Trump Faces Credibility Test as He Plays down Virus Threat

President Donald Trump faces a critical personal challenge in grappling with the new coronavirus outbreak: asking Americans to believe him after he and some of his top advisers have contradicted federal scientists in playing down the threat.Keenly aware of the stakes not just for public health but also his credibility, Trump conducted a lengthy press conference Wednesday evening aimed at reassuring everyone that he has the crisis well in hand.Trump surrounded himself with his administration’s top health experts. And he encouraged Americans to be prepared for the virus’ potential spread.But he continued to minimize the risk, saying the outbreak “may get a little bigger; it may not get bigger at all.” And he continued to distance himself from the stated opinion of public health officials that it’s inevitable the virus will spread within the United States.As businesses, schools and people in general think about preparing, the X-factor may be an unpredictable president who has clashed repeatedly with scientists in his own administration and tends to see any crisis through the lens of his own reelection chances.“I don’t think it’s inevitable,” Trump said at the news conference, where he announced Vice President Mike Pence would lead the administration’s response to the outbreak. “I think it has a chance that it could get worse. There is a chance you can get fairly substantially worse. But nothing’s inevitable.”He also said he had recently learned that thousands die from the flu each year, contrasting that to the coronavirus.A screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Feb. 25, 2020.After two days of the stock market tumbling, Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to blame the media and Democrats for causing undue alarm and harming American financial markets.He singled out MSNBC and CNN for “doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible,” and added that “incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action.”He blamed part of this week’s stock market slide on people’s reaction to Tuesday night’s Democratic debate and the possibility one of those candidates might replace him. And Trump acknowledged that the outbreak could “have an impact on GDP” but insisted that the U.S. economy is still “doing great.”The setting for Trump’s evening press conference – the White House press briefing room – was meant to offer a sense of calm and assurance by the Republican president. It was only the second time in his presidency that Trump had spoken from the podium in that room, and aides acknowledged he was trying to underscore that he has the situation under control and understands the gravity.In advance, Trump played down the mortality rate for a pathogen that has been confirmed to have killed 2,700 people globally. His top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, echoed Trump’s outlook, saying Tuesday that the U.S. had “contained” the threat of a domestic outbreak.Director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) Dr. Nancy Messonnier speaks about the public health response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Washington, Jan. 28, 2020.Trump’s and Kudlow’s comments were at odds with warnings from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials who said American communities need to prepare now for when the disease starts spreading domestically. There have been just 60 confirmed cases in the U.S.“The messaging by the White House is unhelpful,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. “What the White House is doing is conveying a sense of overconfidence. … Of course, we do want to maintain calm with the public, but it flies in the face of facts.”Trump’s public efforts to project calm masked a behind-the-scenes focus.During his 36-hour visit to India, Trump received briefings from staff and periodically checked the impact on Wall Street, tweeting at all hours to try to reassure Americans and the markets about the spread of the virus.Trump expressed deep concern to aides about the effect on the markets, according to White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing. Trump has tied his fortunes to Wall Street more closely than any of his recent predecessors and has made a strong economy his No. 1 argument for reelection.As the media coverage of the virus has increased, Trump has grown concerned that even fears of an outbreak would stagger Wall Street, leading him to wonder aloud if Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was the right person to lead the administration’s response, the officials said.Since the start of the crisis, Trump has been reluctant to blame China, where the virus originated, for fear of upsetting President Xi Jinping or damaging ongoing trade talks.But he is also fearful he could be accused of being unresponsive to the crisis. At the urging of a number of his internal and outside advisers, he directed the White House to adopt a more public presence, leading to a briefing by officials and emails to the press stressing the administration’s response.“Americans want to see their president taking charge and showing leadership, and that is exactly what President Trump is doing,” said Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany.Privately, aides said concerns have spiked in recent days inside the Trump reelection campaign. Republicans close to the White House are keenly aware of the political implications of a pandemic scare. In 2014, the GOP aggressively criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the Ebola epidemic, which it later credited with helping the party seize back the majority in the Senate.The most pressing concern, aides said, is not the possibility of widespread outbreak in the U.S. – Trump’s aides do believe existing monitoring and restrictions are working – but the downstream effects of the virus on the global economy and public sentiment.The virus has already shut Chinese factories that are part of the U.S. supply chain. Mark Zandi, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated Wednesday that U.S. growth could slow to 1.7% this year – roughly the same level as in 2016. He said the situation could become worse if a pandemic emerges.“The U.S. economy is more insulated from the impact of the virus, but it is not immune, and it too would likely suffer a downturn in this scenario,” Zandi said.Trump moved swiftly to severely curtail most travel to China a month ago, a move administration officials believe slowed the spread of the virus to the U.S., even if it drew criticism for being too extreme in the moment.Jay Butler, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, addresses the media about response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirusas at the Emergency Operations Center inside The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Feb. 13, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.Until now, federal health authorities have been preparing for the coronavirus’ arrival in the U.S. with little if any White House interference. They’re following the playbook: pandemic preparedness plans that were put into place in anticipation of another flu pandemic, but will work for any respiratory-borne disease.Part of those plans call for educating the public on what to expect if the virus begins spreading in U.S. communities, such as school closures or calls for people to telework.One of the lessons learned in prior crises is not to offer false assurances when scientists have questions about the illness.As Trump plays down the threat of an outbreak, his past attacks on government scientists on everything from hurricane forecasts to climate change and his reputation for straining the truth all factor into the credibility of his message.The flap over Trump’s off-base comments about Hurricane Dorian last fall – when he went so far as to display a weather map that had been altered with a black marker to extend the hurricane’s possible path – demonstrated the pitfalls when a president veers from the message provided by government scientists and career professionals.Trump, who pilloried President Barack Obama over his response to the Ebola epidemic, now finds himself having to fend off a wave of criticism from Democratic presidential rivals who claim he’s discounted science and has inadequate response plans.At Tuesday’s presidential debate, Mike Bloomberg claimed “there’s nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar criticized Trump for trying to cut back funding of the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.Trump’s budgets have proposed cuts to public health, only to be overruled by Congress, where there’s strong bipartisan support for agencies like the CDC and NIH. Instead, financing has increased.
   

