Bernie Sanders is facing the greatest test of his presidential campaign as his Democratic rivals prepare to launch a series of attacks on the Vermont senator during what could be a pivotal debate on the eve of the South Carolina primary.
With mounting fear among the Democratic establishment that the self-described democratic socialist is on the verge of gaining a significant lead in the delegates needed to secure the nomination, several candidates are resorting to a last ditch effort to stop him. The day before Tuesday night’s debate in Charleston, they previewed their lines of attack in a series of digital or television advertisements.
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, highlighted Sanders’ call for a government-financed health care system as an example of his “polarization.” Former Vice President Joe Biden accused Sanders of trying to undermine President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection. And former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg assailed Sanders’ record on gun control.
The new wave of infighting came just hours before seven Democrats were set to meet for the party’s 10th — and perhaps most consequential — debate of the 2020 primary season. And it marked a seminal moment in Sanders’ political career. After spending decades as an outside agitator accustomed to attacking the party establishment, he’s suddenly the one on defense.
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