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Democracy 2020 Digest: Dems circle wagons around Biden in Michigan

Sen. Cory Booker was back on the presidential campaign trail on Monday – not stumping for himself – but instead speaking out on behalf of onetime rival Joe Biden.

The New Jersey Democrat, who clashed at times with the former vice president on the primetime presidential nomination debate stage, called Biden a “statesman” as he introduced him at a campaign event in Flint, Mich., on the eve of that state’s crucial March 10 primary.

MARCH 10 PRIMARY PRIMER: THE STATES AND THE STAKES

“It should be obvious. My whole campaign for president of the United States was about the idea that we need to bring this country together,” Booker emphasized.

“We have the potential to have a Joe Biden, who is truly the one that’s calling us to stand together, not fall apart,” Booker added as he stressed that the former vice president could be the healer and bridge builder for a “wounded nation.”

Booker’s endorsement of Biden came one day after Sen. Kamala Harris of California — another onetime White House contender who traded fire with Biden on the debate stage – also backed the former vice president. She was scheduled to join Biden and Booker at a campaign event Monday evening in Detroit.

WHAT BOOKER AND HARRIS ONCE SAID ABOUT BIDEN

The endorsements from Harris and Booker follow other former rivals who’ve supported the former vice president over the past nine days. The endorsements have flowed since he won the South Carolina primary in a landslide over the front-runner for the Democratic nomination at the time: Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The pace was accelerated last week after Biden swept 10 of the 14 states holding primaries on Super Tuesday and took the lead over Sanders in the all-important race for Democratic nomination convention delegates.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg all suspended their campaigns and backed Biden. So did former candidates such as former Rep. Beto O’Rouke of Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland.

The former vice president also enjoyed a tidal wave of endorsements from current and former members of Congress and governors as the party establishment all coalesced around Biden to prevent Sanders – a populist senator and self-described democratic socialist – from becoming the party’s standard-bearer in November’s general election.

‘Kind of superstitious’

Two polls released on the eve Michigan’s primary showed Biden with large double digit leads over Sanders in Tuesday’s primary. The former vice president topped Sanders 51 percent to 36 percent among likely Democratic presidential primary voters in Michigan in a Monmouth University survey. And he was ahead of Sanders by a whopping two-dozen percentage points in a second live telephone operator survey – by EPIC MRA for the Detroit Free Press.

With 125 pledged delegates at stake, Michigan is the biggest prize among the six states holding primaries on Tuesday. Missouri, Mississippi, Washington state, Idaho and North Dakota also hold contests.

Sanders, who’s making his second straight presidential run, defeated eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016’s primary in Michigan, in what was considered an upset win. That foreshadowed Clinton’s narrow loss to Donald Trump in the November 2016 general election in Michigan. Trump’s victory with working-class white voters in the state, as well as similar narrow wins in two other crucial Rust Belt states – Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – propelled him to the White House.

But the pre-Michigan primary polls four years ago got it all wrong – they showed Clinton with a double-digit lead over Sanders.

Biden — very cognizant of the polling debacle in 2016 – stressed on Monday that “I’m kind of superstitious, I see all these polls. … I remember Hillary was up by 23 points … I don’t take anything for granted.”

Sanders loses top spot in national polls

Sanders was the front-runner for the Democratic nomination after winning the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary and then shellacking the field a week and a half later at the Nevada caucuses. But two new national polls released on Monday indicate that Biden is once again the clear front-runner for the nomination – thanks to his impressive victories in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday.

A new national survey by SSRS for CNN released Monday indicated Biden with 52 percent support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, and Sanders at 36 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – who dropped out of the race last Thursday while the poll was being conducted – stood at 7 percent. And Biden topped Sanders 54-35 percent in a new national survey from Quinnipiac University.

Sanders – hoping for a revival in the March 10 contests — headlined a Fox News Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. ET in Detroit. Earlier, campaigning in Saint Louis ahead of the Missouri primary, the senator urged younger voters to cast ballots.

“I hope all the old people vote, that’s great, but I want young people to be voting at the same rates!” Sanders urged.

And he touted, “Our campaign is the campaign that can bring millions of young people to the polls.”

Gun reform group backs Biden

Everytown for Gun Safety – praising Biden’s record on combating gun violence — said on Monday that “Vice President Joe Biden is unquestionably the candidate in the race who has spent a lifetime fighting to protect Americans from gun violence while repeatedly taking on the NRA and winning.”

Biden has spotlighted his record in taking on the NRA as he’s painted contrasts with Sanders.

Everytown – which was co-founded by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg – pledged to spend $60 million this election cycle to boost “gun sense” candidates up and down the ballot.

Separately, Bloomberg on Monday contributed an additional $2 million to help register half a million African-American voters ahead of the general election.

Fox News’ Allie Raffa, Tara Prindiville and Kelly Phares contributed to this report

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‘There are going to be cases’: Coronavirus gets real for an aging Senate

“I think most members are in good shape,” he added. “But it does attack older people like myself. But again, it’s a lot like the flu in terms of the way it interacts — without a vaccine.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), 62, said he doubled the number of paid sick days for his staffers on Monday to encourage them to stay home if they are sick. But those who have been infected with the virus often do not show symptoms for several days, and he acknowledged that it will be difficult for those who work in the Capitol to remain healthy.

