On Tuesday night, during the first of two CNN Democratic Presidential primary debates that will take place from Detroit, the marquis match up is Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in a battle for the hearts of progressives from all over the country.
Warren has the momentum, recently overtaking Sanders is some polls and if the Vermont Senator isn’t careful, his more animated colleague from Massachusetts can do some serious damage to his campaign.
Simply put, Warren shares many of the same positions as Sanders, but she’s far more articulate when sharing those positions. She’s the better public speaker and she has an energy about her that appeals to a lot of casual voters. She “has a plan” for everything.
Warren is just more charismatic.
So if you’re Bernie,what do you do?
First, you have to assert yourself during the broadcast. Sanders was very passive on that crowded stage in the first debate, stuck between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, that can’t happen again. Take your air time. The rest of the field that night is relatively tame, except for a Beto O’Rourke who is also under a lot of pressure to perform. Klobuchar, Buttigieg, and the others will wait for their time.
Second, you have to promote yourself as the original progressive in the contest. I’m surprised at how slow Sanders has been to remind voters that he was pushing these angles back in 2015. Instead, he’s just letting Warren take his education and health care ideas as her own.
We will have to see a new Bernie Sanders on Tuesday. One that is aggressive and one that he can prove he’s the candidate that can go toe to toe with Donald Trump.