Scott Detrow

What will the first Democratic presidential debates look like at the end of this month?

We got our first glimpse Saturday in San Francisco.

First, we saw the visual of candidate after candidate — 11 in all, with 3 more to come Sunday — parading across the stage at the California Democratic Party's annual convention.

"Nations, to make sense of themselves, need some kind of agreed-upon past," Jill Lepore writes in her latest book, This America: The Case for the Nation. "They can get it from scholars or they can get it from demagogues."

This weekend, 14 presidential candidates will converge on San Francisco for the California Democratic Party's annual convention.

It will be the largest gathering of presidential contenders so far, and the latest sign that California's days of bringing up the rear of the presidential primary calendar are long gone.

The past few presidential campaigns, environmental activists have "been left begging for there to be a single question at a campaign debate about climate change," longtime climate change activist and author Bill McKibben recently told NPR.

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Earlier this month, after delivering a speech to a construction union, Joe Biden was asked - what's the holdup? - by a pool of reporters.

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Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

Eight Democratic presidential candidates faced the same basic question today in Houston: Why should women of color vote for them?

The first-ever She The People Presidential Forum — organized by and centered on questions from women of color — served as a repeated reminder of the key role that minority women play in Democratic politics.

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Most job openings — at least in theory — go to the more qualified applicant. That isn't always the case with the presidency of the United States, as scores of presidential losers have discovered.

Given the choice, Americans tend to gravitate toward the fresher, more exciting face. Charisma and change can hold more value than on-the-job training, relationships with world leaders or understanding of congressional dynamics.

Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released 10 years' worth of tax returns Monday. The documents underscore how much money the populist presidential candidate has earned in recent years, as his public profile has risen.

In an interview with the New York Times before the returns were made public, Sanders dismissed the idea that his newfound wealth undercut his billionaire-bashing message.

Conan O'Brien once memorably described Robert Caro's sweeping series of biographies about Lyndon Baines Johnson as Harry Potter for adults. But perhaps the better comparison is the nonfiction version of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice And Fire.

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And we're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent Scott Detrow. Scott, thank you so much for being here.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good evening.

MARTIN: What sort of reaction are we hearing from Capitol Hill?

Democratic presidential hopefuls are betting on bold.

The majority of the Democrats running for president want to create a national health insurance program. Several want to do away with private health insurance entirely. Candidates are engaging on questions about reparations for slavery, and most of the White House hopefuls have endorsed the goal of a carbon-neutral economy within the next decade.

Increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court? Several candidates are now on board.

Looking out over a crowd of firefighters chanting, "Run, Joe, run," former Vice President Joe Biden urged patience.

"Save it a little longer; I may need it in a few weeks," he said, adding, "Be careful what you wish for."

Biden isn't officially running for president — at least not yet — but Tuesday's speech to the International Association of Fire Fighter's annual conference blocks from Capitol Hill served as the latest warmup act to a potential 2020 campaign.

Most of the Democrats running for president want to create a national single-payer health care system. They want to begin a massive transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. They want to legalize marijuana, pass broad family leave policies, and do a whole lot of other things that previous generations of presidential candidates have balked from fully endorsing.

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President Trump had a lot to say about those congressional investigations when he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference today, which was held just outside Washington, D.C.

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