“You can’t just not shake people’s hands,” Kaine said. “We are in a profession where we are with a ton of people and we are interacting with them in ways where even if it’s a disease where you can be asymptomatic and transmit. It’s challenging.”

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to head off on a week-long recess next week, and in the meantime lawmakers will grapple with twin — and often competing — priorities: protecting themselves, but also standing ready to legislate on a possible economic stimulus package.

Lawmakers are also worried about inducing potentially unnecessary panic among Americans, and said it was too early to consider operational changes like barring tourists or asking staffers to work from home.

So far, Senate leaders have not hinted at any imminent changes to the chamber’s schedule that could keep lawmakers on recess for longer. The matter was not discussed at the Senate GOP leadership meeting on Monday evening, according to an attendee. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was no reason to alter the congressional calendar “at this time.”

But on Sunday and Monday alone, there were new reasons for senators to be alarmed about their daily and weekly routines.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz announced that he would self-quarantine this week at his home in Texas after coming into contact with an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) opted against attending a House GOP retreat over the weekend, citing concerns about transmitting the virus to vulnerable family members.

Two additional House Republicans — Doug Collins of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida — announced they, too, would self-quarantine. Both men interacted with the president in recent days: Collins shook hands with him last week and Gaetz rode with him on Air Force One on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thanked Cruz for staying home “out of an abundance of caution” and urged his colleagues to listen to health experts.

“Our great nation is very strong,” he said. “We have enormous expertise and tremendous capabilities and Congress… have made sure our health experts and leaders have the funding they need.”

On top of that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on Sunday warning the elderly and those with underlying health conditions against taking long flights. The federal government’s guidance has changed almost daily as officials learn more about the coronavirus and its effects on the human body, and lawmakers said they are prepared for more restrictions.

“I’m on an airplane twice a week for an hour or two each time and there will come a point where they’re going to tell me that’s not a smart thing to do,” Durbin acknowledged.

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The Sunrise Movement Is Mobilizing to Stop Joe Biden

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WASHINGTON — Despair, denial, desperation, and ultimately, a rededication to electing Sen. Bernie Sanders.

That’s how the nation’s preeminent youth climate group is handling the Super Tuesday losses of Sanders, who now looks dangerously close to flopping in his second attempt at the Democratic nomination.

The Sunrise Movement rose to prominence after a Green New Deal protest in front of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and other hardball tactics earned them props from the progressive left. Earlier this year, they endorsed Sanders on the strength of his embrace of the Green New Deal, and have since been fully absorbed into his campaign, knocking doors, making phone calls and appearing on stage alongside the candidate.

Varshini Prakash, the group’s executive director, led a conference call with group members across the country Sunday night just days before what could be a disappointing blow to Sanders’ campaign in Tuesday’s Michigan primary. She tried to rouse her troops into action after what she called a “rude and clear reminder” of the power of the Democratic establishment and media to sway the electorate.

“We have had some tremendous wins, we have had some close and heart wrenching losses,” she said. “I feel like I cheered, I cried, I raged, I felt confused, I felt defeated, I felt hope, I felt so much love for this movement, and above it all I felt proud.”

READ: The Sunrise Movement bet big on Bernie in 2020. Here’s why.

Super Tuesday was a heartbreaker for Sunrise members, who see climate change as the existential issue of their time and, until last week, were watching their candidate leading the race for the Democratic nod against all odds. Even as she said she doesn’t buy the narrative that Sanders’ Super Tuesday loss was that bad, Prakash said it’s a super close primary that could go either way.

So what now? Well, they’re open to ideas — and they’re asking their members to go rogue.

Whether it’s hosting a teach-in at school, a get-out-the-vote party, a social media campaign, or canvassing on the dating app, Tinder, Prakash said she doesn’t want her members to wait for instructions from group leaders about where to show up and how to protest.

“We need to embody what Martin Luther King described as a fierce urgency of now and we don’t totally know how exactly we’re going to do this,” Prakash said. “We also need to start thinking more creatively and outside the box about what we can do that goes beyond convincing one voter at a time. We need to think about how we can make 2020 a generational uprising for a Green New Deal.”

That could lead to some bold and unpredictable protests over the next few months. Prakash called for a return to the “moral protests,” “strikes,” and “strategic disruption,” that catapulted the group from unknown advocates to a regular fixture in progressive politics, like the Pelosi protest or a days-long sleep-in on the outdoor steps of the Democratic National Committee office calling for a climate debate.

READ: Sanders vs. Biden is about to get really, really ugly

One group member chimed in on the chat section of the Zoom app Sunrise used to hold the conference call that they’re planning a banner drop at former Vice President Joe Biden’s Philadelphia campaign office. Another suggested Bernie-related graffiti on the sidewalks and walls around schools. Yet another is self-publishing a Green New Deal for Christians book.