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About 40% of US Adults Are Obese, Government Survey Finds

About 4 in 10 American adults are obese, and nearly 1 in 10 is severely so, government researchers said Thursday.
   
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings come from a 2017-18 health survey that measures height and weight. More than 5,000 U.S. adults took part.
   
The survey found that the obesity rate was 42%, higher than the 40% found in a similar 2015-16 study. The severe obesity rate was more than 9% in the new survey, up from the 8% figure in the previous one.
   
Those increases aren’t considered statistically significant: The survey numbers are small enough that there’s a mathematical chance the rates didn’t truly rise.
   
But it’s clear that adult obesity rates are trending up, said the CDC’s Cynthia Ogden, one of the report’s authors.
   
A half-century ago, about 1 in 100 American adults were severely obese. Now it’s 10 times more common.
   
The obesity rate has risen about 40% in the last two decades.
   
The findings suggest that more Americans will get diabetes, heart disease and cancer, said Dr. William Dietz, a George Washington University obesity expert.
   
It also will be increasingly difficult for doctors to care for so many severely obese people, Dietz said. He has estimated that on average, every primary care doctor treating adults has about 100 severely obese patients.
   
“How’s a provider going to do that? Severe obesity really requires very intensive therapy,” he said.
   
The CDC did not report new obesity numbers for kids and teens. That may come out later this year, Ogden said. In 2015-16, 18.5% of kids and teens were obese and just under 6% were severely obese.
   
Dietz faulted the government for not pushing for more measures to promote physical activity and better eating. Building more sidewalks and passing a national tax on sugary beverages could make a big difference, he said.
   
