Sanders Will Stay In Race, Though He Admits He’s Losing The ElectabilityArgument
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will stay in the Democratic presidential race, despite additional losses in nominating contests yesterday, and said he’s looking forward to a one-on-one debate with former Vice President Joe Biden onSunday.
After not speaking to supporters or reporters last night, Sanders delivered a prepared statement from his hometown ofBurlington.
He said his campaign is winning the ideological debate and, citing his support with young voters, the generational debate. But Sanders admitted he’s losing the debate over so-calledelectability.
“How many people our campaign has spoken to who have said, and I quote, ‘I like what your campaign stands for, I agree with what your campaign stands for, but I’m going to vote for Joe Biden because I think Joe is the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump,’ end of quote. We have heard that statement all over this country,” hesaid.
We’ll have more coverage of Sanders’ remarks here.
Michigan was the most-watched state last night, and it proved to be a decisive victory for Joe Biden. In fact, he topped Bernie Sanders in all of the state’scounties.
So how did Biden win? And how did Sanders, who edged Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016,lose?
As NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben reports, Biden improved upon Clinton’s 2016 Michigan showing across a variety of demographic groups, according to exit polls, including whitevoters:
“[W]hile black voters turned out for Clinton in 2016 and Biden this year at about the same rate, Biden performed better than her among whites. Four years ago, white voters preferred Sanders by 14 points. This year, they preferred Biden by 11points.”
Read more from Danielle here. And check out Domenico Montanaro’s takeaways here.
The big question today is over what Bernie Sanders will do next. The Vermont senator did not speak last night as Joe Biden racked up big wins, and he does not have campaign eventsscheduled.
Asked on CNN this morning if Sanders will speak publicly today, campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said, “Absolutely, he will speak with the public. I think we were waiting forresults.”
Sanders was projected this morning as the winner in North Dakota, and the final call from Washington state is outstanding. Biden swept the other four states that voted on Tuesday: Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi andMissouri.
Khanna also expects Sanders to participate in the next debate, scheduled for Sunday in Arizona, though without an audience due to coronavirusconcerns.
He said Sanders is clear that, “Less than half the delegates have been counted, that debates can change the conversation, and he’s committed to going forward with the debate and laying out his vision.” Khanna pointed to how the New Hampshire debate shook up that race and catapulted Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar to a third-place finishthere.
If Biden continues to march to the nomination, the Sanders campaign co-chair also suggested that they will need to come together on policy positions, typically hashed out over the party platform adopted at theconvention.
“He and most of his supporters, certainly people like me, will be 110% in for the nominee,” Khanna said. “But he believes, and I believe, that the way to get the buy-in of folks to support whoever the nominee may be is to let a democratic process play out, and to make sure, actually, that when you’re talking about unity that it’s unity around certain policypositions.”
North Dakota, with 14 delegates, is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ first win out of Tuesday’s contests, as projected by the Associated Press. The state held caucuses, a format that has been more favorable to Sanders in the last twocampaigns.
Votes in Washington are cast via mail or are dropped off at a ballot box, with the state counting a significant number of ballots on election day. But once the first update is released, election officials give only daily updates until all late-arriving ballots aretallied.
In the first batch of results, released late Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were essentially tied, with each winning about 33% of the roughly 1 million votescounted.
Washington is one of six states that voted in tonight’s Big Tuesday contests; Biden has claimed victory in Michigan, Missouri andMississippi.
Biden Aide To Sanders Supporters: ‘We Would Love To HaveYou’
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign welcomes Bernie Sanders supporters with open arms, Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, toldNPR.
After another night of victories for Biden — Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi have been called for him so far — Bedingfield stressed unity among Democratic voters, extending an olive branch to Sanderssupporters.
“I think there is more commonality between us than there are divisions, and we’d absolutely welcome them to our movement,” Bedingfield said. “Anybody who wants to beat Donald Trump, come on over to the Biden campaign. We would love to haveyou."
Bedingfield argued that tonight’s results underscore Biden’s coalition-buildingcapacity.
“I think you saw Joe Biden building the coalition of voters that we have to turn out in order to beat Donald Trump in November,” Bedingfield said. She also cited record turnout in some of today’scontests.
Bedingfield said, “Democrats have decided that Joe Biden is the guy that they want in the White House and that they believe can beat Donald Trump.” But she did not go so far as to urge the end of the primary process, as Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., did earliertonight.
“I’ll obviously let Senator Sanders and their campaign make a decision about how they want to proceed,” Bedingfieldsaid.
Acknowledging his lead, Biden asked voters to join hiscampaign.
“We need you, we want you, and there’s a place in our campaign for each of you,” the former vice presidentadded.
Biden also spoke directly to supporters of Sanders. “I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion. We share a common goal, and together we’ll defeat Donald Trump. We’ll defeat him together,” Bidensaid.
Biden also touted his slew of recent endorsements from former Democratic presidential candidates, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor PeteButtigieg.
According to NPR’s delegate tracker, as of 11:30 p.m. ET, Biden has accumulated a total of 809 delegates, compared with Sanders’ 654. To obtain the Democratic nomination, a candidate needs at least 1,991delegates.
Trump Ally: 2020 Could Be Replay Of ‘Swamp Vs. TheOutsider’
If former Vice President Joe Biden becomes the Democratic nominee, the Trump campaign will seek to paint him as a Washington insider and will highlight his frequent verbal missteps, a close ally of President Trump told NPR onTuesday.