And of course someone else suggested making Bernie and Green New Deal Tik Toks.

The conference call reflected a desperation from a young group that threw their lot in with Sanders only to watch him get sidelined by the Democratic establishment and voters in key states. They believe Sanders would better tackle the defining issue of their lives, but now might be stuck with a candidate they have advocated hard against.

Prakash said voters who consider climate change to be their top issue preferred Biden to Sanders, so the Sunrise Movement plans to bird-dog Biden over the next few weeks to try to bring attention to his record.

READ: This YouTuber is filming himself calling Biden supporters to day Joe has dementia

“If climate voters shift to Bernie, it could literally sway the election,” she said. “So over the next few weeks, we need to be everywhere that Biden is. We need to be asking him hard questions to push him on this record. We need to put those interactions online to highlight for voters why Bernie is the best candidate to energize our generation and defeat Trump.”

And while that part of the plan is designed to shift the election in Sanders’ favor, it also serves to push Biden to come up with a climate plan more acceptable to the young activists, or risk them not showing up on Election Day.

“We need to Push Biden’s to be a stronger candidate more capable of mobilizing young and climate voters should he be the Democratic nominee against Trump,” she said.

The work will climax at an April 22 Earth Day strike and rally, said Evan Weber, the group’s political director. He said he wants the youth strikes at high school, colleges, churches and other institutions to amount to the largest sustained youth climate strike yet.

“This year, we’re going to take Earth Day back and take it over, because it’s unfortunately become an opportunity for greenwashing and photo ops for politicians,” he told listeners on the call.

Finally, although Jessica Cisneros, the candidate for the House who they endorsed in a heated Texas primary, lost, they want to rededicate themselves to helping boost the other candidates they’ve endorsed: Morgan Harper in Ohio, and Marie Newman and Robert Emmons in Illinois.

Cover: Members of The Sunrise Movement stands outside the Senator Mitch McConnell’s office on Monday morning during a rally in favor of the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. On 25 February 2019 in Washington, DC, United States. (Photo by Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Biden Leads by Nearly 20 Percent Nationally, Despite Voters Believing Sanders is More Honest

A new poll shows Democratic voters favor former Vice President Joe Biden by almost 20 percent over Senator Bernie Sanders for the presidential nomination, although a larger number believe Sanders is honest.

The poll released Monday by Quinnipiac University showed Biden with 54 percent support among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, compared to only 35 percent for Sanders. A full 92 percent of Democrats believed Sanders is honest, while only 84 percent said the same of Biden.

However, Biden was viewed as more electable than Sanders. Although 80 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic believed that Biden was either likely or somewhat likely to beat President Donald Trump in November, only 61 percent were confident that the same was true of Sanders.

Biden’s campaign has completed a remarkable turnaround over the last week. Dominant performances on Super Tuesday were likely boosted by a blowout win in South Carolina days earlier, along with last minute endorsements from former candidates including Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

As of Monday, Biden had 661 pledged delegates with 573 for Sanders, although some votes were yet to be counted in the California primary, which could slightly narrow the gap. A total of 1,991 delegates are needed to win the nomination outright.


Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina on February 25, 2020.
Win McNamee/Getty

The next phase of the race begins Tuesday, when six states vote in nominating contests. Recent polling in the states has been largely positive for Biden, who some experts believe could soon build an insurmountable lead over Sanders.

Despite respondents in Monday’s poll believing Sanders to be more honest, Biden was ahead on overall favorability. The poll found Biden with 77 percent favorability among Democrats and those who lean Democratic, compared to 71 percent favorability for Sanders. Those who found Biden unfavorable numbered 13 percent, with 17 percent for Sanders.

The poll saw Biden with a 52 percent to 41 percent lead over Trump among all voters in a hypothetical general election matchup. Sanders also beat Trump, but by the smaller margin of 49 percent to 42 percent.

Respondents were also asked about Trump’s handling of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Republicans who approved of the president’s handling of the virus were 87 percent, while 83 percent of Democrats disapproved. Opinions were similarly polarized in Trump’s overall job approval numbers, with 89 percent of Republicans approving and 95 percent of Democrats disapproving.

The poll was conducted from March 5 to 8 and surveyed 1,261 registered voters across the U.S. via cell phones and landlines. It has an overall margin of error of 2.8 percent. Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents surveyed numbered 559, carrying a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

Newsweek reached out to the Sanders campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Trump’s Coronavirus Claims Often Contradicted by His Own Experts

(Bloomberg) — With financial markets in freefall Monday morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Trump administration is aggressively responding to “a very serious public health threat” posed by coronavirus.

Azar told Fox News: “Nobody is trying to minimize this.”

Six minutes later, the president did just that. In a tweet sent as he arrived in Orlando, Florida, for a re-election fundraiser, Trump said seasonal flu deaths in the U.S. had so far outpaced those who perished from coronavirus. “Think about that!” he said.