Obesity, which means not merely overweight, but seriously overweight,  is considered one of the nation’s leading public health problems.
   
It is measured by the body mass index, or BMI, a figure calculated from a person’s weight and height. A BMI of 25 or greater is considered overweight, a BMI of 30 and above is obese, and a BMI of 40 or above is severely obese.
   
A person who is 5-foot-4, the average height for U.S. women, is considered obese at a weight of 174 pounds and severely obese above 232 pounds. A person who is 5-foot-9, about the average height for men, is deemed obese at 203 pounds and severely obese at 270.

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US Senate Majority Leader McConnell Hopes to See Coronavirus Funding Bill Within 2 Weeks

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that he expects Senate
appropriators to produce funding legislation within the next two weeks to fight the spread of coronavirus in the United States.
McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor, said he has faith that bipartisan discussions on the Senate Appropriations
Committee would agree on “the right sum … at this time to ensure our nation’s needs are fully funded.”
“I hope they can work expeditiously so the full Senate would be able to take up the legislation within the next two weeks,” the Kentucky Republican said.
 

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NORC Poll: Election Security, Integrity Worry Americans

Americans have widespread concerns about the security and integrity of elections, with few saying they have high confidence that votes in the 2020 presidential election will be counted accurately.
A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds skepticism about the democratic process in the United States. While a third of Americans say they have high confidence in an accurate count, roughly another third are only moderately confident and a remaining third say they have little confidence.
“What’s to prevent old Vlad Putin from interfering in the election? I don’t know,” says Reid Gibson, an independent voter in Missouri, referring to the Russian president, who U.S. intelligence agencies say interfered in the 2016 election with a sophisticated operation to sow division and help elect Donald Trump, a Republican.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress this month that Russia is still engaged in “information warfare” heading into the 2020 election but that law enforcement has not seen efforts to target infrastructure like the voting machines.
Still, U.S. officials say one of Russia’s goals is to sow doubt about the integrity of U.S. elections, and the poll suggests that even if Russia isn’t targeting voting infrastructure it may be achieving that goal because of the lack of voter confidence following from the 2016 election.
Gibson, who says he leans Democratic, is pessimistic about the state of U.S. politics and has little confidence that votes in the 2020 presidential election will be counted accurately. He says he’s been concerned about the way elections are conducted since 2000, when voter problems in Florida delayed resolution of the presidential election and a Supreme Court decision to stop a ballot recount ultimately put George W. Bush, a Republican, in office.
In general, Americans have mixed feelings about the way the country’s political leaders are chosen, with about as many saying they are optimistic as saying they are pessimistic.
There also are widespread fears about security vulnerabilities as well as voter suppression and voter fraud. About half of Americans say they are highly concerned that the country’s voting systems might be vulnerable to hackers, and about that many also are strongly concerned about foreign governments interfering by tampering with election results or influencing American attitudes.
But concerns vary significantly by partisanship, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to express worries about the security of elections. About 6 in 10 Democrats say they are very or extremely concerned that voting systems might be vulnerable to hackers. Roughly two-thirds also are highly concerned that foreign governments will interfere in 2020 by tampering with results or influencing what Americans think about political candidates.
By contrast, fewer than half of Republicans express significant concern about hackers, and just about a quarter are highly concerned about any form of foreign interference.
U.S. intelligence agencies and special counsel Robert Mueller found that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller charged 13 Russians in a covert social media campaign that prosecutors said was aimed at dividing public opinion on hot-button social issues as well as propping up Trump while denigrating Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee.
The government has said that Russian agents also searched for vulnerabilities within election systems in all 50 states during the 2016 election cycle, though there is no evidence that votes were changed.
Trump has often pushed back on the findings by his own intelligence agencies, saying frequently that investigations into interference were a “hoax.”
Voter fraud and voter suppression also elicit a wide partisan divide. Nearly 7 in 10 Republicans show concerns about voter fraud, saying people voting who are not eligible is a major problem in U.S. elections. That compares with about a quarter of Democrats.
Meanwhile, Democrats are concerned about voter suppression. Almost two-thirds say it is a major problem that people who are eligible are not allowed to vote, while only about a third of Republicans say the same.
The opposing views come as Republicans in some states have implemented laws requiring voters to show identification, arguing that it will combat voter fraud. Democrats have fought many of those laws, saying they disenfranchise some voters.
With their candidate sitting in the Oval Office, Republicans are about twice as likely as Democrats to say they are optimistic about the way political leaders are chosen. Republicans also are more likely than Democrats to be strongly confident that votes will be counted accurately.
“I think it’s about as fair is it could be,” says Richard Merritt, 53, a Republican from Maine who supports Trump. “If someone was trying to hack into a voting system, the United States would be on top of that before you and I even knew it.”
Views on election integrity and security also divide along racial lines. Roughly two-thirds of black Americans say they have little confidence that votes in 2020 will be counted accurately, compared with fewer than 4 in 10 white Americans or Hispanics saying the same. Wide shares of black Americans, more so than white Americans or Hispanics, are concerned about hackers and foreign interference.
Robert King, a 70-year-old African American man from Michigan, says he might not even vote this year “because of the tampering and all of this other stuff going on.” He says he’s concerned that his vote might not even be counted.
Nearly 8 in 10 black Americans also say it’s a major problem that people who are eligible are not allowed to vote.
Richard Hasen, author of the book “Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy,” says voter identification laws have led voters in both major political parties to believe that the other side is cheating. “There is increasingly incendiary rhetoric” on the voter fraud issue, he says.
Hasen says he believes many Americans’ concerns about the process come after they tune into major news events, such as election problems in the recent Iowa caucuses or Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
 
