ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) - The ninth Democratic debate will include a new contender. Michael Bloomberg will take the stage for the first time Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
"Whole bunch of people in the latest polls bunched up around 12 to 14 percent," said RCTC instructor Chad Israelson. "Bloomberg is one of them."
While the field for the 2020 presidential Democratic candidacy is crowded, Bernie Sanders has emerged as the race's front runner.
"For Sanders, one of his strong suits is the fact that he's authentic. He's never hid who he his," Israelson said. "He just had to keep doing that, being Bernie Sanders essentially."
Sanders has been labeled as Socialist, but the RCTC instructor claims this is an unfair accusation.
"In reality, Sanders' policies are similar to an FDR New Deal program," clarified Israelson. "Overall, things like minimum wage and that sort of thing, those are things supported by a majority of Americans."
He says tonight's debate will not change the race too much by itself, but it gives an opportunity for a main challenger against Sanders to be introduced.
"It'll be really interesting to see who emerges as the moderate opponent for Sanders. I think Sanders is going to maintain a top 2 status for the forseeable future," said Israelson.
As for who that challenger might be, there are a lot of options.
However, Israelson cites Joe Biden as the one that has underperformed the most, hurting his chances.
"Once that image takes a hit, it's very hard to reclaim it," said the instructor. "As far a Buttigieg and Klobuchar, I'd say those are your best bets to stick around in the long run."
Some years a candidate has wrapped up the Democratic nomination by March.
"Probably not going to be the case this year," predicts Israelson. "That's the interesting thing about the debate tonight. It feels very wide open."
The field is expected to thin out after Super Tuesday on March 3rd, but for now all the candidates focus is on the looming Nevada caucus.