This week’s Democratic debate on Thursday could determine the nomination, for all practical purposes. If Bernie Sanders loses big in New York, as polls suggest, his path to Philadelphia may be “condemned.” Hillary Clinton will have broken his string. Does that mean he’ll quit? I doubt it.

The importance of New York makes Thursday’s Debate in Brooklyn (sounds like the title of a boxing match), critical. If Bernie knocks out Hillary in this round, he has a shot at the title. (We got tired of “horse race” metaphors.) And by the way, we usually use first names for Dem candidates because “Clinton” still means “Bill” to most people, and Bernie has actually preferred using his first name (“feel the Bern,” etc.).

The candidates are not taking it easy. Hillary has delivered some body blows.

“I have noticed that under the bright spotlight and scrutiny here in New York, Sen. Sanders has had trouble answering questions,” Clinton said, a reference to the senator’s interview with the New York Daily News editorial board. “He has had trouble answering questions about his core issue, namely, dealing with the banks. He has had trouble answering foreign policy questions.”

Sanders struggled to cite how he would break up big banks during his interview with the New York paper, a fact the Clinton campaign has revisited repeatedly ahead of the April 19 primary in New York. . .

But NewsHub suggests she should not question Bernie’s right to run as a Democrat.

Trying to insinuate that only “real” Democrats should be allowed to run for office through the Democratic Party is a risky tactic. How many of Clinton’s fellow endorsers used to not be Democrats? The political sphere is riddled with “turncoats” and “evolvers” who switched from one party to another. And Clinton is among them: As a teenager, the devout conservative was a volunteer “Goldwater Girl” for 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

And, in this corner, Bernie has been hitting hard on the environment.

Bernie Sanders, campaigning across New York State on Monday, called for a nationwide ban on fracking and pointedly criticized Hillary Clinton for her record and stances on environmental issues. . .

The senator also pushed back against many who question whether Mr. Sanders’s proposed policies — a single-payer health care system, tuition-free public colleges and an expansion of Social Security — are achievable.

“What may have been considered unrealistic or pie in the sky just a few years ago has now been achieved in New York because you made it happen,” Mr. Sanders said.

Here’s a Bernie “left hook” on fracking:

But when it comes to campaign commercials, you can’t beat having the “Voice of God” in your corner—Morgan Freeman.

Meanwhile, Hillary is jabbing Bernie on guns.

When challenged on his gun stances, he frequently says, I represent Vermont; it’s a small rural state. Here is what I want you to know: Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state, she said.

And the state that has the highest per-capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont. This is not, Oh no, I live in a rural state, we don’t have any of these problems.

The LA Times has offered questions that should be asked (edited for space).

FINANCIAL REGULATION–What’s wrong with your opponent’s plan? Why shouldn’t we take both measures?

FINANCIAL TRANSFER TAX–Sanders has called for a tax on financial trading as a way to raise federal revenue. . .Clinton. . .called for a much narrower tax only on computer-driven “high-frequency trading.”

PANAMA PAPERS–Is there anything the next president should do to fix this problem? Is there anything more the federal government can do to stop U.S. corporations and individuals from avoiding taxes by stashing money abroad?

ISLAMIC STATE–Should the United States lead a ground force — including U.S. troops — to take Raqqa?

NATION BUILDING–Should the United States return to the Cold War approach of supporting autocratic regimes — in Egypt, for example — in search of more stability?

DEALING WITH CONGRESS–How do you propose to avoid continued gridlock and dysfunction? Or will you aim for confrontation, and organize your presidency around the goal of capturing both houses of Congress in 2018?

OBAMA–What are the biggest mistakes Obama has made, and what have you learned from them?

Those are tough questions. And if Bernie is knocked to the mat, going back to the initial question, should Bernie Quit? Hillary apparently doesn’t think so.

“Let’s remember, I went all the way to the end in 2008,” Clinton said, referring to her Democratic primary race against then-Sen. Barack Obama. “I am not making any comment about how hard anybody competes. I am for a good, tough contest.”

This year is reminiscent of the GOP 2012 campaign. The outsider, Ron Paul, fought to the end, against “the establishment candidate.” But Ron was denied a chance to even speak at the convention, due to brand new convention rule 40(b), written just for him! It increased from five to eight, the number of states whose majority support a candidate needed to get his name into nomination. Why not six or seven? Ron might have gotten seven.

The Democrats don’t have a rule like that. And Bernie is just as adamant as Ron was to get his points across. That’s why he’ll stay in the fight, why his individual donors will continue to give, and why Bernie will keep swinging like Rocky Balboa all the way up to the convention in “The City of Brotherly Love.”