Tonight’s Democratic debate from Las Vegas, Nevada, features several familiar faces and one new one (at least, as far as debates go). The appearance of Mike Bloomberg is one that can result in a big payout to the candidate who can take the best advantage of it.
We’re looking at Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Joe Biden looking at both Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders as the biggest threats to their own candidacies, while Bloomberg and Sanders see each other as the primary competition.
Bloomberg’s entry onto the debate stage sets up the four non-Sanders candidates to take some easy shots at the billionaire technocrat on the subjects of race, gender, and big money in politics. Sanders, meanwhile, will also take some shots at Bloomberg while trying to fend off attacks from the other four. The Democratic Socialist will have to defend his ideology from three of those – Biden, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg – while Warren will hammer him over other issues.
The attacks on Bloomberg, though, will give Sanders cover, something he desperately needs to maintain his increasingly lofty position over the other candidates. If Bloomberg were trying to unite the moderate vote and knock out the socialist, he is doing a bad job by drawing the ire of the other moderate-appealing candidates to him and not to Sanders.
Ultimately, if things play out as expected, you’ll see Sanders coming out relatively unscathed while Bloomberg takes the biggest hits. This is the kind of night that Klobuchar and Warren need to really cut someone’s throat in, otherwise it looks like it will be over for either of them. Biden and Buttigieg should remain fairly level after this debate, as neither want to rock the boat to much and surrender their voter base to the other.
Of course, we’re all hoping for fireworks, and Vegas is the kind of place to go big or go home, so you might see a lot more blood-spilling than expected. After all, we’re not too far away from Super Tuesday, the day where Democrats could see Sanders all but running away with their party (a party he’s never officially joined).