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Five Democratic 2016 presidential hopefuls will square off Tuesday night at the party’s first debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, which will be hosted by CNN and Facebook.
In what is reminiscent of high school cafeteria seating arrangements, the five candidates will appear onstage at the Wynn Las Vegas according to their popularity in political polls, much like at recent Republican debates.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and highest-polling candidate, will appear center stage wedged between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the right and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to the left. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, the fourth-and fifth-placing candidates, will bookend the stage.
Here are five things to look for at the debate:
Vice President Joe Biden to stay home
In case the V.P., fondly known as Uncle Joe, decides to enter the race and participate in the debate, there would be a podium placed on the stage for him. But don’t look for Biden, especially after there has been no movement or announcement after a big family pow wow over the weekend about a potential presidential bid. The dream appears to be fading for those hoping he will enter the fray.
Hillary Clinton to assert dominance as front-runner
Clinton, former secretary of state and former U.S. senator for New York, is skilled in the art of debate. The former Democratic presidential hopeful will assert her dominance as the front-runner by highlighting important policies she’s rolled out in recent months, which have been obfuscated by controversy over her use of a private email server as secretary of state. Look for her to tout policies to raise the minimum wage and strengthen overtime rules, overhaul the criminal justice system, address racial injustice, and curb gun violence, among other issues.
Get ready to #FeeltheBern
If you’ve ever heard Sanders deliver an impassioned speech on the campaign trail or talk during a television news interview, then you know why the name of his presidential bid is called Feel the Bern. Sanders, who is second behind Clinton in early state voting polls, is highly emotive about issues important to him, including criminal justice reform, racial injustice, and addressing wage imbalances. He and Clinton stand pretty close on those and other issues, and they have barely acknowledged each other on the campaign trail. So look for a bit of a verbal rumble as the two jockey for votes during the debate.
Martin O’Malley has to use his outside voice
This could be the last stand for the former Maryland governor, who is struggling in the polls, partly because of a shortage of media coverage. He is struggling to rise above single digits in polls of early voting states, so tonight he will have to seek out and seize opportunities to outshine his opponents. Hopefully, he has been studying video of Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who jumped from junior debate stage onto the main stage by doing just that. Webb and Chafee might also want to follow this advice.
The Donald Trump piñata
The Republican presidential front-runner and recalcitrant real estate mogul has become a favorite target for Democrats, who unlike Republicans have been playing nice with one another so far this election season. So look for his name to come up during discussions about immigration and the general intolerance of the Republican Party.
Do you plan to tune in?
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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