How To Watch The New York Democratic Debate Even If You Don't Have Cable

We've had a few weeks to recover from debate fatigue after a plethora of Republican and Democratic debates in February and March. But on Thursday, the Democratic candidates will be back on the stage after weeks of intensive campaigning around the country. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will be making their final big pitch to New Yorkers ahead of the state's primary, which takes place on April 19. Here's how to watch the Democratic debate.

The New York debate will be hosted by CNN and Time Warner Cable's NY1. Both stations will be televising the event, which begins at 9 p.m. ET. Richard Hudock, public relations manager for CNN, tells Bustle that the debate will also be available to livestream online at CNN.com and on mobile devices without a login, noting that CNN International and CNN en Espanol will also broadcast the debate live.

The debate comes at a crucial point in the race for the Democratic contenders, as 247 pledged delegates are at stake in the New York primary. Going into the debate on Thursday, Clinton maintains a lead over Sanders in the lower teens, according to the average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. In the race for the Democratic nomination, Clinton leads Sanders by about 200 delegates (current reported numbers do not include Washington's congressional district delegates, which have yet to be allocated; Sanders won big in the state, and will be getting most of them).

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The story of the New York debate began with a debate over whether or not to have the debate. Sanders called for a debate in New York before the important primary, but Clinton's campaign responded that she would agree only if Sanders changed his "tone," accusing him of negative campaigning.

The two campaigns have been sharpening their criticisms of one another in the weeks leading up to the primary. Sanders questioned Clinton's qualifications for the presidency and pointed out that Clinton supported a Panama free trade agreement that he says is connected to the recent scandal of the Panama Papers. Clinton, for her part, has revived her criticism of Sanders' gun control record and highlighted the trouble Sanders seemed to have answering a question from the New York Daily News editorial board about how to break up big banks.

Will we see a shift in tone from the more to less civil in Thursday's debate? The Democratic contenders have a track record of sticking to the issues during these events. We can expect to hear more about trade agreements, big banks, qualifications, and gun control on the stage.