“It looks like tonight’s going to be another good evening for former Vice President Biden, which means it’s going to be a regurgitation of the swamp versus the outsider,” said Corey Lewandowski, a campaign manager during Trump’s first run for office, who remains close to the WhiteHouse.
Trump, who had never before run for office, pledged to “drain the swamp” when he ran in 2016. Lewandowski described Biden as a figurehead of “the Washington, D.C., establishment” who is “exceptionally gaffe-prone on the campaign trail” — but noted that Biden overwhelmingly retains the support of African Americanvoters.
President Trump endorsed Tommy Tuberville, the former college football coach turned Republican Senate candidate, on Tuesday in the Alabama GOP Senateprimary.
In doing so, Trump spurned his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who is running against Tuberville in a runoff election on March 31. Sessions had previously held the seat he’s running for again between 1997 and2017.
“Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!” Trump tweeted, adding that Tuberville would protect people’s Second Amendment rights, which he said were “undersiege.”
The endorsement is an about-face from almost exactly four years ago, when Sessions became the first sitting senator to endorse Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Their relationship has soured considerably sincethen.
After less than two years as attorney general, Sessions stepped down in 2018 after considerable criticism from Trump over his handling of the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. After Sessions was unable to secure a majority last week in his race to reclaim a Senate seat in Alabama, Trump again referenced the investigation to criticizeSessions.
“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,” Trump wrote. “Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scambegins!”
Tuberville, who coached at Auburn University for nine years, has also attacked Sessions for recusing himself from the Russiainvestigation.
“I don’t think you can win in this state unless you got President Trump,” Tuberville said lastyear.
Former Vice President Joe Biden expanded his delegate lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Biden’s lead now stands at 156 delegates, as of 10:15 p.m.ET.
The former vice president has grabbed three victories so far tonight, in Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi. Biden currently has 783 delegates, 113 of which he picked up tonight; Sanders has 627 delegates, 53 of which he picked up tonight. Other candidates, including the several who have dropped out of the race already, have collected 165 delegates. Candidates need 1,991 delegates to clinch thenomination.
Idaho, North Dakota and Washington state also held primary contests today, but results have not yet been reported. There are still 186 delegates from tonight’s contests that have not been allocated, including 123 from those three states. And a handful of delegates from the Super Tuesday contests last week remainunallocated.
These numbers are expected to change frequently, as results continue to roll in. Follow the most up-to-date figures with NPR’s delegatetracker.
Jayapal: Coronavirus Fears Make Biden’s ‘Experience’Appealing
As fears grow about the spread of the coronavirus, Democratic voters are finding comfort in the experience of former Vice President Joe Biden, said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who represents Seattle, one of the cities hardest hit by thevirus.
“I do think that in those moments, people look to see who has experience that they can directly relate," saidJayapal.
“Obviously, Joe Biden as vice president did have that experience, and I think that that might be playing in,” Jayapal toldNPR.
Jayapal supports Sen. Bernie Sanders and said the race wasn’t over yet. Polls show progressive policy proposals like Sanders’ “Medicare for All” are intriguing voters, even in states where Biden won, she said. "The ideas that voters are drawn to are still those big ideas that take on some of the deep changes that people feel need to bemade."
Whoever wins the nomination will need to harness the enthusiasm from young, progressive and Latino voters who have backed Sanders, she said. “I don’t think we can gloss over the generationaldivide.”
"Their ideas need to be embraced, and we need to build an enthusiasm so people vote not only from fear but also from hope," saidJayapal.
13,000 Voters Used New Same-Day Registration InMichigan
For the first time, eligible Michiganders were able to register to vote today — the same day they cast theirballots.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that 13,000 people used the new rule to vote today, with almost half of those votes coming after 4:30 p.m. ET. That led to some long lines, Benson said, especially at county clerk offices in college towns such as Ann Arbor andKalamazoo.
Benson spun those lines as a netpositive.
“I think this reflects the significant amount of interests that young voters have had in our election today, first-time voters as well,” Bensonsaid.
Those first-time and young voters were not able to carry Sen. Bernie Sanders to victory in Michigan, however, despite him winning 77% of the under-30 vote, according to CNN’s exitpolls.
Tech entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden tonight following a string of three wins for Biden in Michigan, Missouri andMississippi.
Yang’s decision to endorse Biden comes after the entrepreneur supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in2016.
“I believe that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and I’ve always said I’m going to support whoever the nominee is, so I hereby am endorsing Joe Biden,” Yang said on CNN, where he is now acontributor.
Yang centered his presidential campaign on establishing universal basic income, advocating to give Americans $1,000 eachmonth.
Until tonight, Priorities USA — a Democratic superPAC that plans to spend $150 million on online and television advertising before the Democratic Party’s convention in July — had been neutral in therace.
That changed tonight.
“What tonight has made clear is that the delegate math is now a straight line to Joe Biden’s nomination,” the superPAC’s chairman, Guy Cecil, told NPR. "So we’re going to do everything we can to help him in the effort looking forward toNovember."
The superPAC has been up with online ads in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, and it starts television ads in Michigan tomorrow, Cecil said. The goal: to counter President Trump’s economic message and to fight back against attacks onBiden.
