|| by Will Galloway ||
Columbia- Hillary looks to quell concerns about her dropping poll numbers. Bernie Sanders looks to introduce himself to a national audience for the first time. Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee search for their breakout moment.
Even so, don’t expect a rough-and-tumble debate like the Republicans had. The democratic debates will be much more issues based. Jim Webb will seek out a centrist position. Bernie and O’Malley will seek to out-progressive one another. Hillary will seek a middle ground.
And even without being in the debate, Biden will loom large over the discussion. Whether his candidacy is real or hypothetical as of Tuesday evening, he will be the elephant in the room that the candidates will be unable to avoid.
Bernie will likely tackle civil-rights issues head on. He needs to pick up minority support, so expect him to make affirmative action and immigration center stage.
Hillary will attempt to introduce her new and approachable personality. This will be the first true test of her campaign’s mettle, and she needs to make the most of it.
O’Malley will attempt to position himself as the passionate progressive crusader. He will try to position himself to the left of Bernie on Guns, Minimum Wage, and other liberal causes.
Webb will seek to make himself the tell-it-like-it-is populist. He’ll say that he alone can reach out to southern whites and expand them Democratic Base.