her husband is the former vice president and a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination for 2020.

And so while she has maintained her own career, she has also taken her husband's aspirations in stride.

Updated at 3:41 p.m. ET

Talk to enough Democratic voters this campaign season, and you hear a certain idea over and over.

"I'd love to vote for a woman. I'm not sure that any of the women candidates will make it to the top in the way that I think Biden and Beto will," said Patti Rutka, who turned out to a March event in New Hampshire for former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and the mayor of a small, majority-white city, came to New York this week to appeal to black voters.

"I believe an agenda for black Americans needs to include five things that all of us care about: homeownership, entrepreneurship, education, health and justice," the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the audience at the National Action Network's conference.

Beto O'Rourke got lots of attention from his campaign kickoff in Keokuk, Iowa. And thanks to some of his comments, not all of that attention was good.

At the start of his speech, O'Rourke referenced a call from his wife, Amy, "who's back in El Paso, Texas, where she is raising, sometimes with my help, Ulysses, who's 12 years old, Molly, who's 10, and their little brother, Henry, who is 8 years old."

To some Democratic voters, that seemed like a flip acknowledgment that he was handing off parenting duties to his wife while he pursued his political dreams.

Minnesotans like Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She was re-elected in the purple state in 2018 by 24 points, and in January Morning Consult polling found her to be one of the most popular senators in the country.

The Bernie Sanders who's running for president in 2020 is not the same Bernie Sanders who ran in 2016.

Yes, he has many of the same policy positions, and many of his 2016 supporters are enthusiastically backing him again. But the Vermont independent senator is no longer the insurgent taking on a political Goliath with huge name recognition. Now, he is the candidate with high name recognition, taking on candidates who are introducing themselves to the American people again.

Sen. Cory Booker talks about politics in grand, even spiritual terms.

Speaking to NPR about his run for the presidency, the New Jersey Democrat used phrases like "coalitions of conscience," "sacred honor" and "courageous empathy."

But those hopeful ideas pose a major challenge for Booker: how to translate his aggressively optimistic view of American democracy into any sort of policy action, especially with such gaping differences between the two parties on a wide range of policy areas.

Bernie Sanders is back, but one of his signature policies never left.

In 2015, he introduced Medicare-for-all to many Democrats for the first time. Since Sanders' first run for president, that type of single-payer health care system has become a mainstream Democratic proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that he wants the Senate to vote on a massive plan to fight climate change.

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Whether it's a deadly cold snap or a hole under an Antarctic glacier or a terrifying new report, there seem to be constant reminders now of the dangers that climate change poses to humanity.

It seemed like a mistake: When President Trump touted women's gains in the job market during his State of the Union address Tuesday, it sent the contingent of Democratic women to their feet in enthusiastic applause.

Many of those women, after all, had new jobs as a result of a record-smashing midterm election that was widely seen as a rebuke of Trump. And their white attire, in observation of the 100th anniversary of Congress voting to grant women the right to vote, highlighted their celebration even more.

It just might be time to start thinking about a recession.

Not a recession in the immediate future, of course. The latest jobs report was unexpectedly strong, and the economy is growing at a good clip.

New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik is deeply worried about her party.

"We are facing a crisis level of Republican women in Congress," Stefanik said on Thursday, noting that there are only 13 Republican women in the U.S. House, down from 23 last session.

Stefanik stepped down as House Republicans' recruitment head last month. But with a new group she's launching, dedicated to boosting women candidates, she still has top Republicans' full attention.

If a great book is a sumptuous meal, the campaign book is a bottle of Soylent.

A novel by Nabokov, a play by Shakespeare, even a pulpy airport crime novel — these satisfy the basic urge to read a story with beginning, middle and end; to watch characters interact and to understand their complex motivations. These stories are there for the joy of consumption.

Ashley Nickloes is a busy woman. She's working toward her master's degree. She has four living children (she specified that a fifth died after a preterm birth). And when I caught her, she was in St. Louis, doing simulator training for her role as a pilot in the Air National Guard.

"You know, you can only be busy a hundred percent of the time," she laughed. "You get enough sleep when you're dead."

On top of all that, she also ran for Congress in Tennessee last year, but lost in the primary.

When Bernie Sanders went on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert a week ago, he took a victory lap for his agenda.

Democrat Lucy McBath narrowly flipped Georgia's 6th Congressional District this year, winning it by two percentage points.

Jon Ossoff knows better than most how big of a victory that is. He also knows it will be a battle for Democrats to hold this suburban Atlanta seat.

In her new book, Becoming, former first lady Michelle Obama writes about the profound frustration of being misunderstood — of being pegged as an "angry black woman." She writes about the discomfort of being a hyperaccomplished woman only recognized through her connection to a powerful man. She writes about the power in telling one's own story, on one's own terms.

Note: NPR will be updating these numbers as more results come in.

Updated at 10:44 a.m. ET Thursday

After Tuesday's elections, a record number of women will serve in Congress come January 2019.

With results still coming in, 98 women have won their House races as of early Wednesday morning, up from the current 84. In addition, at least 13 women won Senate seats. That's in addition to the 10 female senators who were not up for re-election this year.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET Thursday

With women making up only 20 percent of Congress, there are many types of women — especially women of color — who have never been represented on Capitol Hill. The record-breaking wave of female candidates in 2018 comes with a list of firsts among those women. Here's a list of some of those firsts, which we will keep updating as results come in.

Democratic non-incumbent women are more than two-and-a-half times as likely as Republican non-incumbent women to be in House races where their chances are toss-up or better. That's according to an NPR analysis of candidate data from Daily Kos and race ratings from Cook Political Report.

A record number of women ran for and were nominated for office this year — that's true among House, Senate, state legislature and governor candidates — and the overwhelming majority of them have been Democrats.

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