As the upcoming democratic debate looms, this Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) has a lot to prove. As he attempts to build his campaign on the idea that he is the best and only candidate to beat Donald Trump, he continues to face pushback regarding his fitness for office, specifically, his recent heart attack.

Progressive enforcer?

While Sanders already has a dedicated base of supporters, who are committed to him and will most likely stay committed, it couldn't hurt him to try to appeal to voters who like him but tend to lean towards one of his ideologically similar competitors, Sen.

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for fear that his health concerns could hurt him in the fast-approaching general election. As he comes into the debate down in the money race according to his campaign, and with a campaign that has failed to stay consistently in the news, he will undoubtedly look to play the role of progressive enforcer alongside Elizabeth Warren, juxtaposing himself against people like former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator from California Kamala Harris and current Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.

(ABOVE: Sanders updates supporters about his condition and re-emphasizes his commitment to Medicare For All in a video posted to his YouTube account.)

Two debates ago, he was able to force himself into this role successfully, forcibly rebutting the attacks of Sen Tim Ryan of Ohio about the contents of his signature policy proposal, Medicare For All with the memorable line "I wrote the d*mn bill!"

But in the most recent September Democratic Debate, Sanders seemed to let Elizabeth Warren take center stage, fending off attacks from people like Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, and other more moderate Democratic senators, many of whom have since failed to break new ground in the polls.

Sanders remained strong but was relatively quiet in the center of the debate stage, at times sounding a bit hoarse, perhaps a precursor of the health issues to come.

In this debate, Sanders will face a bigger and more moderate debate stage than any time previously in the 2020 primary cycle and will have to come prepared with sharp remarks, not only about his health and mental fitness *audible sigh of relief from Joe Biden* but his key policy proposals which will likely come from all sides, including the moderators, who have been hostile to Sanders in the past.

In other words, the pressure will be on and the stakes will be even higher for the campaign.

More than just a campaign?

Bernie's campaign is about far more than just individual debate performances. It is about rallying the truly multiracial and multicultural working class behind the first agenda presented on a national stage that will actually work for them. But a strong and memorable debate performance is the not-so-secret wish of every campaign, and on Tuesday night, that will be no different for Bernie Sanders.