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Given the impact of the first debates, when Californian Senator Kamala Harris deviated from a place, there is an awful lot at stake and b) the fact that the qualification of the Democratic National Committee for the third debate in September is considerably higher and the field is likely to enrich significantly.
I'll be in Detroit all week – CNN is sponsoring these debates! – but here is a summary of the five candidates who have the most to lose in a poor debating performance.
. 5 Pete Buttigieg: The Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has been the history of the race so far. But his spring rush has become a summer status quo. Buttigieg is now a second candidate ̵
Buttigieg was very, very solid in the first debate; he seemed anxious that no one believed he was too young and inexperienced to be president. He played it safe. Which is fine! But Buttigieg is likely to attract more attention in this debate than in the first – which is an opportunity and a danger.
To this day Mayor Pete has exceeded expectations in every respect. Can he do that in this debate?
4. Kirsten Gillibrand: The New York Senator seems to have the right qualities – feminine, liberal, a powerful voice in the #Metoo movement – to make some noise in the broad democratic realm , It just has not happened, and time is running out.
Gillibrand runs the risk of missing the third debate – and that could be the end. Which means: Now is the time for her to move.
3. Bernie Sanders: While former vice president Joe Biden in the first debate most problems with a less than outstanding Performance had, Sanders was not much better. And since that first debate, the Senator's vote in Vermont has only gotten weaker – and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has continued to call for Sanders' support among the Party's most liberal constituents.
Sanders has the most experience with debates as Biden in this area. What should happen to his advantage. But it seems Sanders has only one gear – screaming and scolding – and at least in the first debate that did not turn out that well. Can Sanders stop? And is he ready – and able – to take on Warren to try and win back some of the voters she pulled away from him?
2. Beto O & Rourke: No candidate has met expectations as little as the former Texas congressman. When he launched in March, he was one of the few candidates who had a real claim to the Democratic nomination. Today he is – still – looking for a message and an impulse that hangs firmly in the middle of the second row.
O & Rourke's appearance in the first debate did him no favor. He was too robotic and was badly hit by an exchange on immigration policy with former mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro. O & Rourkes team promises more fireworks this time, with special attention to Buttigieg, who stole O 'Rourkes Mojo in the race.
O & Rourke will simply not have many chances to live up to his promise in this race. The debate on Tuesday evening is huge.
1. Joe Biden: No one has more to lose (or possibly gain) than the previous Vice President. Biden was very mediocre in the first debate of the race last month – seemingly completely flat from Harris' attack on his votes in the school bus. It is very unlikely that Biden will be surprised again by an attack by one of his rivals – and he has the chance to take a little revenge, because he is on a stage with Harris on Wednesday evening.
But if Biden is bad – like in, if he again looks like the speed of the game is too high for him, he will spend the next month (at least!) Dealing with questions about him age ( he is 76) and if the race passed him by. All this could cost him his top spot.