“I think there are threats to our system,” Hasen says, “but I think the question of voter confidence is separate from the reality.”
 

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Colorado to Become 22nd US State to Abolish Death Penalty

Colorado is set to become the 22nd U.S. state to abolish the death penalty.Lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to end the practice Wednesday, and the state’s governor has said he will sign it.Proponents of halting the use of the death penalty argued it is a punishment that cannot be reversed if later evidence emerges showing someone is innocent, and that it is disproportionately applied to minorities and the poor.Those who wanted to keep capital punishment as a sentencing option said the threat of the death penalty gave defendants incentive to seek agreements to plead guilty to crimes and accept lower sentences instead of going through a lengthy trial.Colorado has three people on its death row.  The new law will not affect their sentences, only new offenses starting in July.The state last executed someone in 1997.  Nationally, there have been four executions this year.Last year, the state of New Hampshire abolished the death penalty, while California Governor Gavin Newsom said last year there will be no capital punishment while he is in office.

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Survey: Majority of Americans Satisfied With US Position in World

A new Gallup survey released Thursday shows that 53% of respondents, led by those who identified as Republicans, are satisfied with the position of the United States in the world.That figure is up 8 percentage points from last year and is the highest since 2003.Gallup reported a sharp partisan divide, but one the agency said is common in the past two decades depending on which party controls the White House.GOP satisfactionWith Republican Donald Trump in office, 85% of Republicans said they were satisfied with the U.S. position, while just 19% percent of Democrats agreed.Republicans also helped elevate the number of those who said the United States is seen favorably “in the eyes of the world.”Gallup’s poll found 16% of those surveyed rated perception of the U.S. as very favorable, while another 44% said it was somewhat favorable. And 83% of Republican respondents picked one of those two positive options.World’s respectAnd while Trump did reach his highest level in Gallup polling on the question of whether other world leaders respect him, that score was just 37% of people saying foreign leaders respect Trump, compared with 61% saying the leaders do not.Gallup said Trump’s score is similar to that of Republican President George W. Bush at the same time in his presidency, but far behind the 51% of Trump’s predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama.
 

