Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders: 4 Things to Watch for at Tonight's Democratic Debate

PHOTO: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders shake hands as they participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, Feb. 4, 2016. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders shake hands as they participate in the MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, Feb. 4, 2016.

Just two days after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ overwhelming victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the two are preparing to face off, head to head again for another nationally televised debate. There might be frigid temperatures outside, but voters can expect the heated rhetoric to date from the two candidates, as the race between them is hotter and closer than ever.

Here are 4 things to watch for at the show tonight.

All Eyes On Hillary: Fresh off the bruising loss in New Hampshire and new speculation over whether her lead ins, in the next voting states will hold up, the pressure is now on Clinton. The Democratic presidential candidate will likely try to over-perform in order to ease fears among supporters, donors and the party establishment that despite rumors of a staff shake-up and internal conflicts, it’s not time to panic…yet. Yesterday, she was off the campaign trail hunkering down and preparing, and it’s safe to expect she’s going to come on to the stage tonight armed and ready to prove people wrong.

Aggressive Appeal to Minority Voters: Bernie Sanders knows he needs to make substantial ground among African-American and Latino voters if he stands a chance to carry his momentum from New Hampshire to states with more diverse demographics. His campaign has been working hard in this area and in the past two weeks and he has picked up high profile endorsements from a former head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, and iconic entertainer and social activists Harry Belafonte. Wednesday, he met in New York City for a very public breakfast with Rev. Al Sharpton.

At the podium tonight, Sanders will likely make a point of talking about criminal justice reform, immigration, deportation, and economic and social inequality as he continues his mad-dash to boost his name recognition among minority constituencies.

A Plea to Millennials: What minorities are to Sanders is what young people are to Clinton — but perhaps, even worse. In New Hampshire, Clinton lost the youth vote to Sanders by a whopping 68 points. Now she and her campaign are scrambling to figure out how to change their message to woo some of these millennial voters and tonight, Clinton will likely make a renewed pitch to this demographic. “I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people,” Clinton said at her concession speech on Tuesday. “Even if they are not supporting me now, I support them,” she added.

Accelerated Accusations over Wall Street Donations: Clinton accused Sanders of running a nasty campaign of insinuation and innuendo, during the last debate, arguing when Sanders’ talks about the campaign donations she and others have received from Wall Street he is implying that they have been bought or influenced. “If you’ve got something to say, say it,” she said to him straight on, in the most fiery exchanges in the race so far between the two Democratic candidates. In the week since, Sanders has stuck to his own talking points, but Clinton has changed hers. She accused the Vermont Senator of hypocrisy, citing the fact that he previously took money for his senate races from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and that the DSCC had in turn taken money from lobbyists with the financial industry. Sanders campaign called Clinton’s line of attack “absurd,” “false,” and “dishonest.” The question now – will Clinton standby those accusations on the main stage.

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