How to watch the 2020 Democratic debate live on CNN for free without cable

The seventh presidential debate of the 2020 Democratic primary season takes place on CNN tonight. Here’s how cord cutters can stream the action.

How to watch the 2020 Democratic debate live on CNN for free without cable
[Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images]

The first Democratic primary debate of the year, and the last one before the Iowa caucuses, is happening tonight at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The whittled-down event will feature only six presidential hopefuls, meaning (in theory) much more screen time for most of the candidates. Here’s the lineup:

  • Joe Biden (former vice president)
  • Pete Buttigieg (mayor of South Bend, Indiana)
  • Amy Klobuchar (U.S. senator of Minnesota)
  • Bernie Sanders (U.S. senator of Vermont)
  • Tom Steyer (very rich businessman)
  • Elizabeth Warren (U.S. senator of Massachusetts)

Notable candidates who did not qualify for the debate include Andrew Yang, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The event, copresented by CNN and the Des Moines Register, will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer, Abby Phillip, and Brianne Pfannenstiel. It will air on CNN tonight (Tuesday, January 14) at 9 p.m. ET.

If you’re a cable cord cutter who wants to stream the 2020 Democratic debate on your phone, mobile device, or smart TV, you’re in luck—CNN will once again lift the paywall on its digital channels, meaning you can live-stream the debate without authentication from a pay-TV provider. I’ve rounded up the easiest ways to watch below:

  • CNN digital channels: The easiest way to stream it live is just to visit CNN’s website or mobile apps on iOS or Android. The stream is free, and you don’t need to log in with a pay-TV provider.
  • CNNgo for TV: This app works with Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV. More info here.
  • Des Moines Register: The newspaper, a copresenter of the debate, will stream it online here.
  • This website will stream the debate live here.
  • Streaming services: If you already subscribe to a streaming service that offers CNN, you can watch it that way. (But keep in mind the stream is free, so there’s no need to sign up just for the debate.) Those include: YouTube TV, Hulu With Live TV, and Sling TV.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine


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