+ JOE BIDEN - The former Vice President remains the overall front runner in the Democratic race, though his first debate had some rusty moments in late June, as it was the first time since 2008 that Biden had been up on a debate stage with other Democrats. On either side of him will be Kamala Harris - who tangled with Biden in the first debate over race issues - and Cory Booker, who has made clear he's going to go after Biden as well. We'll see how well the Delaware Democrat has prepped for this second round.
+ KAMALA HARRIS - Harris made big inroads in that first debate by going after Biden on race, and it's been shown in the polls, as she is above Pete Buttigieg, firmly established in the top four of this race. Does Harris repeat her attacks on Biden in this second debate? Or does she try to do more to introduce herself to voters, since we are still in the early stages of the 2020 race? Also - will any of the trailing candidates take aim at Harris, or only fire at Biden?
+ CORY BOOKER - With Harris on one side of Biden, Cory Booker will be on the other, and he has made clear in recent days that he is going to try to take on Biden - like Harris did in the first debate. Booker has qualified already for the next Democratic debate in September, but his poll numbers have him far behind the four big front runners, and trailing Buttigieg as well. Booker's campaign schedule is already busy for August, but we'll see in this second debate whether the New Jersey Democrat can really break through in the 2020 race.
+ JULIAN CASTRO - Castro had a decent debate in Miami, but his performance on the first night was overshadowed by the big showdown on the second night. This time, Castro will be in that second debate, and we'll see if that can change his luck. Castro has not yet qualified for the next debate in September, as he still needs better poll numbers overall. Castro won't have to deal with Beto O'Rourke in this debate, which raises an interesting strategy question for Castro - who does he go after on stage?
+ JAY INSLEE - Inslee is another Governor who has had difficulty getting traction in the Democratic race. Like last month in Miami, Inslee has been in the Detroit area doing events for several days before this event, focusing on pollution, water problems in Flint, and pressing his main issue of climate change. Back home in the Pacific Northwest, his supporters understand the Washington Governor needs to make a name for himself, or he could be in danger of not qualifying for the September debate in Houston.
+ KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND - The New York Senator is yet another member of the Democratic field who just hasn't been able to catch fire in this race. With Biden in the middle of the stage tonight, that could give Gillibrand the opportunity to try to shake things up by going after the former Vice President. "Just like I did in the first debate, I'll keep speaking up about the issues we care about—and I won't back down when it comes to taking on the fights no one else will," Gillibrand said on Tuesday in Detroit. As of now, Gillibrand would not make the cut for the next debate in September.
+ TULSI GABBARD - In the first debate, Gabbard was on the first night, with her biggest moment coming when she tangled with Tim Ryan - which didn't exactly give her a boost. Now, Gabbard gets the chance to possibly reach up and take shots at Biden or Harris in this debate. Gabbard is in danger of not making the September debate, which makes this second night in Detroit very important for the future of her campaign.
+ MICHAEL BENNET - The Colorado Senator is much like the majority of Democratic candidates in these two debate nights in Detroit - his poll numbers are not high, he hasn't qualified for the next debate, and he's not even registering in some polls. One possible strategy for Bennet is to go after Kamala Harris on her new health care plans. Overall, Bennet finds himself in a difficult position.
+ BILL DE BLASIO - Again, it merits a mention that several Governors in this race, and the mayor of the biggest city in America are making a very small impact on the battle for the Democratic nomination for President. DeBlasio is barely making a dent in most polls, and it seems unlikely that he will be able to get enough contributions and high enough poll numbers to qualify for the next debate in Houston, scheduled for mid-September.
+ ANDREW YANG - Yang spoke for just under three minutes in the first debate in Miami - you read that right. Less than three minutes. But Yang often polls just ahead of the big mass of Democratic candidates who are desperately trying to stay alive in the 2020 race - and Yang seems like he will be able to get himself into the next debate in September, and maybe the one in October as well (unlike a lot of other candidates in the race). But it's hard to sell yourself to the voters when you get so little time to talk on stage. Last night, no candidate spoke for less than 8 minutes and 54 seconds - so Yang should get more of a platform from CNN on debate night number two.