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Trump: US ‘Totally Prepared’ for Coronavirus

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he thinks the spread of a new coronavirus in the United States is avoidable and expressed confidence his administration is ready to respond.“I don’t think it’s inevitable,” he told reporters at the White House. “It probably will. It possibly will. It could be at a very small level or could be at a larger level. Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared.”He added that “the risk to the American people remains very low.”Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the coronavirus outbreak, Feb. 26, 2020.Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the White House news conference that while work to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus is ongoing, the process of testing to make sure it works and is safe will take months to a year to complete. That means a vaccine could be effective if there is another outbreak in a year, but for this one, Fauci said public health measures are the way to contain it.Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principle deputy director of the CDC, said containment efforts have thus far been working in the United States, but that the agency expects more cases and that it is a good time for the American public to prepare.“The coronavirus that we’re talking about is a respiratory virus. It’s spread in a similar way to the common cold or to influenza. It’s spread through coughs and sneezes, so those everyday, sensible measures that we tell people to do with the flu are important here: covering your cough, staying home when you’re sick and washing your hands,” she said.Trump lauded his administration’s decision to restrict entry to non-U.S. citizens traveling from China as a measure that has helped keep U.S. exposure low. When asked if he would do the same for Italy and South Korea, two of the hardest-hit areas outside of China, Trump said he may take that step but that now is not the right time.The president has asked Congress for $2.5 billion to meet the coronavirus challenge. Earlier Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed $8.5 billion for the effort after criticizing Trump’s request as too little, too late to meet the challenge.President Donald Trump listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference about coronavirus in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Feb. 26, 2020, in Washington.Trump named Vice President Mike Pence as the so-called coronavirus czar. Pence will lead a task force of federal and private health experts, saying the American people can be confident the government has their health and safety as a top priority.“In recent days, the White House met with over 40 state, county and city health officials from over 30 states and territories to discuss how to respond to this, to the potential threat of the coronavirus,” Pence said. “We’ll be working with them in renewed ways to make sure they have the resources to be able to respond.”The choice of Pence to lead the response was met with criticism by Democrats and others who pointed to Pence’s time as the governor of Indiana in 2015. The state faced a surge in cases of HIV, and state law at the time prohibited needle exchanges, a policy that health experts said exacerbated the outbreak. Pence, who opposed the exchanges, eventually signed a new law allowing them in some cases.

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House Passes Law Making Lynching a Federal Hate Crime

After 120 years and nearly 200 failed efforts, the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed a bill Wednesday making lynching a federal hate crime.The vote was 210 to 4. The Senate unanimously passed similar legislation last year. It now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.A number of House members took to the floor before the vote to point out how long overdue the law is, but saying it is never too late to do the right thing.White mobs used lynching to terrorize African-Americans from the 1800s to well into the 20th century. In some towns, whites would treat lynchings as a family outing and social gathering. People young and old would sometimes pose next to the victim hanging from a tree.The anti-lynching law was named for Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African American from Chicago who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 by two white men who accused him of whistling at a white woman in a Mississippi grocery store.Till’s coffin was left open at his funeral because his mother said she wanted the world to see what racism looks like.FILE – This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.A number of black newspapers and magazines printed pictures of Till’s horribly distorted and mutilated corpse, sickening nearly everyone who saw it and adding fuel to the civil rights movement.An all-white jury acquitted the two suspects of the murder. Both later confessed before they died.The first anti-lynching bill was brought before Congress in 1901. Nearly 200 other bills that would make it a federal crime failed to pass.Four lawmakers — three Republicans and one independent — voted against the bill Wednesday.They include Texas Republican Louis Gohmert who said he believes such a crime should be prosecuted by the states, including Texas where Gohmert said, lynching someone would mean the death penalty.