Cecil said the group hopes to work in concert with former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has pledged to commit significant money and staff to help the party’snominee.
Priorities USA worked with Bloomberg’s political operation to help back Senate and House candidates in 2018. "My expectation is we’ll do that again as they begin building their operation," Cecilsaid.
While the group has thrown its support behind Biden, Cecil said it is important to “honor” Sanders’ campaign and respect his voters so that the party’s wings can unify ahead of the general election. But he said he hopes that happenssoon.
"I think it’s really critical that Democrats move quickly to unify behind the likely nominee because we’re going to need everybody working together to really take on Donald Trump and his conservative allies,” Cecilsaid.
It’s another big night so far in the Democratic primaries for former Vice President JoeBiden.
Three states have now been projected for Biden, including Michigan — a key state in the race to become the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer in November. He clinched Mississippi and Missouri as soon as polls closed. This comes after he took 10 states last week in the Super Tuesdayraces.
We are still waiting on results from three states, but the ones called so far come with big delegate hauls, including Michigan’s125.
Losing Michigan is a blow to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had called it the “most important state” tonight, but he says there are still lots of states to go in the primaryrace.
As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Biden has 766 delegates to Sanders’ 618, according to NPR’s delegate tracker. Candidates need 1,991 to win thenomination.
Clyburn named several African American women politicians who he believes could be potential vice president picks for Biden, including California Sen. Kamala Harris and Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee and voting rights activist StaceyAbrams.
Clyburn also referenced Reps. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Val Demings of Florida and Karen Bass of California as potential choices, as well as Atlanta Mayor Keisha LanceBottoms.
Clyburn: If Sanders Doesn’t Win A State, DNC Should ‘Shut’ Down Primaries,Debates
South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn said that if Sen. Bernie Sanders fails to win any of the six primary contests on Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee should step in and end the primaries and any additionaldebates.
“I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates — because you don’t do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it’s obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you,” Clyburn said onNPR.
Clyburn, who endorsed Biden shortly before the South Carolina primary, which revived his campaign on Feb. 29, is credited with the Biden campaign’s dramatic turnaround.
Asked if Sanders should drop out, Clyburn sidestepped the question and instead pointed to the DNC as the entity that should force Sanders out of therace.
He repeated that Biden will be the “prohibitive nominee” and said that the DNC “should then step in, make an assessment and determine whether they ought to have any more debates.”
Clyburn said the 1988 primary contest was one case in which the party’s nominee suffered because of something another candidate used in a primaryattack.
He pointed to a famous political campaign ad used against then-Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis about Willie Horton, an inmate who was let out on a furlough program that Dukakis backed in Massachusetts and who then raped a woman and assaulted a man in Maryland. Clyburn noted that the television ad used by George H.W. Bush was credited to Republican political strategist and ad-maker Lee Atwater but originated from a primary attack by a fellow Democrat running against Dukakis — then-Sen. AlGore.
“People will say things,” Clyburn argued, “that you cannotovercome.”
Not all Democrats agree. Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell says the party needs to allow voters to decide and not force anyone out of the race, particularly when young voters in her state are turning out strongly forSanders.
‘Medicare For All’ Popular, But Not The Overriding VotingIssue
Democratic primary voters largely support replacing private health insurance with a government plan, according to publicly available exit polls paid for by most of the large television networks. Democrats also continue to say that health care is their topissue.
That would appear to be a boon for Bernie Sanders, given his support for “Medicare for All” compared with Joe Biden’s more incremental approach to improving on Obamacare. But Medicare for All doesn’t appear to have been the deciding factor for manyvoters.
In Mississippi and Missouri, two states that have already been called for Biden, Medicare for All is popular among Democratic primary voters — 62% in Mississippi and 57% in Missouri support replacing private health insurance with a governmentplan.
In Michigan, it’s also 57% support, and Biden is leading there. And that tracks with a pattern from Super Tuesday, when Biden won most states, despite Medicare for All’s popularity. Seebelow:
Michigan is the crown jewel of tonight’s primaries, with 125 delegates. Both candidates made big plays here. Joe Biden has spent years embracing voters in the state, including as vice president, and Bernie Sanders pulled off a big upset here in2016.
Former Vice President Joe Biden leads in Michigan and Washington opinion polls, according to multiple recent surveys over the past few weeks. A Biden win in either state or both could give the former vice president an important push ahead of Vermont Sen. BernieSanders.
Michigan has 125 delegates, and Washington has 89delegates.
Two polls from March 9 show Biden defeating Sanders in varied degrees. A Monmouth University Poll has the former vice president pulling in 51% compared with Sanders at 36%, while the Detroit Free Press has Biden polling much higher than Sanders — 51% to27%.
Even before Biden’s 10-state win on Super Tuesday, a WDIV/Detroit News poll showed him topping a then much larger field ofcandidates.
In Washington state, a King 5 News poll from March 5 shows the former vice president carrying the state over Sanders, despite the Vermont senator’s previous lead in thestate.
Perez: DNC Convention Not In Jeopardy FromCoronavirus
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says the Democratic Party’s summer convention is not at risk of cancellation over concerns about the rapidly spreadingcoronavirus.
“I don’t think the Democratic convention is in jeopardy,” Perez told NPR. “I met with some folks today, and I’m confident we can put thaton."
