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A Guide To Night 1, Round 2: NPR



The Fox Theater displays signs for the Democratic presidential debates in Detroit this week.
                
                
                    
                    Paul Sancya / AP
                    
                

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Paul Sancya / AP
        
    

The Fox Theater displays signs for the Democratic presidential debates in Detroit this week.

Paul Sancya / AP
            
        

The Democratic presidential candidates take the stage for the second round of debates Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit.

On Tuesday, progressive Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren face off for the first time in this campaign.

Viewers wants to see an odd dynamic onstage – by luck of the draw, all the stars on the night are white.

So what people wants to talk about when it's all said and done?

First, key questions (and answers):

When is the debate?

Tuesday night's debate begins at 8 pm ET.

Which candidates are on Tuesday?

In order of their placement onstage, left to right: Spiritualist and author Marianne Williamson; Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn .; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt .; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass .; former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas; former Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo .; former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md .; and Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont.

How can I watch?

Tune in to CNN, or listen to Westwood One radio.

1. Will there be any distinctions drawn between Sanders and Warren?

Warren and Sanders are interested in taking the U.S. in a more boldly progressive direction on everything from income inequality and social justice to health care and student debt. And Warren has been overrun on some state surveys.

The Sanders Camp has been cleared that Sanders will not go after Warren, because he sees it as an ally in implementing progressive change. Sanders continues to stagnate in the polls. Warren, Sanders dismisses the question and points to his long friendship and working relationship with her. Asked on CNN to say something nice about her, response what's more muted:

Will the moderators try to get them to draw distinctions on their polices? There are some differences between them, in particular on the way to go in reshaping the country. Warren wants big structural change but not socialism. Sanders is fine embracing that word. There are some foreign policy differences. Warren talks about how defense-industry moneyed interests should not be "own the table"; Sanders has deeper misgivings about how foreign policy has been criticized for being Israeli, which has been said to be a "right wing" and "racist" government.

2. Biden is not onstage?

Much of Sanders' criticism has just been posted on Biden, who has continued to speak in the polls against a lackluster first debate performance. Sanders has, in fact, dropped Biden's health care plan – centered on the existing Affordable Care Act rather than a single-payer national health insurance program – to President Trump's.

With Biden not on the stage, Sanders is deprived of the chance to swap at Biden face-to-face on that health care plan. His campaign contends that's not a disappointment. Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders, told NPR's Scott Detrow, "The truth is, these debates are watched by millions of voters and a great opportunity for every candidate to talk to the American people." "It really does not matter" who debates what night, he added.

Weaver added: "It's not easy to write a news story about the news, "he noted, mocking post-debate analysis."

Biden may not be on-the-spot, but some others may not have moderate health care Overhauls wants to be, including Klobuchar and Hickenlooper. That's a dynamic worth watching, especially since both of these candidates need boosts.

3. How is race raised?

So, health has dominated the run-up to the debates. The odd dynamic, by luck of the draw, is that all the onstage on Night 1 are white.

It's certainly possible, buttigieg has been dealing with a controversy over race and police in his hometown, where he's the mayor. And Warren has certainly put forward a comprehensive plan on racial equality and reducing racial differences in maternal mortality rates, for example.

4. Who breaks out?

Looking at who's onstage – Klobuchar, Buttigieg and O'Rourke certainly need breakout moments. Klobuchar, who has a quick wit, admitted after the first round of debates that she held back.

"This is the first debate," the Minnesota senator said afterward on MSNBC.

Robert Mueller's testimony, perhaps there will opportunities to talk about what the Trump administration is – or is not – doing to stop current and future foreign interference in elections.

Buttigieg and O'Rourke, no two candidates, are now rising and more mediocre weeks and months after those. The last round of debates really did not help either.

Candida's Kamala Harris and Julián Castro made the most of their first debate performances in Miami, putting them back on the lips of voters in early campaign states. Klobuchar, Buttigieg and O'Rourke need to do the same after these Detroit debates.

Then there's Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Hey what left off the stage in the first round of debates, causing controversy. Trump did well – and that rural, right-leaning voters should not be ignored.

So what does Bullock present that message now that he wants to be onstage? And does it resonate with a Democratic primary that has been trumped in office, rather than moving rightward in any way?

5. Without hand-raising, do you want to get that? "

The candidates for the first round of debates, there will be no hand-raising questions. NewsHour / Marist poll conducted after the first debates.

The It is unpopular with a general election Electorate – just 41% overall said it is a good idea. Compare that with the 70% who said Medicare as an option while maintaining private health insurance is a good idea.

Being in favor of giving health insurance to immigrants in the U.S. illegally and decriminalizing border crossings are thus popular with the general election electorate. So how does the candidate talk about those things? Watch for hedging and equivocation.

Scott Detrow added to this report.


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