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Six Dead in Mass Shooting at Milwaukee Brewery

A gunman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, killed five people before killing himself Wednesday at the Molson Coors brewery. Police identified the shooter as a 51-year-old male but withheld his name and the names of his victims until their families were notified. It was unclear if anyone was left wounded. “There were five individuals who went to work today, just like everybody goes to work, and they thought they were going to finish their day and return to their families,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. “Tragically, they never will.” President Donald Trump opened a White House news conference on the coronavirus outbreak Wednesday by calling the shooting “a terrible thing. Our hearts go out to the people of Wisconsin and to the families.” Molson Coors complex, MilwaukeePolice had given little information about the shooting by Wednesday evening and had said nothing about a possible motive. But Barrett said such “vile and heinous deadly violence makes no sense.” The Molson Coors campus includes not only a brewery but also corporate offices, an underground cave for tourists and a large outdoor beer garden. There have been several mass shootings in Wisconsin over the past 20 years. They include the 2012 massacre of six people by a white supremacist outside a Sikh temple in Milwaukee. That gunman also wounded four others before killing himself. Workplaces have been the most common sites for mass shootings over the last five decades.

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Biden Looks to South Carolina to Save His Political Future

In his third run for the U.S. presidency, former Vice President Joe Biden is fighting for his political life.But possible signs that he could win Saturday’s key Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina give him a chance in the long string of nominating contests that follow in March.Biden confidently declared at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate that he would win the southern state, and some polls support his claim. Polling website fivethirtyeight.com shows Biden winning about 30% of the vote, followed by national front-runner Bernie Sanders with 23%, and Tom Steyer, a wealthy long shot, polling third at 13%.Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Feb. 26, 2020.Biden, with longtime support from African American voters, is hoping to win in a state where blacks could comprise more than half of the Democratic vote. He has been touting his experience as second in command for eight years under the country’s only black president, Barack Obama. On Wednesday, a key black lawmaker from the state, Congressman James Clyburn, endorsed Biden’s candidacy.“I’ve been saying to the media, I’ve known for a long time who I’m going to vote for,” Clyburn said. “But I want the public to know that I’m voting for Joe Biden. South Carolina should be voting for Joe Biden.”Biden once led national polls of Democratic voters as the candidate with the best chance to oust Republican President Donald Trump. But Sanders, a longtime senator from the northeastern state of Vermont and a self-declared democratic socialist, has pushed Biden to second place in national polls after winning the popular vote in the first three party nominating contests this month.Meanwhile, Biden finished fourth in Iowa, fifth in New Hampshire and a distant second to Sanders last Saturday in Nevada.U.S. political analysts credited Biden with a strong debate performance, but verbal gaffes marred his performance.While promoting his support for gun control legislation, Biden mistakenly said that 150 million Americans had been shot to death in recent years, a staggering number that involved nearly half the U.S. population. His campaign later acknowledged that the correct number was 150,000 people.Trump, assessing the Democratic candidates, took note of Biden’s mistake.”Crazy, chaotic Democrat Debate last night. Fake News said Biden did well, even though he said half of our population was shot to death. Would be OVER for most,” he tweeted.Crazy, chaotic Democrat Debate last night. Fake News said Biden did well, even though he said half of our population was shot to death. Would be OVER for most. Mini Mike was weak and unsteady, but helped greatly by his many commercials (which are not supposed to be allowed….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2020Whatever Biden’s fate in South Carolina, he and the other Democratic candidates face an immediate new challenge on Super Tuesday, when 14 states hold Democratic nominating contests to pick delegates to the party’s national convention in July.While 54 delegates are in play in South Carolina, a total of 1,357 are at stake on Super Tuesday, when former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears on the ballot for the first time. The one-day voting marathon accounts for a third of the delegates.Because Democrats award national delegates based on the proportion of the vote the candidates claim in each state, several contenders could win a sizable delegate count.But based on polling, fivethirtyeight predicts Sanders could win 587 pledged delegates on Tuesday. Biden could win 305; Bloomberg, 211; and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 132.Such a result would put Sanders in a commanding position to eventually claim the Democratic presidential nomination, although nowhere near the 1,990-delegate majority any of the candidates need. A large Sanders lead after Super Tuesday could also force out weaker performing candidates.
 

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