The next US presidential election is still nearly 17 months away, but the campaign has officially begun today.
Ten candidates who fought to become the Democratic Party candidate gathered on stage for the first debate in 2020, hosted by NBC News.
Another debate, with another 10 candidates, will be broadcast tomorrow. Yes, there are many people running.
Everyone wants to hire Donald Trump in the general election, and it seems that the President is looking today, not that he found it particularly inspiring.
Trump was on his way to Japan for the G20 summit and presumably witnessed the debate aboard Air Force One.
Instead of attacking the candidates or their policies, Trump actually targeted NBC, making fun of a technical hiccup that derailed the two-hour transmission halfway.
Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie moderated the first hour, then left the room, allowing Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow to take the lead. But while Todd tried to ask his first question, he was interrupted by the sound of other people's voices.
In the beginning, Todd and Maddow thought it was a microphone somewhere in the audience.
"I think we have a – I heard that too, okay. Do I think we had a little microphone problem in the back? I think we heard the audiences sound," said Todd, before starting his question again .
He got most of it before disembodied voices intruded again. A man said to go to the bathroom. One woman said she needed to get her binder.
The new moderators realized that Holt and Guthrie's microphones had not been deactivated. The entire room – and everyone watching – seemed to be listening to their conversation from the backstage.
"There are voices behind us!" One of the candidates said, Senator Amy Klobuchar, as the stage burst into laughter.
"We are listening to the audio of our colleagues. If the control room could turn off the microphones," said Todd.
A few more embarrassing moments passed.
"If the control room could turn off our previous moderators' microphones," Todd repeated.
"You know, we prepared for everything. We didn't prepare for that," Maddow said.
Everything was in a good mood, but NBC had to interrupt a commercial interruption to solve the problem.
Mr. Trump was not impressed, calling him "really unprofessional" and saying that the network should "be ashamed".
The debate itself brought together a mix of prominent candidates such as Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Beto O & Rourke and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and those who were struggling to attract attention, like Julian Castro, Jay Inslee, Tulsi Gabbard and another pair whose names, to be honest, don't really matter.
The topics discussed included the economy, health care, immigration, climate change, Iran and arms control.
Ms Warren was particularly strong in the economy, where she railed against large corporations and promised to rule for ordinary people.
"I think about it this way. For whom is this economy really working? It's going great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top," he said.
Mr. Castro stood out during the discussion on immigration. He has asked to decriminalize completely the act of illegally crossing the United States border with Mexico.
Other high-level candidates will take part in their debate tomorrow. These include former vice president Joe Biden, who is the clear favorite in the polls, along with former California attorney general Kamala Harris and the mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg.
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, concluded the process by tweeting this mocked up clip, which basically shows him as president forever.
He really likes this particular meme; this is the second time he publishes it.
The message was clear enough: he is sure he can beat anyone on stage today.