Super Tuesday ReadsPosted: March 3, 2020
Super Tuesday has arrived, and by tonight we should have a better idea of how the Democratic race for the nomination is going. If you live in Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, or Virginia, today is your day to vote. Here’s the state of the race after Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke endorsed Joe Biden last night.
The Washington Post: Power Up: Is this a two-person race or a slog? Waiting on Super Tuesday results.
YOUR (PROACTIVE) GUIDE TO SUPERDELEGATES: With 1,357 pledged delegates at stake today, Super Tuesday will go a ways in determining if there’s a clear front-runner in the Democratic primary or if we have a long slog ahead.
Meaning there’s still a chance the nomination battle drags on through the Democratic convention in Milwaukee this summer, resulting in a rare contested convention that hasn’t occurred for either major party in almost 70 years.
That became less likely as the moderate wing of the party moved rapidly to coalesce behind former vice president Joe Biden after his South Carolina win over fears that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the front-runner so far, is gaining unstoppable momentum. But Biden’s push to make this a two-person race isn’t guaranteed, and the party is still fractured enough that there could very well be a muddled picture and continued infighting moving ahead.
Nonetheless, Biden’s campaign rolled out endorsements all yesterday from party bigwigs and ex-rivals and appeared in Dallas last night with former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), as well as former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas).
“We need a politics that’s about decency, a politics that brings back dignity. That’s what Joe Biden has been practicing his entire life,” Buttigieg said at an event ahead of Biden’s rally.
Klobuchar declared at the rally: “I cannot think of a better way to end my campaign than joining his.”
Yet former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) remain in the race and might very well prevent Biden’s push to make this a two-man race. Depending on the delegate picture in a post-Super Tuesday world, it’s possible no candidate successfully captures a clear majority of delegates (1,991) necessary to secure the Democratic nomination.
Read more at the WaPo.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews shocked viewers at 7 last night by announcing his “retirement.”
Longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews announced on air Monday night that he was resigning following a slew of on-air fumbles and allegations that he made sexually inappropriate remarks to a political columnist in 2016.
“I’m retiring,” he said. “This is the last Hardball on MSNBC, and obviously this isn’t for lack of interest in politics.”
Over the past several weeks, the cable news veteran has been under increasing scrutiny due to allegations about previous offscreen conduct, as well as a number of eyebrow-raising on-air statements. Observers took note when Matthews, normally a staple of election coverage, did not appear on air on Saturday during the South Carolina primary.
“After my conversation with MSNBC, I decided tonight will be my last Hardball,” Matthews said on his show Monday night. “So let me tell you why. The younger generations are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, the media, and fighting for their causes. They’re improving the workplace. We’re talking about better standards than we grew up with, fair standards… Compliments on a woman’s appearance some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK were never OK. Certainly not today. For making such comments in the past, I’m sorry.” [….]
After Matthews delivered his resignation announcement, Steve Kornacki took over for the remainder of the hour, expressing shock over his colleague’s retirement.
The New York Times: Chris Matthews Out at MSNBC.
Chris Matthews, the veteran political anchor and voluble host of the long-running MSNBC talk show “Hardball,” resigned on Monday night, an abrupt departure from a television perch that made him a fixture of politics and the news media over the past quarter-century.
Mr. Matthews, 74, had faced mounting criticism in recent days over a spate of embarrassing on-air moments, including a comparison of Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign to the Nazi invasion of France and an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren in which the anchor was criticized for a condescending and disbelieving tone.
On Saturday, the journalist Laura Bassett published an essay accusing Mr. Matthews of making multiple inappropriate comments about her appearance, reviving longstanding allegations about the anchor’s sexist behavior. By Monday, his position at the news network he helped build had become untenable.
Accompanied by his family, Mr. Matthews walked onto the “Hardball” set inside NBC’s Washington bureau shortly before 7 p.m. to deliver a brief farewell. His longtime crew members, who had been told of his plans roughly an hour earlier, looked on stunned.