Democrats are scheduled to hold their nominating convention in Milwaukee from July 13 to 16. Perez says he has been in touch with state, local and federal officials on a regular basis to ensure that the meeting can be held withoutrisk.
Perez says he is confident that the party will come together before that time. He says former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders respect one another and will urge their supporters to get behind the eventualnominee.
“I actually have a lot of confidence that whoever wins this nomination, the other person will come together and be exceedingly enthusiastic,” Perez said. “It is a spirited debate they have, but it is a above-the-beltdebate.”
Trump Campaign Announces Event As Democrats ScaleBack
Even as Democrats Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden scale back their campaign events to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump’s campaign announced an event next week in Milwaukee. But it isn’t one of his typical arenarallies.
The president is set to attend the launch of Catholics for Trump, which according to the campaign will “bring together Catholics from across the nation who support President Trump’sre-election.”
It’s not clear how large the event will be, but campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tells NPR, “It’s a large-scale gathering similar to other coalition rollouts,” like the Evangelicals for Trump event earlier this year. That event, in January, drew about 2,000people.
Trump has made a point of continuing to shake hands and attend fundraisers, and he insisted the coronavirus outbreak wouldn’t affect his campaign plans. “We’ll have tremendous rallies,” Trump said on Saturday. “And we’re doing very well. And we’ve done a fantastic job with respect to that subject on thevirus.”
This comes as the coronavirus task force put out guidelines saying that in areas with minimal to moderate transmission, community organizations should consider canceling large gatherings of 250 people or more and that individuals should limit nonessential travel. The Democratic Party announced that a debate scheduled for this weekend will move ahead without a live in-person audience, press filing center or spinroom.
Supporters of Joe Biden’s campaign are gathered tonight at an Irish pub in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis. As news outlets made a quick poll-close call that Biden was projected to win Missouri, people here cheered, “Let’s go, Joe” and applauded. This was a much quicker call in Missouri than four years ago, when the results in Missouri were not known for hours and Hillary Clinton achieved a slight victory over BernieSanders.
DNC Says No Live Audience At Next Debate Due ToCoronavirus
The coronavirus forced candidates to cancel rallies, and now it’s changing Sunday’s presidential debate between Joe Biden and BernieSanders.
The Democratic National Committee announced that it will no longer allow people to watch the debate in person at thevenue.
“At the request of both campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience at the Arizona debate taking place on Sunday, March 15th,” Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement Tuesdaynight.
The statement added that the DNC had the option of going forward asplanned:
“The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor’s office, which advised that we could proceed as planned. Nevertheless, our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate. We will continue to remain in daily contact with all stakeholders throughSunday.”
CNN, which is hosting the debate with Univision, announced that there would be no press filing center for reporters to cover the debate in Phoenix and no “spin room” to get post-debate analysis from candidates orsurrogates.
“CNN’s top priority is the safety of our employees and community members. This extends to guests planning to attend or cover our debate on March 15th. At the request of the campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to eliminate the debate live audience, the press filing center and spin room in Phoenix. We encourage you to tune in to the debate at 8pmET,” the cable news network announced shortly after the DNC’srelease.
The new format will likely have an impact on the candidates’ tones and interactions. It was already going to be a very different debate with just two candidates on the stage, after so many of the primary debates had crowded stages with candidates battling to get in their points within timelimits.
The audience has often been a factor in earlier debates — candidates have appealed to the crowd and have been interrupted by cheers or boos, and moderators have had to speak over loud reactions from supporters of variouscampaigns.
Candidates have also had top supporters on hand as surrogates to fan out to talk to reporters or give post-debate reactions to key exchanges in the debates on news programs. It’s unclear if the campaigns will employ different strategies to get their messages out around the new format, which will have the feel more of a television set than a debatestage.
In the first two calls of the night, the Associated Press projects Joe Biden to win Missouri and Mississippi. The wins come on the back of his 10-state win on Super Tuesday lastweek.
Missouri’s electorate trends older, and the Democratic nominating contest here was one of the closest of 2016. The state, with 68 delegates at stake, has seen the second-most advertising of the Big Tuesday states. As of Thursday, Bernie Sanders had spent $524,000 there and Biden $484,000, NPR’s Domenico Montanaroreports.
Biden was the favorite in Mississippi, as the state’s electorate is overwhelmingly black — a group of voters Biden has done better with. The state has 36delegates.
Coronavirus is top of mind for Americans; that’s no different in these Democratic primaries, and that might be helping former Vice President JoeBiden.
In Washington state, for example, more than 8 in 10 voters, according to early exit polls, said that they are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the coronavirus. Washington state, of course, has been at the forefront of the coronavirusoutbreak.
When people were asked whom they trust more to handle a major crisis, Biden beat Sen. Bernie Sanders by anywhere from 19 to 34 points in Washington, Missouri and Michigan. In Washington, voters said they trusted Biden more to handle a crisis by a 46%-to-27% margin; in Missouri, it was Biden 61% to 27%; in Michigan, it was 51% to32%.
Another statistic that potentially portends well for Biden is that majorities in Michigan (57%), Missouri and Washington state (69%) said they thought it was more important to pick someone who can beat President Trump than someone whom you most agree with on theissues.
In past primary contests, Biden won when it came to whom people thought had the best chance of beating Trump, while Sanders won when people said they preferred someone who most agreed with them on theirvalues.
