PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The stage is set. Democrats are facing off in the latest presidential debate Tuesday night and it’s make or break time for the candidates.
For the first time, Tuesday night’s debate will offer a match-up between Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. They are the top two progressives in the Democratic primary.
Ten of the 20 candidates will take the stage in Detroit Tuesday. The rest, including former vice president Joe Biden, will debate tomorrow.
Stakes couldn’t be higher for some candidates who need to do something to stand out or else they risk getting left out of the next debate.
Both Warren and Sanders are expected to push their signature issues.
“These giant multi-national corporations, they’re not patriotic. They don’t have any loyalty to this country, to these workers. They have loyalty to exactly one thing and that is the profitability of the bottom line,” Warren said.
“Expanding a program that has been in existence for over 50 years, a program called Medicare,” Sanders said.
For some candidates, this will be the last debate opportunity if they don’t boost fundraising and poll numbers.
“The lower-tier candidates are not just getting not as much support, but also not as much consideration,” CBS News Elections and Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto said.
Two men not on stage in Detroit Tuesday will loom large as contenders look to rise above frontrunner Biden and prove they’re capable of beating President Donald Trump.
“Somebody like Donald Trump shouldn’t be able to get within cheating distance of the Oval Office,” candidate Pete Buttigieg said.
Biden will be on stage Wednesday. Nearly every candidate took shots at Biden during the first debate.
“I was probably over-polite in the way I didn’t respond,” Biden said of the first debate.
The latest poll shows him well ahead of the rest of the Democratic hopefuls.
“I am watching it. I think right now it will be Sleepy Joe, I think. I feel he’ll limp across the line, that’s what I think,” President Trump said.
President Trump won Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2016. Voter turnout in Michigan, particularly among African-American voters, was lower in 2016 than the previous election.
Democrats are hoping the debates in Detroit will help generate excitement for their supporters to go to the polls in 2020.