Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally Monday...

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally Monday in Richmond, Calif. Credit: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Jackpot for Bernie?

Advisers for rival campaigns tell Politico they see little chance of keeping Bernie Sanders from winning Nevada's Democratic caucus on Saturday.

"The rest of the field is so fragmented, and he has his base locked, that he can continue winning just by holding onto his base," said Andres Ramirez, a Nevada-based Democratic strategist and former vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Caucus.

Few expect that Sanders can carry more than a third of the vote in Nevada, but nearly everyone believes that will be enough to win in a field where the moderate vote remains splintered, according to the report.

That's raising the stakes for Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar to come in second, and for Sanders' progressive-wing rival, Elizabeth Warren, to make a respectable showing.

Polling suggests Biden, humiliated in Iowa and New Hampshire, may have the best shot of pumping life into his candidacy. He said he believes he has “a shot at winning” Nevada but that he does not have to.

Biden is contending with voters who once were sold on his electability but are having second thoughts after the first two nominating contests. The New York Times reports that when Biden took questions from a Reno audience on Monday, a supporter lavished praise on him but then asked pointedly: “What the heck is going on with your campaign?”

Biden responded that it was “a good question” and “a legitimate question,” before noting Iowa’s lack of racial diversity. Another Biden supporter, Barbara Bell, when asked about her level of confidence that Biden would win the nomination, responded, “Well, it was a lot higher a month ago.”

Janison: Party crashers

Commanding fortunes built in New York aren't the only similarities between Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, writes Newsday's Dan Janison. Neither is deeply rooted either in the political party chosen as the platform for his presidential ambitions, or in the parties' orthodoxies.

In 2016, Republicans embraced Trump, a relatively recent member of the opposing party who trashed fiscal conservatism, "free trade," many party figures and American exceptionalism.

In 2020, Democrats get to consider nominating a relatively recent member of the GOP. Bloomberg was a Democrat, then a Republican, then an independent, and due to circumstance and tactics, he has bought in to be a Democrat again. Alternatively, they could choose Sanders, who remains registered as an independent.

It's political outsourcing — reaching past party-grown candidates for a less-than-hard-core partisan — in search of a competitive edge.

The ex-mayor's bid to carry the national party banner comes under crossfire from other candidates Wednesday now that he has qualified for the debate stage in Nevada. A new NPR/PBSNewsHour/Marist poll of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide shows Bloomberg in second place at 19%, with Sanders leading at 31%.

Bloomberg's all green thumbs

Another clip from the archives required urgent care from Bloomberg's spin doctors.

In a 2016 discussion at the University of Oxford's business school in England, Bloomberg said farming required less "gray matter" than modern work.

"I could teach anybody, even people in this room, to be a farmer. It's a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn," Bloomberg explained.

His spokesman Stu Loeser said a version of the clip, circulated widely by Trump allies, edited out remarks that showed Bloomberg was talking about agrarian societies of the past, not the present.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg's campaign was readying for release two new ads touting the billionaire former New York mayor's commitment to racial justice. It comes after a week of scrutiny over his past comments defending stop-and-frisk policing and placing blame for the 2008 financial collapse on an end to the racially discriminatory lending practice of redlining.

This sound like a witch hunt?

Trump's White House has never given up on trying to unmask "Anonymous," the senior official who wrote in a 2018 op-ed and subsequent book about being part of a secret "resistance" within the administration.

Axios reports officials are discussing a reassignment for deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates, who has been the target of a whispering campaign tagging her as Anonymous. She has denied the accusation to colleagues, and one of the literary agents for the secret author said explicitly it's not her.

Coates was an original member of Trump's national security team, brought in during the transition by his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Meanwhile, Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro has been freelancing as a sleuth to try to expose Anonymous and shared his findings with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who leads the internal investigation, according to the Daily Beast.

Federal judges pull the alarm

A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group’s president told USA Today on Monday.

Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe said the Federal Judges Association “could not wait” until its spring conference to weigh in on a deepening crisis that has enveloped the department and Attorney General William Barr.

Rufe said the judges' association is “not inclined to get involved with an ongoing case,” but she voiced strong support for Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding in the Roger Stone case and has been attacked on Twitter by Trump.

The count of former Justice officials calling on Barr to resign grew to more than 2,000 on Monday.

Which president's day?

Trump said in his State of the Union speech this month: “Our economy is the best it has ever been.” Axios ran the numbers for average yearly GDP growth during each of the last 10 presidential terms, starting with Ronald Reagan. Trump's ranked sixth.

Barack Obama's two terms ranked seventh and eighth, but the former president took to Twitter to claim some credit for gains since he left office:

"Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history."

Trump's campaign took exception to that, and Trump, after a quiet Presidents Day, fired up his Twitter: "Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration."

What else is happening:

  • A voter in Reno asked Buttigieg what he'd do if he won the election but Trump refused to leave the White House. His first answer: “If he won’t leave, I guess if he’s willing to do chores, we can work something out." More seriously, he added, the goal is to win big — "way beyond cheating distance."
  • Former national security adviser John Bolton, speaking at Duke University, hinted the Ukraine story he didn't get to tell at Trump's impeachment trial is nothing compared to what's coming up in his book. "I view that like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae in terms of what’s in the book,” he said. Asked if he agrees with Trump that his call with Ukraine's president was perfect, Bolton replied simply: “You’ll love Chapter 14.
  • The New York Times reports that Bloomberg's rise in the polls has added to the pressures and unease faced by journalists at Bloomberg News, whose reporting on him and his Democratic rivals was placed under restrictions after he entered the race.
  • Since impeachment, it's never been worse between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but they can still at times be on the same side. At NATO headquarters in Brussels, Pelosi urged allies to follow the U.S. lead and bar Chinese tech giant Huawei from member nations' 5G cellular networks. Otherwise, it would be “like having the state police, the Chinese state police, right in your pocket,” Pelosi said.
  • Meeting with governors at the White House last week, Trump mentioned a previously unclaimed talent: "Believe it or not, a long time ago, I was told I have a great ear for music by somebody. I took a test. They said, ‘He has a wonderful aptitude for music.’ I said, ‘I do?’ ”
From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

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