One thing that looks good for Sanders — almost half of Michigan voters say the U.S. economy is in need of a major overhaul, and almost 6 in 10 support “Medicare for All” as a replacement for private healthinsurance.
Full Results May Not Be Ready In Michigan UntilTomorrow
State election officials in Michigan are already communicating that full election results may not be available until late in the day Wednesday, not because of any voting issues, but because a surge of absentee ballots due to changes in the state’s voting laws will take longer to count than in-person votes. Some results are still expected Tuesday night, but the detailed results used to allocate delegates may not be available untiltomorrow.
For the first time, the state allowed any eligible voter to request and cast a mail-in ballot for the primary, but the state legislature did not update its laws to allow local election officials to open or handle those ballots before electionday.
“The legislature has not given us more time or resources to process the twice-as-many number of [mail-in] ballots that we’ve had this time around,” said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, in an interview with NPR. “And so that’s why we’re anticipating it’s going to take a little bit longer for our clerks and their poll workers to count the ballotstoday.”
This election could be a preview for November too. Benson said she thinks that up to two-thirds of all Michigan ballots cast in the general election could be bymail.
“We need the legislative leadership to listen to voters,” Benson said. “Update our laws effectively so that we can smoothly administer and deliver results thisNovember.”
For in-person election day voters, long lines have not been a widespread problem yet in the state, Benson said. She said the only places with long lines tended to be in places with lots of young people taking advantage of the state’s new election day voter registration law. So far, 7,000 people haveregistered.
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have canceled their respective rallies tonight in Cleveland, with the campaigns citing public health concerns amid the coronavirusoutbreak.
“Out of concern for public health and safety, we are canceling tonight’s rally in Cleveland,” Mike Casca, Sanders’ communications director, said in a statement. “We are heeding the public warnings from Ohio state officials, who have communicated concern about holding large, indoor events during the coronavirus outbreak. Sen. Sanders would like to express his regret to the thousands of Ohioans who had planned to attend the eventtonight.”
Kate Bedingfield, the Biden campaign’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, said: “In accordance with guidance from public officials and out of an abundance of caution, our rally in Cleveland, Ohio tonight is cancelled. We will continue to consult with public health officials and public health guidance and make announcements about future events in the coming days. Vice President Biden thanks all of his supporters who wanted to be with us in Cleveland thisevening.”
Ohio votes next week. It is not one of the six states votingtoday.
Read moreabout how campaigns and election officials are grappling with how to make sure that the democratic process is not the next casualty of the coronavirusoutbreak.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was greeted with cheers and chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” when he stopped by a polling place in Dearborn Heights, Mich.,today.
He told supporters and reporters that he feels good about Michigan. And he sought to distinguish himself from his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, emphasizing Biden’s vote for NAFTA and the IraqWar.
“The people of Michigan understand that there are very substantive differences between Joe Biden and myself,” hesaid.
Biden leads the overall delegate tally so far, but Sanders said that there’s a “whole lot of delegates to go” and that he sees the debate in Phoenix on Sunday as an opportunity to show voters the differences between Biden andhimself.
And Sanders reiterated what he has long said in his stump speech: His campaign is “not just [about] running for president. We’re putting together a multigenerational, multiracial, grassroots movement of people from all walks of life. And I’m so proud that we have the strongest grassroots political movement that we have seen in modernhistory.”
While Sanders has admitted that his campaign hasn’t had as much success as he’d hoped at bringing out young voters during the primaries, he said he’s confident his campaign will bring them out in “big numbers” in November, when he’s thenominee.
“We’re going to defeat [President Trump] because we are the campaign of energy and excitement. We are the campaign that brings people together, not divides them,” he said. “We are the campaign that is appealing to the aspirations and dreams of young people all across thiscountry.”
After Bernie Sanders’ disappointing finish in the Super Tuesday contests, his campaign may hinge on one state voting today:Michigan.
Sanders himself has called Michigan the “most important state” on this “Big Tuesday.”
It’s a state where Sanders has a lot of history. It was the site of his biggest upset victory in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, and Sanders returned there ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration to rally in support of the Affordable CareAct.
Heading into the primary, Sanders has been ramping up his attacks on Joe Biden’s voting record in the Senate, particularly his support of trade deals such as NAFTA and the IraqWar.
But that message doesn’t seem to be hitting home for voters. The former vice president, not Sanders, has the lead inpolls.
Patricia Scott says she wants to see stability and someone who’s able to unify the country in the Democratic nominee. She says Sanders’ attacks on Biden don’t represent thatunity.
“I don’t think people will [see] Bernie … as someone who can really unify the whole country,” she says. “I think people are looking for a more civil approach to doing things, a more civilized proposal for talking to people and a more civilized approach with a candidacy. And I think Joe Biden is that[person].”
For Julián Guerra, the concern over Sanders is more a question of whether the Vermont senator is too far left for most of thecountry.
Guerra lives in Rochester, Mich., and says he’s happy to see Biden emerging as thefront-runner.
“I’m an idealist guy,” Guerra says. “So I guess Bernie would be my guy. But, you know, people aren’t going to vote for him. What he wants to do – everything is great and we need it, right? But people are not going to stretch themselves that farout.”
A loss in Michigan would be a big blow for Sanders, both for its 125 delegates and for its politicalsymbolism.
But some supporters here are stillhopeful.
