Biden and Harris rematch in Detroit in second Democratic debate

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By Alex Seitz-Wald  with NBC News Politics
The second Democratic debate, hosted by CNN, is taking place over two night
The second Democratic debate, hosted by CNN, is taking place over two nights in Detroit with 10 candidates on stage each night.   -   Copyright  Elise Wrabetz NBC News

DETROIT — All eyes are on Joe Biden on Wednesday in the second night of the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate as he faces off again with two black senators with whom he's sparred on race.

The CNN-sponsored event here at the historic Fox Theatre kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, when the former vice president gets a rematch with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who was widely considered to have won their first encounter during the last debate in Miami in June.

As President Donald Trump stokes racial strife by attacking black members of Congress, Biden will also face Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who has called Biden "the architect of mass incarceration" over his sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill.

As the frontrunner in the crowded 2020 field, Biden has had a target on his back from day one, but recovered after slipping the polls in the last few weeks.

Wednesday night's debate will feature 10 candidates in total, most of whom are looking for the breakout moment they'll need to secure a spot in the next debate in September when the threshold to qualify gets raised.

The candidates fighting for political survival on stage include former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The first night of the debate on Tuesday was all about the progressive-moderate divide on health care, immigration and other issues when Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., teamed up to try to fend off attacks from a gang of lower-polling moderates.

There will be no Democratic debate in August. That puts pressure on candidates now to secure a spot in the fall, when they'll need 130,000 donations and to have the support of at least 2 percent of respondents in polls. The higher bar is expected to winnow the two-dozen person field dramatically.

This story will be frequently updated during the debate.