WASHINGTON (AP) — New uncertainty hangs over the Democratic presidential primary as 10 candidates meet on the debate stage once again.
No longer is there a clear front-runner. The fight for African American voters is raging. And there are growing concerns that impeachment may become a distraction from the primary. Those issues and more will play out Wednesday night when the Democratic Party’s top 10 face off in Atlanta just 75 days before primary voting begins.
Here are a few questions heading into the debate, to be carried on MSNBC:
Who is the front-runner?
Turbulent polling across the early voting states has created a murky picture of the top tier of the 2020 class. As much as Joe Biden is still a front-runner, so are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. The question is who gets the front-runner treatment in Wednesday’s debate. Warren was under near-constant attack last month as a new leader. Will Warren continue to face the heat, or will the ascendant Buttigieg or weakening Biden take more hits?
They have all come out in favor of impeachment — some more aggressively than others — but it’s noteworthy that five of the 10 Democrats onstage will serve as jurors in the Senate impeachment trial should the House vote to impeach President Donald Trump. It’s a complicated topic for Democrats. Some senators worry that a prospective impeachment trial will interfere with their ability to court voters early next year. Others fear that impeachment could hurt their party’s more vulnerable candidates in down-ballot elections next year. Either way, what the prospective jurors do or don’t say on the debate stage could be relevant if and when the Senate holds an impeachment trial, which is increasingly likely.