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3 Things to Watch in the Biden vs. Sanders Debate for Sunday, March 15, 2020

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders enter their first 1-on-1 debate this Sunday night under unprecedented circumstances. The debate, which was originally supposed to take place in Arizona in front of a live crowd, will now be held in CNN’s Washington, DC, studios with no audience as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, that has also led both candidates to cancel rallies and stay off the campaign trail in recent days.

The debate is just ahead of the critical March 17 primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. There will be 577 Democratic delegates up for grabs. Biden leads (by significant amounts) Sanders in each of the state-wide polls. Biden leads Sanders by about 156 in the actual delegate counts. See from Real Clear Politics the current delegate count:

As the establishment Democrats coalesce around Biden, it is “do or die” time for Sanders if he is to have any shot at the Democratic nomination this summer.

  1. Sanders will need to come out swinging and go on the attack against Biden. Or will it be a joint debate on attacks against Trump? Does Sanders want to be president? In the past, he seems to cave when he gets behind – remember Hillary in 2016? Will Biden go soft on Sanders to not offend the Progressive wing of the Democrats?
  2. Coronavirus has been dominating the media – nearly 90%. Will the entire debate be about Coronavirus? It will tell a lot about what the media will focus on going forward on the political agenda. Again secondarily, will they battle each other on the topic or jointly attack Trump.
  3. Biden’s health – will he stumble and make gaffs and not be coherent in his responses? Many feel that Biden is a mere placeholder until the convention over health issues. We previously asked this question: Should a Dementia (MMSE) Test Be a Prerequisite for Political Candidates? Here Take the Test.

In short, will the debate be a coronation of Biden or a real debate? Besides, is there really a big difference between Biden and Sanders? We answered this question in a recent post: The Difference Between Sanders and Biden – Spoiler Alert, NONE! Nevertheless, the answers to these questions during the debate will set the tone of politics going forward into the Democratic pre-convention season.

Either way, Trump is still looking strong (49% Rasmussen polling as of this posting) as the political seasons moves into the 2020 general election campaign.

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