The next Democratic debate is Wednesday in Las Vegas, and two big questions revolve around Michael Bloomberg: Will he qualify for the stage? And, if so, would he actually show up even though he's not on the state ballot? So far, five candidates have qualified for the debate, reports CBS News: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg (along with Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard) has until midnight Tuesday to make the cut, and tweaked qualification rules make it very possible he will do so. Bloomberg needs to hit 10% in just one more national or state poll before then, reports the Hill.
The wild card at play: Bloomberg is not on the ballot in the state's caucuses Saturday, so he would have little to gain in terms of Nevada. But as of now, "if Mike qualifies, he will debate,” a spokeswoman tells the Hill. Bloomberg would likely be a prime target on stage, and a former media adviser of his thinks he should steer clear if he qualifies. Sure, a strong performance would only help his campaign, writes Arick Wierson at CNN. "But the chances of him coming off as dry, lacking empathy, and somewhat mechanical loom large—I would know." (That's because Wierson worked with Bloomberg for almost nine years, including as his senior media adviser.) Bloomberg also is not on the ballot for the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29; his first big test with voters is coming March 3 on Super Tuesday. (Read more Michael Bloomberg 2020 stories.)