Democratic Debates: 5 Questions To Consider | NPR
I’m Domenico Montanaro, lead political editor at NPR. The Democratic primary debates will be the first chance for millions of Americans to get a look at the field of candidates vying to take on President Trump in 2020. There are 20 candidates who are going to debate across two nights, and we have some questions. Here are five. One: How does Joe Biden do? OK, this one’s pretty obvious. He’s been leading in all the polls, and many of the candidates are going to try to knock him off that perch. Two: OK, that’s Biden, but what about the rest? Bernie Sanders got what he wanted. He’s onstage with Biden. He’s got to make the case that wholesale change is what’s needed. But he’s contending for votes with Elizabeth Warren, who’s also taking up the progressive lane. She’s in that first debate as the highest-profile star. Also onstage with Sanders and Biden are going to be California Senator Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Both of them are looking for breakout moments, and they need to grab the spotlight. Three: Do the pragmatists or progressives win out? Liberal activists want big change, especially in the Trump era. But this debate will reach beyond Twitter to Democrats and other voters who’ve been less engaged and might prefer a more pragmatic approach. Or do they? Four: How much of a focus is Trump? The president is front and center for many Democratic voters, who say that they want more than anything to beat Trump. And reelections are referenda on the person in office. How much of his policies are the focus of moderators and the candidates onstage versus these Democratic candidates’ policy focuses and their visions? Five: Who gets that breakout moment? With this many candidates, how much time each gets is limited, but everyone will want to be the candidate people are talking about the next day. Who will it be? For more, log on to NPR.org, or download the NPR Politics Podcast. Or, you can listen on the radio to Morning Edition or All Things Considered.