Hitherto, there has been a sharp difference of tone between the Republican and Democratic primaries. If the Republican contest has often felt like professional wrestling, with outsized personalities insulting each other, the Democratic race has felt more like a genial tea-time meet-up, with the various contestants outdoing each other in trying to be civil to each other.
Time and again, Bernie Sanders has refrained from landing a truly devastating blow and has in fact defended Hillary Clinton on matters like the email scandal that might, in less polite debates, be used as fodder for an attack. For that matter, Hillary Clinton has refrained from making the obvious point that a self-declared socialist might have a hard time winning the presidency.
But with the mini-scandal over Sanders staffers illicitly downloading information from Clinton voter database, the era of civility on the Democratic side might be over. While the issue has been resolved, there has been much ill will over the last few days, with the Sanders camp complaining that the DNC is biased toward Clinton and the DNC threatening to block the Sanders camp from any access to the voter database system. So the open question going into the debate is: Will we finally see candidates who are out for blood?