No-shows for the revolution
Bernie Sanders' case that he's the Democrats' best hope for beating President Donald Trump is based on a theory that he and his revolutionary agenda can bring out new voters like no one else. On Super Tuesday, that didn't work out for him.
"Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing in young people in? And the answer is ‘no,’ ” Sanders acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday in Burlington, Vermont. "We’re making some progress, but historically everybody knows that young people do not vote in the kind of numbers that older people vote," he said. "I think that will change in the general election."
For Sanders, that might be too late to check the rise of Joe Biden. In upcoming primaries, The Associated Press writes, Sanders needs to draw more older voters away from Biden to his side, while also bringing out his younger supporters at even higher levels than before.
“Several of the big states in the Midwest coming up — Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio — they tend to be older states,” said William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The issue with Bernie’s coalition is they’re iffy with turnout.”
In states like Virginia and North Carolina where turnout surged, Biden appeared to be the beneficiary. Sanders remained weak among Democratic women, suburbanites and college graduates.
Sanders portrayed Biden as the candidate of corporate-aligned Democrats, out of line with the interests of working people. “What this campaign, I think, is increasingly about is, which side are you on?” Sanders said. But he looked to appeal to mainstream Democrats with a new ad featuring past praise of Sanders by former President Barack Obama. Though Obama back then was referring to Sanders' work on veterans issues, it easily could be mistaken for an endorsement video, Politico reported.
Biden, in West Hollywood, California, told reporters he would unify the country and rejected suggestions that he is beholden to an elite party establishment. “The establishment are all those hardworking people" who voted on Tuesday, he said.
Super Tuesday score card
The close Maine primary was called for Biden on Wednesday afternoon, giving him wins of 10 Super Tuesday states to four for Sanders.
Biden was poised to finish the 14-state contest with dozens more delegates than Sanders — a stunning shift — even though the Vermont senator won California, the top prize. Sanders’ team had hoped he would finish the night more than 100 delegates ahead, The Associated Press reported.
Newsday's delegate tracker has the totals from the primaries and caucuses so far.
Bloomberg cuts his losses
Mike Bloomberg looked at the numbers from Super Tuesday and saw his number was up as a presidential candidate. On the morning after, he announced his withdrawal and endorsed Biden, reports Newsday's Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
“Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump," Bloomberg said in a campaign statement. "Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump — because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult.”
After investing more than $570 million — a thin slice of his $61 billion fortune — Bloomberg nailed only a single victory, in American Samoa, and a handful of delegates as an also-ran in the states in play. Still-incomplete results show he won 53 delegates, according to Politico, suggesting a return of roughly $10 million per delegate.
He pledged to keep spending big in support of Democrats' hopes to triumph in November.
Showing emotion that wasn't seen when he campaigned, Bloomberg became tearful while closing his speech Wednesday, saying he was “amazed at how many people have stood with me shoulder to shoulder.”
Warren didn't have plan for this
Super Tuesday's results dealt a brutal blow to Elizabeth Warren, who stayed out of sight Wednesday. Campaign manager Roger Lau wrote staffers that she "is talking with our team to assess the path forward." She was home in Massachusetts, where she came in third to Biden and Sanders.
The timing for Warren’s decision is unclear, Politico reported, as is any plan to make an endorsement if she leaves the race. Several allies outside the campaign said that it was not a given that she would throw her support behind Sanders, a fellow progressive. Sanders said he spoke to Warren and would stay back to give her the time and space she needed to make a decision.
Trump wasn't done with mocking one of his favorite targets, complete with the usual slur on her past assertion of Native American heritage. Arguing she took votes away from Sanders, Trump tweeted: "Our modern day Pocahontas won’t go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER!"
It's Obama's fault?
Trump has been coming up short on his predictions about the COVID-19 coronavirus, whether it's about having turned the corner on the outbreak (it got bigger) or suggesting a vaccine was close to being at hand (it's more like 12 to 18 months).
On Wednesday, he went back to a standby — blaming Obama — for stumbles in rolling out testing.
"The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we're doing," Trump said. "And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more rapid and accurate fashion."
An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who chaired a committee on health while Obama was president, told CNN the Obama administration made no such rule change. The aide, Taylor Haulsee, said the Obama administration did propose that the Food and Drug Administration have more oversight over approving diagnostic tests, but that did not go through.
Alexander served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions while those changes were being considered. A policy expert at the Association of Public Health Laboratories agreed with Haulsee’s assessment.
Trump plays jam Sessions
In a week when much wasn't going his way, The New York Times reported, Trump took comfort from an opportunity to revisit an old pastime: belittling his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
The cause for Trump's celebration was that Sessions will be forced into a runoff with a Republican primary opponent in a bid to win back his old Senate seat from Alabama. Trump portrayed the result of a kind of karmic justice. The president tweeted:
“This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!”
What else is happening:
- When animal rights protesters rushed the Los Angeles stage where Biden was speaking Tuesday night, one was physically intercepted and restrained by the candidate's wife, Jill Biden, and senior campaign aide Symone Sanders. CNN reports the Secret Service is speeding up plans to start protecting Biden and Bernie Sanders.
- Will the next Democratic debate in Phoenix on March 15 be a mano-a-mano match between Biden and Sanders? Long shot Tulsi Gabbard could have made the cut under the previous rules, but the DNC is revising them. Warren may be out by then. In any case, the days when the crowded field made the debates look like an open mic night are over.
- With Bloomberg's campaign at an end, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, John Micklethwait, has lifted restrictions on how the news organization covers the presidential race.
- Following Biden's Super Tuesday successes, Senate Republicans announced a new phase in their investigation targeting the former vice president and his son Hunter, Politico reported. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he is likely to release interim findings within one to two months on Hunter Biden’s ties to Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Johnson insisted his timing has nothing to do with the election calendar.
- Three prominent Long Island Democrats have switched their 2020 allegiances to Biden. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) previously supported Bloomberg. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) went first for Beto O'Rourke, then Pete Buttigieg.
- In a meeting with airline CEOs about the coronavirus impact, Trump talked about a health precaution people have been advised to follow. “I haven’t touched my face in weeks!” he joked. “I miss it.” Actually, he has been seen doing that, Politico reported.