The spread of the deadly virus is thrusting Trump’s science and health experts into the uncomfortable role of carefully — but clearly — contradicting him by offering warnings, grounded in science, about the risks from the disease and recommending some Americans alter their daily routines.

In the past, aides who have dared to diverge from the president too much or express concern about his bluster and bravado — which Trump sees as leverage in high-stakes negotiations — often are ejected from the administration.

But with the nation facing an unprecedented health scare, members of Trump’s coronavirus task force have taken on the burden of contradicting the president’s don’t-worry approach to the crisis.

Within the past week, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said the virus may not just disappear when the weather gets warmer, as Trump predicted. Fauci in an NBC interview over the weekend also had much stronger advice to older and vulnerable Americans, telling them “no large crowds, no long trips and, above all, don’t get on a cruise ship.”

Even Vice President Mike Pence, one of the president’s most loyal defenders, tried to clarify Trump’s claim that the mortality was lower than 1%, saying the data was still coming in.

Market Sell-Off

The competing messages that come from the task force and Trump might help explain why the president’s sanguine comments haven’t stopped historic sell-offs on financial markets or reassured Americans who are canceling travel and stocking up at grocery stores.

On Monday, the S&P 500 sank more than 7% — the most since the May 2010 flash crash. The index, now down 18% from its Feb. 19 all-time high, is threatening to end the record-long bull market that began 11 years ago to the day.

The tension between Trump and his public health officials has been evident from the early days of the crisis. On Feb. 25, the president told reporters traveling with him in India that the virus was “very well under control in our country” and that the U.S. was “in very good shape.”

“Let’s just say we’re fortunate so far,” Trump said. “And we think it’s going to remain that way.

But hours later, federal health officials warned that the spread of the virus was inevitable and advised businesses to arrange for employees to work from home and consider scrapping meetings and conferences.

‘This Could Be Bad’

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters. “We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad.”

That grim prognosis rattled markets, and Trump spent the nearly day-long flight back from India stewing over a crisis that could pose an existential threat to his presidency. When he returned, he again sought to downplay the threat posed by the virus, saying he didn’t believe spread was “inevitable.”

“We have it so well under control,” Trump said. “We really have done a very good job.”

Thus began weeks of the president reassuring Americans that there was little to fear, even as his top health officials sounded the alarm.

Warm Weather

During a meeting on March 2 with pharmaceutical executives, the president sought to buttress his frequent contention that the virus might disappear as temperatures warm.

“It seems to be very seasonal, right?” Trump asked.

Senators pressed Fauci on that point a day later, and got a more circumspect answer.

“This is a brand new virus, with which we have no experience,” Fauci said. “So, even though the concept that when warm weather comes many respiratory viruses diminish, we have no guarantee at all that this is going to happen with this virus.”

Like Fauci, officials in the Trump administration have learned to push back gently on the more extreme falsehoods from the president, whether it’s diminishing the threat of Russian interference in U.S. elections or the danger posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Vaccine Timetable

Sometimes administration officials attempt to rein in the president on the fly — like when he asked health officials last Monday about the possibility of a vaccine “over the next few months.”

“You won’t have a vaccine,” Azar said. “You’ll have a vaccine to go into testing.”

“So you’re talking within a year?” Trump added.

“A year to a year and a half,” Fauci responded.

President’s Hunch

A day later, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he “personally” believed the mortality rate was “way under one percent.”

It fell to coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and Pence to give the president’s hunch more context two days later as they visited Seattle, where a nursing home outbreak led to more than a dozen deaths. Birx indicated Trump may have been basing his remarks on data from South Korea, which showed lower mortality rates than other countries.

“I think the president’s point was that the world is still discovering the scope of the coronavirus because many people that contract the coronavirus have no symptoms,” Pence said.

Pence offered a similarly subtle correction on Friday, after the president claimed during a tour of CDC headquarters in Atlanta that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.”

In fact, testing capacity remained limited.

“I have every confidence that your physician would contact state health officials and have access to the state lab,” Pence said of someone who wanted a test. “We’ve made those tests available to the state labs.”

Trump has sought to portray himself as a medical expert. During a visit to the CDC in Atlanta, Trump suggested his know-how emanated from a “great super-genius uncle” who taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?”’ Trump said. “Maybe I have a natural ability.”

Political Opposition

The president’s political opponents have picked up on the mixed messages, with Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden saying Monday that he wished Trump would “be quiet” and “just let the experts speak.”“There’s no confidence in the president, in anything he says or does,” the former vice president said in an interview with MSNBC. “He turns everything into what he thinks is a political benefit for himself, when he’s actually imploding in the process. But there’s a lot of innocent bystanders that are being badly hurt.”

Still, divergent messages continued to emanate from the White House.

During the same Fox News interview on Monday, Azar was asked about reports that the administration was seeking to limit visits by foreign dignitaries. Azar said he hadn’t seen such an announcement, but that the White House was “going to take steps just like private industry to ensure protection of our people and mitigate the spread of disease.”

