Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv)
Previous frontrunners have had a torrid time on debate nights, getting hit from all angles, with their rivals often unfurling new or unexpected lines of attack.
Sanders should expect no less on Wednesday, when the moderate contenders are expected to pick relentlessly at “Medicare for All” in a bid to get in good with Nevada’s powerful Culinary Union, which opposes the plan. Bloomberg looks likely to jump on that dogpile, but an even better bet to escalate accusations that Sanders’ surrogates are playing dirty — and that the Vermont senator either hasn’t done enough to stop them or is in some way tacitly encouraging it.
Sanders has, in public, repeatedly said that “there is no room in the political revolution for abuse and harassment online,” but that is unlikely to quiet the issue. And at a CNN town hall Tuesday night, Sanders put a finer point on it: “I do not believe in online bullying. End of discussion”
Biden eager to attack Bloomberg, too
The question for Sanders, then, is whether he can deliver the message he wants and not get bogged down by the incoming fire. Sanders is a mostly disciplined debater, hard to knock off script, but he will be under the microscope here and even the smallest blunder — or misfired attack — could open up a whopping can of new backlash.
Still, Bloomberg’s presence could break to Sanders’ benefit.
The heavy-spending billionaire is new to the primary debate stage and represents a new foil for the populists, and perhaps some of the moderates who see him encroaching on their support, to feast on.
There isn’t much love lost between Buttigieg and Klobuchar.
The two moderates have repeatedly used the debate stage to air their grievances with each other, with the Minnesota senator targeting the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor for his youth and experience on the local level as a way to blunt his rise.
Klobuchar, unlike other candidates, has perplexed Buttigieg on the debate stage. Where he has effectively counter punted against attacks from Warren, Biden and Sanders, Buttigieg hasn’t been able to hit Klobuchar with the same fire — and the Minnesota senator is now surging after a strong debate performance and third place finish in New Hampshire.
That’s why Klobuchar bungling an interview in Nevada and awkwardly being unable to name the President of Mexico could provide a flash point in Wednesday’s contest.
Buttigieg, who was able to name Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, hit Klobuchar for her inability to answer the question on Sunday, telling a crowd of supporters in Las Vegas that the misstep shows “that there is more to being prepared than how many years you spent in Washington.”
Klobuchar, for her part, has looked to cast Buttigieg as a “newcomer” with no political record.
This fight will have a new resonance on Wednesday given the role Bloomberg is expected to play in the debate. The former New York Mayor, by offering a similar set of moderate policy prescriptions as Buttigieg and Klobuchar, is looking to court some of the same voters and conversations with supporters of each campaign here in Nevada highlight how Bloomberg has made inroads with moderate Democrats.
And Bloomberg has a $60 billion personal fortune to use to get that message out, something neither Buttigieg nor Klobuchar can come close to touching. This is the turning point Biden has been promising.
Written off by many (including Bloomberg, whose campaign is arguing it’s a two-man race between the former mayor and Sanders) after a fourth-place finish in Iowa and a fifth-place showing in New Hampshire, Biden is on more comfortable territory in a state with a much larger share of non-white voters.
But the former vice president appears to have lost some benefit of the doubt: The powerful Culinary Union praised him, but didn’t endorse him. Former Sen. Harry Reid said he thinks Biden could win, but didn’t caucus for him. His fundraising, which has already lagged some of his rivals, faces the threat of donors frozen by Bloomberg’s billions or eyeing moderate alternatives like Buttigieg or Klobuchar — right at the moment Biden needs to drastically scale up for Super Tuesday, when 14 states vote on March 3.
Now, he’ll try to build momentum on the debate stage — where he looked feistier than he had before a week ago in New Hampshire.
The question is, which of the many threats he faces will Biden target? Will it be Sanders, whose support among Latinos has become a major asset? Or Buttigieg or Klobuchar, who are part of a crowded centrist lane?
In recent days, Biden has hinted he’s most eager to take on Bloomberg — who is using former President Barack Obama’s voice and praise in a national advertising campaign against Obama’s former vice president.
In an interview on MSNBC this week, he lambasted Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk policing policies, his failure to endorse then-Sen. Obama in 2008 and his position on Obamacare.
“This is a guy that talked about Obamacare being a disaster and about how he wouldn’t support our administration in 2008, so there’s a lot to discuss with Michael,” Biden said.
Warren’s staunchest supporters are upset. After a pair of disappointing performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, they feel like the Massachusetts senator has been written off and out of the narrative around a primary still in its earliest stages.
But Warren has an opportunity, perhaps a final one, on Wednesday night to change the conversation. And if there’s any doubt it’s still possible at this stage, she only needs to look over at Klobuchar, who used her performance at the Granite State debate as a launching pad for a surprisingly strong finish there a few days later.
Warren has cast herself repeatedly as a unity candidate, which will make it a tougher task, but she has shown a willingness in recent days to hit out hard at some of her rivals.
On Tuesday, she offered a preview of what might be coming.
“Mike Bloomberg approved and oversaw a program that surveilled and tracked Muslim communities in mosques, restaurants, and even college campuses –leaving permanent damage. He refuses to apologize for it,” she tweeted.
Warren also had some harsh words for Sanders the night before, saying he “has a lot of questions to answer” about the behavior of his supporters online.
“I am particularly worried about what happened in the attacks on members of the Culinary Union, particularly on the women in leadership,” Warren told NBC News. “That is not how we build an inclusive Democratic Party. And it is not how we (beat) Donald Trump. We do not build on a foundation of hate.”
At this point in time most of the world has been discovered. Few people can claim that they are the “first” to do something. Kate Leeming is one of those few people. Some of her achievements include: first person to cycle across Africa from Senegal to Somalia; first woman to cycle unsupported across Russia; first woman to cycle the Canning Stock Route; and first to cycle down the skeleton coast of Namibia. Her next goal is to complete the first bicycle crossing of the Antarctic continent.
Kate Leeming is an adventurer and each of her expeditions has a cause in mind. For example, her Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition was to aid the 800,000 children of Chernobyl. She has two books about her expeditions: Njinga, which is about her Breaking the Cycle Africa expedition; and Out There and Back, about her Great Australian Cycle expedition.
Kate is an inspiration. You can follow her journey via her blog at breakingthecycle.education. She has big plans for 2020, so she’s definitely one to keep tabs on. Also, keep up with the Freewheeling podcast for an in-depth interview with Kate, coming soon!
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo)
Deignan has a year of post-baby racing under her belt and she’s oh-so-ready to fight. In 2019 Lizzie won the OVO Energy Tour, but fell short at the World Championships in Yorkshire. This year, she’s out for sweat, blood and tears.
Second at the London Olympics in 2012, fifth in Rio in 2016, you can be sure Deignan will be in fine form for the Tokyo Olympics in July.