How To Watch Presidential Debates 2023
Like it or not, the 2024 presidential election is right around the corner. Here’s how and where to watch the TV debates leading up to it.
If you thought the last couple of election cycles were strange, just wait: 2023 is shaping up to be a “hold my beer” kind of year.
Leading up to the 2024 election, a wide field of Republican hopefuls line up for the job, led by former President/current defendant Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. It’s bound to be a wild debate season … if either decides to participate (more on that in a minute).
There are currently no Democratic debates scheduled for potential 2024 challengers to President Joe Biden; no incumbent U.S. president has participated in an election debate since the 1970s. But, given the current political landscape, there could be one in the books by the time you finish the next sentence.
Assuming debate season goes on as planned, here’s how to watch all the political fireworks on TV.
First 2024 Republican presidential primary debate: August 23, 2023, on Fox News
According to Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the first 2024 Republican presidential debate will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (host city for the 2024 Republican National Convention), on Wednesday, August 23.
The lengthily titled Fox News Republican Primary Debate with Partners Young America’s Foundation and Rumble, will be televised on Fox News and livestreamed on the social media platform Rumble. DeSantis is more likely to commit to this first debate than Trump, whose relationship with Fox News has soured in recent months (also, he may be busy in court).
If Trump is a no-show, DeSantis may still have debate opponents to spar with, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, current South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
There are almost a dozen more possible candidates vying for the Republican nomination, including former Vice President Mike Pence, but they’ll have to prove they have at least 40,000 individual campaign donors to qualify for the first debate. If more candidates than expected make the cut—40K is a high threshold—Fox News will schedule a second debate on Thursday, August 24.
Caveat: No Republican presidential candidate, longshot or not, has officially committed to any debates as of the time of this post.
Next 2024 Republican presidential primary debate: Later in 2023 on CNN, NBC, or elsewhere
CNN and NBC have both pitched the Republican National Committee on televising subsequent 2024 primary debates. ABC and PBS have also expressed interest. Here’s the problem: DeSantis only likes Fox News (no surprise there), and he may snub a debate hosted by any other network—almost certainly the one owned by Disney.
CBS has said it would be interested in carrying a Republican presidential debate, but not until 2024 when the candidate herd has been thinned (possibly due to house arrest, in certain cases).