Democratic White House Candidates Face High-Pressure Nevada Debate

At least six Democratic presidential contenders will meet in a pivotal debate in Nevada on Wednesday, three days before the state’s voters make their picks in an unsettled and tight nominating race for the White House, Reuters informs.

The caucuses in Nevada on Saturday will be the third contest in the campaign to find a Democratic challenger to President Donald Trump in the November 3 election. The first two produced a split verdict, with Pete Buttigieg edging Bernie Sanders in Iowa and Sanders narrowly beating Buttigieg in New Hampshire.

Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire former mayor of New York who has climbed in opinion polls while spending hundreds of millions of his own dollars on advertising, met the polling requirement on Tuesday to qualify for the debate.

Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, has surged into the polling lead nationally and in Nevada after his strong finishes in the first two states. A self-described democratic socialist, he has shrugged off attacks that his views are too hard-left to win the White House, and he will be a target again as he looks to fill the front-runner’s role.

Sanders leads in polls among the state’s big bloc of Latino voters, but his biggest task in the debate could be winning over new supporters beyond his core believers – and painting the incoming attacks from his rivals as a sign of their growing desperation to stop him, Reuters adds.

Joe Biden, the former vice president is fighting for survival in Nevada after a bruising fifth-place finish in New Hampshire. While the onetime front-runner was a target in past debates, this time he will play the role of underdog – a reversal that might work to his benefit and give him the freedom to go on offense more.

Biden is hoping to do well enough in Nevada to stay alive until South Carolina, where his strength with black voters might give him a new lease on political life and keep him alive until Super Tuesday on March 3 and beyond. But Biden is running out of chances.

After strong finishes in predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire, Pete Buttigieg faces the biggest challenge of his candidacy as he tries to expand his appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters. That task will begin in Nevada, where about one-third of the 2016 electorate was black or Latino. Buttigieg took heavy fire in the last debate for his lack of political experience, particularly from moderate rival Amy Klobuchar, and it might have blunted some of his momentum from Iowa. For the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, the push to stay in the top tier could begin at Wednesday’s debate.

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