Ariel Friedlander, in her senior year at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says she still believes Sanders is the only candidate who can beat Trump inNovember.
“I don’t think [Biden] has the momentum to really build a campaign that will turn people out to vote for him,” she says. “[Young voters] need someone they can actually really get behind and get excited about. And that’s definitely notBiden.”
Friedlander says she thinks people are uncomfortable with the “big ideas” of Sanders’ campaign.
“But the hard truth is that that’s why people vote for Trump,” she says and sighs. “They wanted big change and they followed the wrong leader and he didn’t give them the change they wanted. Bernie Sanders is the change people want tosee.”
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to climb, election officials and political candidates are weighing how to make sure the political process doesn’t become the next casualty of thevirus.
Packed public gatherings such as political rallies could pose a particular risk of virus transmission, although so far there’s no sign that has takenplace.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., urged presidential candidates to stop holding public rallies and large-scaleevents.
And in Michigan and other states, election officials are emphasizing public health, urging local precincts to regularly clean voting machines and voters to “increase social distances” while standing in line and castingballots.
Watch White Women In Michigan — They Might Swing TheElection
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have been winning consistently with clear constituencies. Biden has gotten large margins with black voters, older voters and moderates. Sanders has been winning Latinos, young voters andliberals.
But in Michigan, white women could be the group that tips the election, making them decisive in picking the Democraticnominee.
In 2016, they were 37% of the electorate in Michigan, and Sanders won them narrowly, 51% to 47%, over Hillary Clinton, according to the exit polls. But on Super Tuesday, Biden won them by double digits. If Biden replicates that today, it could be gameover.
The publicly available Super Tuesday exit polls aren’t broken out by white women, but they are by education, and Biden won white women both with and without college degrees by similar margins. (There were no exit polls in Arkansas or Utah.) He won 33% of white women without college degrees, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 24% and Sanders with23%.
Biden did even better with white women without degrees, winning 40% of them. Sanders got 29%, followed by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg at 14% and Warren with11%.
The vote won’t go this cleanly, but for women with a degree, if you add the Super Tuesday percentages for Bloomberg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg to Biden’s total and add Warren’s percentage to Sanders’, it comes to 51% Biden and 47%Sanders.
When you add those percentages together for white women without a degree, it’s Biden 59% and Sanders40%.
‘Big Tuesday’ Ad Spending For Biden SurpassesSanders’
For the first time in the presidential primary season, ad spending for former Vice President Joe Biden has inched ahead of ad spending for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Michigan and other key Big Tuesday states — $3.02 million to $2.97 million. That’s according to data from Advertising Analytics as ofMonday.
This is a notable change for the Biden campaign following Super Tuesday, where he was drastically outspent in ads compared with hisopponents.
Biden’s spending has increased significantly even over the last few days. As of last Thursday, Sanders was dominating ad spending in Big Tuesday states by more than$500,000.
Nearly 30% of Biden’s new spending total comes from the superPAC Unite the Country, which has been supporting him since the fall of2019.
Sanders is not currently benefiting from any superPAC ad money in Big Tuesdaystates.
Looking specifically at the six states voting, money for Biden is ahead of money for Sanders in Michigan, Missouri andMississippi.
Sanders is favored in Washington state and is far outspending Biden there. Sanders is also the only candidate to take out ads in North Dakota andIdaho.
Biden Has Embraced Michigan For Years. Will Voters Return TheFavor?
As vice president, Joe Biden visited Detroit nearly a dozen times, more than President Obama did. He was in Detroit again on Monday, this time campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination before Michigan’s Tuesdayprimary.
In Detroit, Biden often talks about his affinity for the city. He tells audiences how he’s a car guy, that his father sold cars for a living, that he connects with the city’s working-classcharacter.
But the voters in this majority-black city are also key to Biden’s political future. The question now is how much his history in Detroit, and as Obama’s vice president, will drive the decisions that voters make here in2020.
Why Full Michigan, Washington Results May Take AWhile
The two states voting today that have the most delegates at stake are both warning that exact election results may take hours or days tocalculate.
Super Tuesday came with the same warnings, yet criticism of certain states continues — especially California, as dozens of delegates there have yet to beassigned.
The two states’ expected delays today stem from the amount of time it takes election supervisors to deal with mail-inballots.
In Michigan, as WKAR’s Abigail Censky has reported, a new law allows residents to vote by mail without an excuse, which has now led to a more than 80% increase in absentee ballot requests for this primary. The problem is that election officials in Michigan aren’t allowed to count or even open the returned ballots until electionday.
“What we will likely see is clerks not being able to report unofficial results at the close of polls or even hours after the polls close or perhaps a day after the polls close,” Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum told Censky. “And what that does is it impacts voterconfidence.”
Another county clerk said he had talked to other clerks who say they want to retire before the general election in November, “because they know they’re being put in an impossiblesituation.”
In Washington state, Democrats are urging patience because the primary there is being held entirely bymail.
In both states, media outlets like The Associated Press will probably call the race for a candidate long before all the votes are counted, based on projections and exit polls. But because these aren’t winner-take-all contests, the final, exact margins stillmatter.
Biden’s Last Push: ‘A President Needs To Know … How ToHeal’
Tonight at Joe Biden’s rally in Detroit — a different sight. There was a marching band, a cheerleading squad and a 22-member choir that opened with a rendition of “Lift Every Voice andSing.”
