The first presidential debates of the 2020 election cycle are this week, and we certainly have a lot in store. There are so many Democratic candidates that the party needs two nights to showcase their top performers. Twenty candidates met the fundraising or polling thresholds to be included in this week’s debates, with a random drawing to divide them into two sets of ten.
However, people have noticed that there is something lopsided about the two pools of candidates. While the second night of debate includes four of the top five polling candidates in the Democratic field, Elizabeth Warren, who is currently third in the polls, faces no big-name candidates on the stage for the first night. Granted, she will go toe to toe with Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke, but they are not polling anywhere near her numbers.
This will undoubtedly give Warren an advantage over her fellow contenders for the nomination. We predict that she will receive an appreciable bump in the polls as a result. As someone with considerable name recognition and a plan for everything, she should be ready to capitalize on the opportunity. With Warren being the only premier candidate on the stage, we can also expect another candidate or two to gain some traction in the polls with a good debate performance. There are a lot of candidates vying for limited time, so candidates with the most passion and the best soundbites are likely to do well in the weeks after the event. Right now, that is probably Booker and O’Rourke, who already have some name recognition and are known for their passionate speeches.
On the second night of debate, there will not be much opportunity for minor candidates to raise their profile. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris will all be fighting to advance their platforms. As the current polling leader, Biden has a huge target on his back. Watch for the other candidates to attack him for not being progressive enough to represent the party. Such is likely to hurt him in the polls. On the contrary, Harris and Buttigieg have the opportunity to place themselves in the public eye. If they balance rhetoric and substance, they both have a chance to walk away from the podium with a better chance at the nomination than when the night starts.
One thing is for sure. We will all being watching to see the drama and the passion this week.
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