The Democrats have their first debate tonight, what should you be looking for? That topic and more on The Chad Hasty Show today.

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Democrats to Debate

The first Democratic debate is tonight on CNN. Vice President Joe Biden won't be participating but you can bet that he will be watching Hillary Clinton. According to CNN, the question for many is, will Hillary Clinton be under attack?

If presidential campaigns were decathlons, Tuesday's CNN debate from Las Vegas would be Hillary Clinton's event.

The former secretary of state took part in 25 debates in the 2008 cycle and was a strong, commanding presence in each.

Fluent in detail, crisp in delivery, Clinton is comfortable on a debate stage and has no problem jousting with opponents when the moments arise. Expect all of that to be on display Tuesday in Vegas.

But her task, as the undisputed front-runner and putative nominee, will be to give Democrats reason to believe.

There has been a strange disconnect between Clinton and Democratic voters this year and a sense of resignation, rather than excitement, about her candidacy. This challenge is reflected in the contrast between the large, enthusiastic crowds Sen. Bernie Sanders is drawing with his populist crusade and the more tepid reaction Clinton is generating. (To be fair, the word from the trail is that for all the jitters about the relative size of her crowds, she is connecting well in the small rooms and town hall meetings, which is meaningful in the early states.)

Whatever else you think about him, Sanders is utterly authentic. And right now, that is Clinton's challenge. It has been exacerbated by her clumsy, ever-evolving approach to the email issue -- something certain to come up again in the debate -- and her rapid-fire race to the left to co-opt Sanders' positions on trade, climate change and other issues that fire up the Democratic base.

Clinton's mission on Tuesday is to rise above the tactical and present a coherent, value-laden vision that will make her flood of policy papers seem like something more than positions of convenience.

I expect that there will be few fireworks between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. However, watch for Martin O'Malley to go after Hillary Clinton and possibly Bernie Sanders. O'Malley wanted to be the alternative candidate to Clinton and so far, it hasn't worked out.

Cruzing in Iowa

While the Democrats prepare to debate, Ted Cruz is busy in Iowa and will be for a while according to the Texas Tribune.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is planning an aggressive schedule of events in Iowa as his presidential campaign increases its overall focus on the first early-voting state.

This month alone, Cruz is scheduled to hold nearly two-dozen events during three trips to the state. The busiest swing begins Monday, with an itinerary that has Cruz crisscrossing Iowa for 13 stops over three days.

For Cruz's presidential effort, the increased travel is the latest part of a gradual ramp-up in the Hawkeye State. He recently opened his campaign's first office in Iowa, and his team is growing its paid staff there to oversee an army of volunteers.

Bryan English, Cruz's top staffer in Iowa, said the campaign has for months planned to turn more of its attention to the state after Labor Day. Prior to the holiday, Cruz balanced his Hawkeye State efforts with a push to lay groundwork in places deeper into the primary calendar, including the several southern states set to vote March 1 in what is being called the “SEC primary.”

“This strategy is really showing the strength and the breadth of the Cruz operation,” English said. “We intend to do well in the first three states but we also understand the calendar and the environment demand we take a national approach to this.”

Team Cruz knows that Iowa is still very much up for grabs. Scott Walker once led there, Ben Carson is doing well, and Donald Trump still leads. Cruz is setting himself up to be the conservative in Iowa who can actually win the election. It's good that he is increasing his appearances.