Within an hour, press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement that said the reports were “completely false.”“We are conducting business as usual,” she said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net;Mario Parker in Washington at mparker22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Justin Blum, Joshua Gallu

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Medicare for All won’t happen even if Sanders wins and Democrats take the Senate

The NY Times published a news story today which finally says what many observers have noted for months. There is almost zero chance Medicare for All will become law even if Bernie Sanders wins the White House. In fact, even if Democrats win the Senate and change the filibuster rules, that probably wouldn’t matter either.

Just 14 members of the Senate have signed on to his Medicare for All Act, which would require a huge expansion of federal spending, and Democrats would need to pick up four seats in November to gain majority control of the chamber. Even if they succeeded, most of the Democrats seeking to unseat vulnerable Senate Republicans — John Hickenlooper in Colorado, for example, and Mark Kelly in Arizona — have come out against Medicare for all, raising the curious prospect of Democratic Senate candidates opposing the Democratic presidential nominee’s most prized policy plan.

In the House, a similar Medicare for all bill has 119 sponsors, all Democrats, out of a total 435 members — at least 218 votes are needed to pass legislation — and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not among the supporters. Nor are most of the roughly 40 freshman Democrats known as “front liners,” who helped their party win control of the House in 2018 by flipping Republican seats…

Even if the rules were changed to get rid of the filibuster, making it possible to pass major legislation with only 50 Senate votes, “there is not any guarantee that the 51st Democrat would be willing to support Medicare for all or anything close to it,” said Mark Peterson, a professor of public policy, political science and law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In sum, there’s almost no chance this is going to happen. And that’s even before you consider the substantial push back that would begin the moment Democrats tried to make this happen.

The industry groups that were largely on board for the Affordable Care Act have already mobilized, through groups like the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, to squelch any thoughts of Medicare for all. They are aggressively lobbying Congress and spending on television ads, one of which aired during the most recent Democratic debate.

Here’s the ad which opposes all of the Democratic proposals including the Public Option:

What’s odd is that nothing in this story is really news. Since Bernie Sanders announced he was running for president last February all of the same conditions have been in place. Sanders has promised his supporters Medicare for All several hundred times, in stump speeches and on television since then. So why is the Times only now getting around to mentioning that his top campaign priority isn’t possible?

I think there are two reasons. First, last month a number of high profile figures on the left suddenly decided it was important for people to know that Medicare for All had no chance of passing even if Bernie Sanders was elected. One of the people delivering that message was AOC, Bernie’s top surrogate. Paul Krugman said the same thing about a week later. This happened as Bernie Sanders was peaking in the polls and expected to do well on Super Tuesday. Suddenly people in Sanders’ camp decided it might help his campaign if moderates were less nervous about Medicare for All. So they began stating the obvious: It wasn’t going to happen no matter what Bernie said.

And then you had the South Carolina primary followed by Joe Biden’s big night on Super Tuesday. Rather suddenly, it looked as if Bernie’s campaign could be over in another week or two. There’s simply no more harm that can be done at this point by telling the truth.

That’s my guess as to why the Times finally wrote this story now instead of any time in the past year. Bernie’s people said it was okay and not long after that it appeared it wouldn’t matter anyway.

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Schumer’s SCOTUS Comments Were Designed To Mislead the Public

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price.”

With arms gesticulating wildly and angled toward the Supreme Court’s entrance, Senator Charles Ellis (“Chuck”) Schumer of New York spat out his venom, threatening two recently appointed justices with “who knows what.”

In levying the threat, the Senate minority leader stripped these two new justices of their titles (or any other honorifics), evidencing disrespect for their positions. Thus, Schumer treated these two justices as if they were mere pretenders, similar to the way that Hillary Clinton claims that President Trump was never really elected president.

After suffering blowback, even from stalwart pro-abortion, leftist groups like the American Bar Association, Schumer now claims what he really meant was the justices would pay a “political” price. Is that plausible?

Certainly, the House could impeach these justices, but as a senator, Schumer would have no role in that. Schumer cannot reduce the salary of justices or shorten their terms. So what could he mean?

TRENDING: ‘We All See What’s Going on Here:’ Dem Strategist Says ‘Deteriorating’ Biden Will Lead to Disaster for Party

The most logical interpretation is that these words were meant to be some type of threat of force or violence. In 2020, we are replete with video footage by journalist Andy Ngo and others being attacked by antifa in Portland, the hidden videos of Bernie Sanders’ campaign staffers threatening violence and attacks on those wearing Trump garb.

As Majority Leader Mitch McConnell analyzed what Schumer said: There is “nothing to call this except a threat.”

It is not, however, the two new justices who should “pay the price” for having “released the whirlwind” currently threatening women’s so-called “reproductive rights.” They were not on the court 47 years ago when Roe v. Wade was decided and Justice Harry Blackmun falsely promised that the Court would decide the matter by “constitutional measurement.”

But it was never about the Constitution, in Roe or at any time since. Being new to the court, Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh cannot be blamed for the dozens of abortion cases decided since Roe that actually have strayed even further away from the Constitution than Roe, if that were possible.

