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How Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren both think they can win tonight's debate

Biden and Warren are, and are likely to continue to be, yin and yang in the battle to be the standard democratic bearer in the 2020 election. Biden is establishment, incremental and pragmatic. Warren is an outsider, swing-for-the-fence and idealistic. Biden has been the breed's foremost runner since the beginning. Warren quickly steals the limelight from Bernie Sanders within the party's progressive wing.

They represent roughly the two paths ahead of Democratic voters, who will spend the next few months figuring out which option has a better chance of defeating President Donald Trump. And, remarkably, they have never shared a stage of debate before.

All this means that we ̵

1; and they – will be in uncharted territory tonight. Which is exciting!

As I said, both candidates have already given very clear tips on what they consider to be the other's biggest weakness, and a close reading of these comments tells a lot about the basis on which Thursday's debate will be fought. between its two main players.

Let's start with how Warren will attack Biden.

During the recent weekend in New Hampshire, all the major candidates – including Biden and Warren – were in the state for the Democratic Party's annual congress. Therefore, from the scene and with thousands of loyal Democrats cheering her on every word, Warren said this:

"There's a lot at stake, and people are scared. But we can't pick a candidate we don't believe in because we're scared . "

If you think that a) that line was unintentional or b) it was not directed directly to Biden's eligibility argument, there is a very hot video company called Blockbuster. I would like to sell you.

Warren & # 39; s line struck me as a direct rejection of Jill Biden's New Hampshire statement last month that eligibility is all that Democrats should care about.

"Your candidate may be better at, I don't know, health care, than Joe is, but you have to look at who wins this election," Jill Biden said. "And maybe you have to swallow a bit and say, & # 39; OK, I personally like that and so much better, & # 39; but your core has to be that we have to beat Trump."

What Warren said, essentially, was this: We all want to beat Trump. But you do not need to jeopardize your beliefs to achieve this result. Don't vote for someone you don't believe in just because he says the only thing that's important is beating Trump and he's the best person to do it.

But Biden has prepared a counter-argument.

"I expect you will see Biden realizing an important point he made during last week's climate forum: We need more than plans, we need a president who can deliver progress on the most pressing issues facing Americans – which Joe Biden has proven he can throughout his career, "a Biden adviser told CNN earlier this week.

The plans are not enough, again, a very purposeful shot against Warren – though her name was not invoked by the counselor – who has stated her entire candidacy on the idea that she has a detailed plan for everything and everything.

Biden's team sees the contrast between his years of fighting and winning political battles and Wear's years spent in academia and her relative lack of legislative performance during her seven years in the Senate.

One of these two candidates has done things and one has talked about what she would do, goes the Biden argument.

Now it is possible that Biden and Warren will decide that tonight is not the time to air these attacks in front of millions of people watching TV. Or that a moment never presents itself where the hits feel like they make sense.

But make no mistake: These are the two that define the contrasts of the Democratic primary struggle – unless not until another candidate (Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg are the most likely alternatives) shows that they belong in the top tier.

Doing to talk. Vote from fear versus vote for hope. Insider versus outsider. A return to normal versus major structural change. It is this heart that the struggle for the hearts and minds of democratic voters will turn. And that fight will probably start in earnest tonight.

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