How the coronavirus may affect the Sanders-Biden debate

Tim O'Donnell

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden are still set to debate Sunday evening, but don't expect too many sparks to fly with everyone's minds focused heavily on the novel coronavirus, Politico reports.

Sanders, for a while, was expected to go after Biden — who has emerged as the frontrunner — and try to expose his weak spots in an effort to regain some momentum, but now it sounds like he wants to avoid being too confrontational and instead wants to amplify Democrats' call for unity in a challenging time. "Bernie's going to be careful about not looking too political — too electoral — and being the guy who says, 'Well, I can get this many delegates and go on to the convention...' No. That's not where Americans' heads are at," a Sanders adviser told Politico. "People are worrying about their families. They're at the grocery store buying batteries."

That said, Sanders will reportedly try to take advantage of the fact that health care, which is always viewed as one of the most significant issues, will sit squarely at the center of the debate. Per Politico, he figures to press Biden on his opposition to Medicare-for-all, as well as why he advocated for cutting social security in the past. Still, the debate will likely remain grounded in policy rather than "an all-out assault," said Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders. Read more at Politico.

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