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Senator Sanders has been drawing massive crowds from coast to coast, but he hasn't been able to directly confront his top rival in the Democratic primary until tonight.
It's hard to overstate how different these two candidates are. Senator Sanders is an unabashed Democratic-Socialist who often speaks without notes and from the heart. Secretary Clinton is a seasoned politician and, for better or worse, has a team of people fine tuning her stump speech and every word she speaks.
I have a feeling that Senator Sanders has the upper hand with this debate because he is well versed in a wide swath of issues near and dear to the Democratic base and he is not afraid to speak his mind. He's also grown used to speaking in front of crowds and has no problem thinking of things to say on the fly. He's not prone to using talking points and I think that gives him an advantage when it comes to how debates are structured.
If Senator Sanders has a good night then that will undoubtedly help his campaign. He has never debated Secretary Clinton and if he is able to prove that he can stand toe to toe with her then that can go a long way. If he stumbles and has difficulty responding to Secretary Clinton then he may fall as fast as he rose. That's why this is a make or break debate for Senator Sanders.