There was dancing and cheering and coordinated chanting. Hundreds came out in Detroit to hear the former vice president make one last appeal to Michigan voters ahead of Big Tuesday. Biden was also accompanied by an entourage of high-profile Democrats. They included his former Democratic presidential rivals Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker, who have both endorsedhim.
Biden gathered one of the biggest crowds of his campaign so far — a sign that his momentum is continuing after a strong performance a week ago on Super Tuesday. Another reassuring sign for Biden tonight — a significantly younger crowd. Carey Whitehair, 26, and Nicholas Conde, 26, both came out to see therally.
“My first candidate dropped out a while ago, so I have been floating in the field,” Whitehair said. She supported Beto O’Rourke. Now that the race is down to two major candidates, she says, “I am pretty sure where I amat.”
Conde originally supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren, before she dropped out. “Now with the endorsements of Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, I got really excited about what’s going on,” he explained. Both will vote for Bidentomorrow.
After an hour of entertainment and speeches, it was time for the senators. “Like the mascot of this high school [Renaissance], we rise up,” Booker shouted. Harris echoed Booker. “Michigan, I do believe you are going to make the difference in terms of the outcome of this election,” she said. “I believe inJoe.”
The former vice president spoke about expanding the Affordable Care Act, fair pay and loan forgiveness for public school teachers and his long foreign policyrecord.
“We have to bring the world back together,” Biden said. “They need us. … We have lost the trust of our allies.” He also addressed climate change. “On day one, I will rejoin the Paris climate accord,” he said. “We will get to zero netemissions.”
More than a dozen supporters of green jobs who were carrying signs supporting the Green New Deal interrupted the rally, but Biden asked the crowd to let them go. “This is not a Trump rally,” hesaid.
“A president needs to know how to fight, but also how to heal. … We have to heal our divisions,” Bidensaid.
Sanders: Trump’s Coronavirus Response Is Making The EpidemicWorse
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says President Trump’s coronavirus response is making the epidemicworse.
In Detroit today, Sanders convened a roundtable focused on the spreading virus. Michigan is one of six states votingtomorrow.
Sanders called for the United States to guarantee pay for people missing work because of the outbreak and to make a vaccine free when it’sready.
And with the global economy reeling, as Sanders put it, he says the White House is making thingsworse.
“It would certainly help if the world, and people in our own country, had confidence that the administration of the United States of America — that our government — was making decisions based on science,” hesaid.
Sanders has not canceled any rallies yet. He says that his campaign is thinking “a lot" about that step and that it consults with local health officials before eachevent.
“And that is an issue I think that every organization, every sports team, is going to look at,” Sanderssaid.
At least one member of Congress has called on the presidential candidates to stop holding rallies amid the virus’spread.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker joined former Vice President Joe Biden for a campaign stop in Flint, Mich., today — the Democratic presidential front-runner’s first day of campaigning in the important state ahead of its primarytomorrow.
Booker, a former candidate himself who endorsed Biden earlier today, spoke with his signature fierce enthusiasm, reassuring the small crowd gathered that the former vice president is the best person to unite the largest swaths ofAmerica.
“Because this moment in time — I am telling you right now, Michigan — you’ve got to know that this could be the turning point, not just of a primary campaign. This could be the day we remember where we have turned a whole nation around,” Bookersaid.
In Michigan, 125 delegates are at stake. It’s a crucial state for both Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who carried Michigan against Hillary Clinton in2016.
Biden reassured Flint’s residents that they are not forgotten, and he promised resources needed to finish rebuilding the city’s waterinfrastructure.
He did not, however, comment on the ongoing discussion around the coronavirus outbreak and how his campaign is addressing theepidemic.
Coronavirus Worries Are Front And Center For DemocraticVoters
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have both been criticizing the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, as the number of cases across the United States jumped over theweekend.
Sanders holds a roundtable on coronavirus today in Detroit. And in an op-ed in USA Today on Thursday, Sanders called Trump’s response “incompetent, political and reckless” and said, “We need a president who believes in science and listens toscientists.”
“I see no preparedness other than political talking points, putting someone in charge who is not a scientist and muzzling the scientists,” Biden told ABC News recently. “This is not a Democratic hoax; this isincompetence.”
On average in those five states, 54% said the coronavirus was an important factor in their vote, and those voters broke 51% to 24% for Biden overSanders:
Virginia: 55%; Biden, 60% to19%
Texas: 62%; Biden, 45% to25%
California: 52%; Biden, 40% to27%
North Carolina: 52%; Biden, 54% to23%
Tennessee: 50%; Biden, 55% to24%
That’s another statistic to watch tomorrow night, if the question is asked, as fears continue to rise about the spread of the virus. If Biden continues to win on that question, it shows that despite “change” usually being what works in elections, in times of crisis the argument for a “steady hand” can gain moreresonance.
Montana Gov. Bullock, A Former Presidential Candidate, Announces SenateRun
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who had sought the Democratic presidential nomination before dropping out in December, announced this morning that he will run for the U.S. Senate in his home state thisyear.
Bullock’s decision makes it more likely that control of the Senate is inplay.
Montana’s filing deadline for candidates is today. Bullock’s getting in the race puts another Republican-held seat in a potentially competitive race thisNovember.
Bullock is considered a top-tier candidate because he has already won statewide three times. He is challenging Republican incumbent SteveDaines.