Rather, it is the pro-abortion justices on the court who released the whirlwind — on babies, and also on wounded mothers and fathers who only later realized what they had done. It is the high court that gratuitously imposed in Roe v. Wade upon the American people a “constitutional right” to an abortion based on neither constitutional text nor reason, neither law nor fact, but based wholly on emotion and predilection.

What then was the reason for Schumer’s outburst against the two most recent appointees to the court? This was no accident in carefully scripted 2020 Washington, D.C. These words were meant to inflame the crowds, exactly as they did on the Supreme Court steps.

And, importantly, Schumer’s impassioned accusation was designed to confuse the public by making it appear that the Supreme Court in the June Medical Services case being argued could ban abortion in every state overnight simply by overturning Roe v. Wade. That would be, politely stated, a pack of lies. But this is what many people think.

It certainly is past time for the Supreme Court to be set free from its mistaken abortion jurisprudence, and to forsake its misbegotten quest for a nationwide abortion policy.

But even if the high court were to overturn the unprincipled evil decision of Roe v. Wade and its progeny, it would not mean that abortion would be criminalized in all 50 states. Rather, it would return the abortion issue back to the states where it belongs.

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Before Roe, abortion was a state issue, and after Roe, it would again be a state issue, as Chuck Schumer well knows. It was the abortion lobby that used the court to nationalize the issue by striking down a Texas state law against abortion.

Now, as a pro-abortion political rabble-rouser, Schumer would therefore prefer to perpetuate the mistaken public perception that the law governing abortion in Texas must be the same as in Louisiana and that a repeal of Roe would ban abortion in states like New York, where it is legal in the extreme.

If there were any honesty left in Washington, our political leaders would make clear that even if the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, there is no law banning abortion in New York and the many other states where friends of the abortion industry have taken power and repealed anti-abortion laws.

The laws of those liberal jurisdictions would be untouched, lying outside the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court and the lower federal courts created by Congress.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Coronavirus: Want to help during the outbreak? Here are 5 ideas.

Right now, more than 109,000 people around the world have contracted the novel coronavirus, and more than 3,800 have died. Meanwhile, much of the world is waiting anxiously, wondering how bad the pandemic threat will get and whether it will affect those they love.

It’s easy to feel powerless in a time like this — there’s not yet a vaccine or drug for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. And Americans are watching their government scramble to implement measures to keep them safe — something it may not be entirely prepared to do.

But while individuals may not be able to halt the spread of coronavirus, there are some steps we can take to help protect the most vulnerable — and to combat some of the social ills exacerbated by the virus, like racism and age discrimination.

From washing our hands regularly to calling out racism to checking on elderly neighbors, we can do a lot to support each other. And while one of the effects of coronavirus can be physical isolation — either because of quarantine or “social distancing” measures imposed by public health officials to reduce viral spread — experts say that staying connected with others, at least in some way, is more important than ever.

As Stacy Torres, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, San Francisco, told Vox, “You don’t want to isolate yourself to the point where you’re not also supporting others.”

Take basic precautions — not just for yourself but for others

At this point, many people are probably aware of some of the precautions you can take to help reduce your risk of getting sick. But the same precautions can also help reduce the spread of coronavirus, in turn reducing its toll on elderly people and those with other health conditions, who are most likely to become severely ill. That’s why even if you’re young and healthy, medical experts agree it’s important to follow certain simple steps.

First of all, wash your hands. As Vox’s German Lopez and Julia Belluz report, it’s “one of the easiest ways to avoid the spread of infectious disease,” capable of reducing respiratory infections by 15 to 20 percent. You should wash your hands after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or caring for a sick person, and before eating.

Other precautions include avoiding touching your face, staying home when you’re sick, and cleaning surfaces that you touch a lot, like your phone, as James Hamblin writes at the Atlantic.

These simple steps can help protect you and those around you, and they can also reduce feelings of powerlessness.

“Anytime there’s something new, particularly when we can’t see it or feel it or taste it, [it] can create increased anxiety,” Robin Gurwitch, a psychologist and professor at Duke University School of Medicine, told Vox. But it can help reduce people’s worries to know that “there are things we can do.”

“We can really mitigate the impact of this disease,” Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Monday. “There are personal responsibilities that we’re asking everyone in the United States to take.”

If you do feel sick, here’s some guidance from public health experts on seeking medical information and help. If you’re not in a high-risk group and have symptoms, you should call a health professional — a doctor, a nurse, or a public health official.

Prepare — but don’t over-stockpile

Like washing your hands, having some necessities on hand in your home — if you’re in an economic position to buy them — is something that can help you and others. If you’re quarantined, or if the place where you live asks people to stay home to reduce spread, you and your family will need to have things like food, toiletries, and medications on hand (though as some have pointed out, not everyone is able to get a supply of medications in advance, one of the many shortcomings of the American health care system that have been highlighted by coronavirus).

