Tonight five declared Democratic presidential candidates will square off in a Sin City debate as the battle for the progressive base continues.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be at center stage as she continues to lead in the polls. Not far being her and to her right (stage left) will be Bernie Sanders. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb will also be on stage.
The focus tonight will no doubt be on the battle between Clinton vs. Sanders. Although he's trailing her nationally, Sanders is currently beating Clinton in New Hampshire and has caught her in Iowa. Just last week, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed Sanders being a better pick than Clinton against Republicans in those states as well.
Hillary Clinton has always been viewed as the Democrats' best general-election candidate. But new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls of Iowa and New Hampshire show that Bernie Sanders outperforms Clinton in those two general-election battleground states.
In Iowa, Republican Jeb Bush leads Clinton by 10 points in a hypothetical general-election match up among registered voters, 50 percent to 40 percent, and Donald Trump is ahead of her by seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent - essentially unchanged from the poll's results a month ago.
And Carly Fiorina leads Clinton in the Hawkeye State by 14 points, 52 percent to 38 percent.
But when Sanders is matched up against these same Republicans, his numbers are stronger: Sanders leads Trump by five points in Iowa (48 percent to 43 percent). And he narrowly trails Bush (46 percent to 44 percent) and Fiorina (45 percent to 42 percent).
The same dynamic plays out in New Hampshire.
According to reports, Sanders will go after Clinton on her history of flip-flopping on controversial issues while promoting his own socialist consistency over the past three decades. Sanders will also likely go after Clinton and her close, cushy ties to Wall Street. Clinton, who has refrained from attacking fellow Democrats up to this point, will likely go after Sanders on the issue of gun control.
Ultimately, Clinton vs. Sanders will come down to each of the candidates trying to prove they're liberal enough to satisfy a far-left base.
CNN, the network sponsoring the debate, has placed an extra lectern just in case Vice President Joe Biden makes the surprise decision to jump into the race today.
Leading up to tonight's debate there has been much controversy surrounding the Democratic National Committee and it's favoritism of Hillary Clinton. There have been a number of calls from former Gov. O'Malley for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to schedule more primary debates. She has refused. As Leah wrote about yesterday, DNC Vice Chairwoman Tulsi Gabbard was reportedly disinvited to tonight's debate after suggesting to Wasserman-Schultz more debates should be scheduled.
We'll have full coverage and a live open-thread of tonight's debate right here at Townhall. Be sure to check in and comment with your thoughts.