There are four additional states — Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina — where Democrats are trying to unseat Republicanincumbents.
Republicans currently enjoy a 53-seat majority in the Senate, which means Democrats would need to win a net of four seats outright — or three seats and the White House — to take control of the chamber. Republicans are hopeful about picking up a Democratic seat in Alabama, where Sen. Doug Jones is running forreelection.
Correction: This post incorrectly stated the number of times Steve Bullock has won statewide in Montana. He has won three times: twice for governor, once for attorneygeneral.
A progressive group that had backed Elizabeth Warren is throwing its support behind Bernie Sanders now that she’s out of the Democraticrace.
The Working Families Party was the first major progressive group to make an endorsement in the primary when it announced its support for Warren inSeptember.
“The WFP will work to show voters who backed Warren why supporting Sanders is their best choice to advance the big structural change that Warren fought for,” the group, which claims chapters or local branches in 17 states, said in a press release. “With so much at stake in the Democratic primary and the general election in November, WFP refuses to remain on thesidelines.”
The early endorsement for Warren seemed to suggest that progressive groups would split their support between the Massachusetts and Vermont senators and that the organizations wouldn’t simply fall in line behind Sanders, the left’s 2016standard-bearer.
But that’s not whathappened.
As 2019 stretched on and into 2020, progressive leaders and groups indeed coalesced around Sanders. And as NPR’s Asma Khalid reports, the story of how and why Warren lost the backing of a number of progressive organizations explains part of why her campaignfailed.
Warren herself has not endorsed a candidate since her exit from therace.
Yet another former rival is backing former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign. California Sen. Kamala Harris announced her support in a video posted online Sundaymorning.
Harris briefly surged in polls after confronting Biden over his record on busing in the first Democratic debate, back in June. She ended her bid inDecember.
“He is kind and endlessly caring, and he truly listens to the American people,” Harris said in a statement. “You can see in his eyes how he takes to heart the experiences of mothers and fathers working to make ends meet and worrying about whether their children can be safe in their classroom, or young people who fight tirelessly to tackle climate change as they ask for a fair shot at the future in front ofthem.”
Harris also noted their personal connection through Biden’s late son, Beau. They worked together about a decade ago, when Beau Biden was attorney general in Delaware and Harris held the same job inCalifornia.
Harris will join Biden on the campaign trail tonight in Detroit, ahead of Michigan’s Tuesday primarycontest.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigned on Sunday in Michigan with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, the latest major figure to endorsehim.
“I stand with Bernie Sanders today because he stood with me,” Jackson said at a rally in Grand Rapids, referring to Sanders’ support of his presidential bid in 1988, a contest in which he ran against Joe Biden, among others. “I stand with him because he never lost his taste for justice with the people. I stand with him because he stands with you,” Jacksoncontinued.
Michigan is where Sanders’ upset of Hillary Clinton catapulted his campaign in 2016, and it’s where Jackson’s bid was invigorated in 1988 when he easily beat the eventual nominee, Michael Dukakis. Jackson ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1984 aswell.
Offering high praise at the rally on Sunday, Sanders said, “If there was no Jesse Jackson, in my view, there would be no President BarackObama.”
Sanders seemed deeply touched by the endorsement, which was announced on Sundaymorning.
Washington And Idaho Ditched Caucuses For 2020Vote
Many Democrats are pushing to extinguish caucuses. Besides the messiness of the process, they’re criticized by many asinaccessible.
But Democrats have already gone a long way to get rid of them. Fourteen states held Democratic caucuses in 2016, but this year it’s just four. One of those states is North Dakota, which holds caucuses on Tuesday. Two other March 10 states, Washington and Idaho, scrapped their caucuses in favor of primaries thisyear.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has pushed to end caucuses, even though they have been good to him. He won in 12 of the 14 caucus states in 2016. So far this year, Sanders won the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses and had an overwhelming victory in Nevada’scaucuses.
His record hasn’t been as good in states that have scrapped caucuses this year. Sanders won again in Colorado and Utah on Super Tuesday, two states that moved to primaries, but he lost in two others where he won caucuses in 2016: Minnesota andMaine.
Sanders won both Washington and Idaho when they held caucuses last time. Heading into Tuesday’s primaries, polls show he and former Vice President Joe Biden running close in Washington. There have been no recent polls in the Idahoprimary.
6 More States Vote Tuesday. Here’s What You Need ToKnow
Former Vice President Joe Biden rode a surge of momentum on Super Tuesday to the delegate lead, and he’s now in the driver’s seat for the Democraticnomination.
The race is now a clear one-on-one contest between Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders after Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg both dropped out. (Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race but has won only twodelegates.)
For Sanders to reclaim the momentum, all eyes are on Michigan. It’s a state that Sanders narrowly won in 2016. If he wins it, it could reshape the race yet again. If he loses, there are few opportunities for him to change the trajectory of this nominating contest, especially with states ahead that appear to favorBiden.
What we’re calling "Big Tuesday" offers 352 delegates among six states. That’s about a quarter of the delegates that were at stake on Super Tuesday. Michigan is the biggest prize, with 125 delegates, followed by Washington (89), Missouri (68), Mississippi (36), Idaho (20) and North Dakota (14). Michigan, Washington and Missouri — and their combined 282 delegates — make up 80% of the delegates at stake onTuesday.