But it’s not just about the people in your home. Isolation measures will cause more people to depend on delivery, as Zeynep Tufekci writes at Scientific American. “But there are only so many delivery workers and while deliveries are better than people going shopping, it’s still a risk to everyone involved,” Tufekci writes. “So if fewer people need deliveries, then fewer people will get sick, and more people who need help such as the elderly can still get deliveries as the services will be less overwhelmed.”

As fears of the coronavirus are spreading, people are emptying store shelves of cleaning supplies, protective masks, and bottled water in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This is especially important since many delivery workers lack paid sick time and, if they make a lot of deliveries to sick people, risk getting an illness they can’t afford.

Tufekci recommends enough nonperishable food for two to three weeks, along with some bottled water in case of a disruption in access (though, she notes, this is less likely than community isolation measures), any prescriptions you need, and basic over-the-counter medications.

But she and others also warn people not to buy too much. As she points out, masks are not necessary for most healthy people, and are also running out in many places, making it harder for those who do need them, like health care workers, to get them.

And if you have the ability to purchase what you need, Torres says, “don’t go overboard with stockpiling,” since that could make it harder for low-income people — who may not be able to afford to order online or go to lots of different stores — to get what they need. In other words, buy just a few hand sanitizers (if you can even find one), Torres says, not a case.

Don’t join in racism and xenophobia

People have been using the coronavirus, which first sickened people in Wuhan, China, as an opportunity to revive racist stereotypes for months now. As Jenny G. Zhang wrote at Eater in January, “the outbreak has had a decidedly dehumanizing effect, reigniting old strains of racism and xenophobia that frame Chinese people as uncivilized, barbaric ‘others’ who bring with them dangerous, contagious diseases and an appetite for dogs, cats, and other animals outside the norms of Occidental diets.”

Media outlets have at times played into stereotypes, often using people in Asia or of Asian descent as the “face” of the coronavirus crisis, as Vox’s Nylah Burton reports, even though “the outbreak is not confined to — nor can be blamed on — Asian people.”

In fact, there have been numerous reports of discrimination and even assault against people of Asian descent, perpetrated by people who have used coronavirus as an excuse for racism. And Chinatowns across the country have lost business as people have avoided restaurants and other public places there. Even health officials have sometimes enabled racism — as Torres and Xuemei Cao wrote in a recent USA Today op-ed, the University of California Berkeley health center was recently criticized for an Instagram post that referred to fear of interacting with Asian people as a “common reaction” to coronavirus news.

The school apologized after widespread condemnation, and for people who feel safe and able to do so, calling out racism around coronavirus can be an appropriate response, Torres said: “It may take, in some instances, bravery and dealing with awkwardness, but I think it’s important to say something.”

Many people may also need to check their own biases, Torres said, making sure that their behavior during this time is informed by science and not racism. That means following recommendations from health officials, “not avoiding whole areas just because a certain ethnic or racial group lives there.”

If businesses owned by people of Asian descent in your area are struggling, you can help by buying from them — a point city officials around the country have made by visiting Chinatowns in recent weeks.

Don’t write off the people most vulnerable to the virus — reach out to them

The fact that coronavirus appears most deadly in older people and those with underlying medical conditions has been reassuring for some who are young and relatively healthy. But some have gone beyond reassurance and into dismissing coronavirus as unimportant because it “only” kills the old and sick.

This attitude is “really dangerous because it sort of relegates people who have a chronic illness, people who have disabilities, and older adults” to a category of people who somehow don’t matter, Torres said, sending the message that “we don’t have to care about this group as much.”

Combating such narratives as a society is about “reaffirming our commitment that every life is valuable,” Torres said. “These are not just, oh, those people over there. These are our neighbors, these are people in our communities, these are people in our families.”

And on an individual level, for people who are young and currently healthy, pushing back against ageism can be as simple as making a point to check in on older relatives, neighbors, and people in your community, Torres said. The National Council on Aging has some basic tips for helping older people during this time, including making sure they have plenty of food and medical supplies on hand, including anything needed for dialysis or wound care.

The CDC has recommended that people over 60 stay home if possible and avoid crowds, and officials note that if you are sick, you should not visit an older adult or someone with a chronic condition that puts them at risk. However, you can always check in on loved ones and community members with a call or FaceTime.

If you are caring for older relatives, health officials also recommend identifying a backup caregiver who can step in if you get sick.

Charlie Campbell a retired nurse accompanies his mom Dorothy, 88, to see her husband Gene, 89, through his room window at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington where multiple cases of coronavirus have been linked and some patients have died, on March 5, 2020.
Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

While some groups of people may be most vulnerable to the virus itself, others, including those who experience anxiety and depression, may be feeling the mental health impact of living in fear of a global pandemic. For those experiencing mental health challenges during this time, Gurwitch, the Duke psychologist, recommends resources like the Disaster Distress Helpline — as well as, if possible, taking a break from the news.

To support others who are having a hard time right now, Gurwitch says that just dismissing their worries can be counterproductive. “If I tell you, don’t worry about it, everything’s fine,” she said, “that really discounts my concerns.” Instead, “with our friends and families that are feeling distressed, we can empathize and we can validate that this can be a really scary, anxiety-provoking time.”

