Tonight the second group of Democratic presidential primary candidates will face off , the debate to be televised on CNN at 8:00 p.m. ET. This one will feature a confrontation between front-runner Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who damaged Biden and made herself relevant in the first debate. Again, I invite you to discuss the debate here–before, during, and after–at this blog.
The 10 primary candidates on stage tonight, according to a random draw, are as follows:
- Jay Inslee
- Kirsten Gillibrand
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Michael Bennet
- Bill de Blasio
- Cory Booker
- Andrew Yang
- Julián Castro
- Kamala Harris
- Joe Biden
Last time, Kamala Harris zinged Joe Biden for his opposition back in the 1970s to busing. The tactic of integrating schools by busing children past their neighborhood schools to schools on the other side of town on rides that sometimes took hours was viscerally unpopular with both white and black parents. Does Harris really want to bring back busing?
Will Biden backtrack on his opposition to busing? As well as other aspects of his record back when he was a relatively moderate Democrat? Expect Harris to attack him for his anti-crime bill. Biden has already repudiated his former support for capital punishment. He may strike back at Harris for once being a prosecutor. (“You put people in jail!”) It will be interesting to see if they push each other to try to become the least tough on crime.
Cory Booker will be trying to win over his fellow African-Americans from their allegiance to Biden, which violates the tenets of identity politics.
Expect Biden to wrap himself in the mantle of Barack Obama, for whom he was a loyal vice president. Will Harris and/or other candidates respond by attacking the Obama administration? After all, President Obama started some of the immigration policies that other Democrats are now demonizing. If they do, that would represent a major nervous breakdown of the Democratic party.
The thing is, Biden commands such a big lead that he does not have to kowtow to his party’s left wing. In fact, most Democratic voters prefer him precisely because he is not as radical as the rest of the contenders and is thus more likely to defeat Donald Trump. And yet, I expect him to package himself as a leftist.
But Biden, a former boxer, has vowed to come out swinging this time, so we’ll see what happens.
What will the other candidates do to attract attention? The third debate will have tougher qualifications for participating, both in terms of money raised and percentage of support, so this will be the last chance of many of these candidates.
So even if you don’t care for politics, the debates may prove to be a diverting spectator sport.
Come here to discuss the debate, both as they are going on and the aftermath!
UPDATE: I plan to watch the debate–though I may be late–as I did last night, offering my commentary. Please join me here and help me out with the live blog!