Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren caught something of a break at Friday’s random dividing of the Democratic debate schedule, emerging as the strongest candidate on the first of two debates and dodging what’s shaping up to be a Joe Biden pile-on during the second.
Frontrunner Biden is scheduled to come face-to-face with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a grassroots favorite from Vermont; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s had a surprisingly strong showing so far; and Sen. Kamala Harris of California on the second night of debates. The division all but guarantees that Biden will be playing defense against some of his stronger opponents.
Biden faces a second risk in his debate, which features Buttigieg, 37, and California Rep. Eric Swalwell, 38, who will have an opportunity to cast him and Sanders as septuagenarians out of step with the party’s younger voters.
For her part, Warren will face her strongest competitors on June 26 from fellow Sens. Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. Still, it’s tough to see ideological fireworks here. Booker has co-sponsored nine of Warren’s bills in this Congress, while Klobuchar has signed onto 10 of Warren’s proposals, and Warren has backed four of Klobuchar’s and seven of Booker’s bills. The trio, advisers say, actually like one another, and the Senate’s long tradition of comity might make it hard to attack each other anyway.