Rather than telling someone not to worry, consider asking what they are doing for self-care, Gurwitch said. And stay in touch if you can, “because when we sit with our thoughts all by ourselves, they can spiral,” she said.

With ever-changing restrictions and recommendations, meeting in person isn’t always possible. But Gurwitch advises people to plan ahead for how they might stay connected with friends, loved ones, and community members if they are quarantined or isolated, whether that’s FaceTiming with relatives or finding a way to stream a church service online.

Be informed and mindful of those most impacted

Misinformation about coronavirus, whether it comes from social media users or, troublingly, President Trump, can feed xenophobia and make people less safe. Experts agree that ordinary people should be getting their information from trusted sources like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We really need to make sure that the information that we are basing our actions upon is coming from a trusted messenger,” Gurwitch said.

But being informed isn’t just about understanding the virus and appropriate precautions. It’s also about understanding the policy environment in which the virus occurs, and advocating for the changes you want to see to that environment. As Vox’s Dylan Scott points out, the spread of coronavirus is an excellent case, if anyone still needed one, for paid sick leave in the United States. It’s also a reminder of the millions of people in America who are uninsured or underinsured in America, and how vulnerable they are, both medically and financially, to a variety of public health threats beyond just this one. Not everyone has the luxury of thinking about public policy right now, but if you do, there are a lot of places to start.

Meanwhile, those in positions of power need to understand what those with less privilege are going through right now. People who work in food service, elder care, or cleaning likely interact with a lot of people every day and may be especially vulnerable to getting sick, Torres said. “These workers are largely women of color, immigrants, making really low wages, stitching together a number of jobs.”

Employers — including anyone who employs a nanny or a house cleaner — need to be “working with people who may be sick to be able to rest and recover” as well as making sure they have time off to care for family members who are sick or children whose schools are closed.

People with the means to do so can also donate to help those most affected by coronavirus. In the Seattle area, for example, a group of nonprofits and businesses has started the Covid-19 Response Fund, which aims to help people without health insurance, gig economy workers, and others, according to the Seattle Times — the fund is now accepting donations. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy also has a dedicated fund for coronavirus response, as well as general recommendations for donations: the center advises donating to organizations working in places with poor access to medical care, as well as organizations that focus on clean water and general sanitation and hygiene.

Overall, there can be a temptation during times of crisis to think of oneself and one’s family first — and depending on your situation, you may not have the resources to do more. But for people who do have the ability to support others, it’s a crucial time to do so.

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After HHS Secretary Says ‘Nobody Is Trying to Minimize’ U.S. Coronavirus Threat, Trump’s Tweet Implies the Exact Opposite

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar insisted in a Monday interview that “nobody is trying to minimize” the risks of coronavirus, arguing it was a “very serious public health threat.” But minutes later, his boss, President Donald Trump, posted a tweet appearing to suggest the opposite.

“This is a very serious health problem. Nobody is trying to minimize that,” Azar said in an interview with Fox News. “It is a very serious public health threat to the people of the United States, and that’s why President Trump from day one has been aggressive with a whole of government approach and will continue to do so,” he insisted.

Then, just a few minutes later, Trump weighed in with a tweet, suggesting inaccurately that coronavirus (or COVID-19) is less of a threat than the common flu.

“So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on,” the president posted to Twitter. “At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

While there are tens of thousands of cases of flu deaths in the U.S. annually, Trump’s assessment disregards the higher death rate that results from coronavirus. While the seasonal flu has a death rate of about 0.1 percent, the World Health Organization has said that 3.4 percent of those confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 have died.

Health experts have estimated, however, that the overall death rate from coronavirus is around 2 percent. They have noted that many cases in which people have mild symptoms have not been reported or confirmed. Regardless, 2 percent and 3.4 percent are both higher than 0.1 percent.

On February 28, Trump told rally goers in South Carolina that coronavirus was the “new hoax” by the Democrats. He later, in a meeting with administration officials, questioned why the new virus could not be treated with an ordinary flu shot. Then, in an interview with Fox News, he suggested that people with the virus could just go to work, which health experts and officials have explicitly warned against.

As a result, Trump has faced criticism for his administration’s response to the outbreak. Even some Republicans have urged the president to listen to science and health experts.

“I listen to the scientists when it comes to the numbers, and I would encourage the president if he’s going to report things to make sure the science is behind what he’s saying,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is typically a defender of the president, told reporters last Thursday.


Alex Azar speaks next to President Donald Trump during a tour of the CDC in Atlanta on March 6. Trump has pushed back against criticism of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus response.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

Trump has repeatedly pushed back against criticism of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus response.

“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant,” Trump tweeted earlier in the day on Monday.

More than 100,000 people have been confirmed to have contracted coronavirus around the world, with the bulk of those cases being in China, where the virus was first discovered. Data suggests that the virus is much less severe in those 30 and younger, while the risk of death increases significantly among the elderly. Those with pre-existing health conditions–such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems–also appear to be at greater risk of serious complications if infected.