“I’m retiring,” Mr. Matthews told viewers in a solemn and brief monologue as his broadcast began at 7. “This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC.”
His sudden signoff took many colleagues by surprise — “Wait. What?” the MSNBC anchor Katy Tur wrote on Twitter — but it followed days of discussions with Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC and one of the early executive producers of “Hardball.”
Unfortunately, most of the news today is still about the coronavirus, which appears to be spreading rapidly in the U.S. and the testing situation is still problematic.
Last night a woman in Seattle posted her experience on Twitter. She says she has chronic bronchitis and is immunosuppressed. She works in a health care facility in Seattle and has symptoms.
As of this morning, she still has no further information. What’s in the headlines about the virus:
Associated Press: More testing sheds light on how virus is spreading in US.
SEATTLE (AP) — An increase in testing for the coronavirus began shedding light Monday on how the illness has spread in the United States, including in Washington state, where four people died at a nursing home and some schools were closed for disinfection.
New diagnoses in several states pushed the tally of COVID-19 cases past 100, and New Hampshire reported its first case, raising the total of affected states to 11. Seattle officials announced four more deaths, bringing the total in the U.S. to six.
In Seattle, King County Executive Dow Constantine declared an emergency and said the county was buying a hotel to be used as a hospital for patients who need to be isolated. He said the facility should be available by the end of the week.
“We have moved to a new stage in the fight,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence met with the nation’s governors and pledged to continue updating them weekly by teleconference. President Donald Trump met with pharmaceutical companies to talk about progress toward a vaccine.
The deaths at a nursing home in suburban Kirkland, Washington, were especially troubling to health care experts because of the vulnerability of sick and elderly people to the illness and existing problems in nursing facilities.
“It’s going to be a disaster,” said Charlene Harrington, who studies nursing homes at the University of California, San Francisco. Infection is already a huge problem in U.S. nursing homes because of a lack of nurses and training.
In Texas, tension between U.S. and local officials brewed over the planned release Monday of more than 120 ex-passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in quarantine in San Antonio. Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a public safety emergency in an attempt to continue the quarantine. He and other officials in San Antonio called for more lab testing of the passengers after one woman tested positive after release.
Read the rest at AP.
The New York Times: Defense Secretary Warns Commanders Not to Surprise Trump on Coronavirus.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper has urged American military commanders overseas not to make any decisions related to the coronavirus that might surprise the White House or run afoul of President Trump’s messaging on the growing health challenge, American officials said.
Mr. Esper’s directive, delivered last week during a video teleconference call with combatant commanders around the world, is the latest iteration of Mr. Trump’s efforts to manage public fears over the disease, even as it continues to spread around the world.
Mr. Esper told commanders deployed overseas that they should check in before making decisions related to protecting their troops.
In one exchange during last Wednesday’s video teleconference, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, the commander of American forces in South Korea, where more than 4,000 coronavirus cases have been detected, discussed his options to protect American military personnel against the virus, said one American official briefed on the call.
In response, Mr. Esper said he wanted advance notice before General Abrams or any other commander made decisions related to protecting their troops.
So it sounds like pacifying Trump is still the top priority–not protecting Americans.
Anthony Fauci might be the one person everyone in Washington trusts right now.
But at 79, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is in the thick of one of the biggest battles of 35 years in the role: The race to contain coronavirus when the nation is deeply polarized and misinformation can spread with one tweet — sometimes, from the president himself.
“You should never destroy your own credibility. And you don’t want to go to war with a president,” Fauci, who has been the country’s top infectious diseases expert through a dozen outbreaks and six presidents, told POLITICO in an interview Friday. “But you got to walk the fine balance of making sure you continue to tell the truth.”
And the truth about coronavirus? “I don’t think that we are going to get out of this completely unscathed,” he said. “I think that this is going to be one of those things we look back on and say boy, that was bad.”
The plainspoken scientist with a heavy Brooklyn accent has navigated outbreaks from HIV to Ebola, Zika and the anthrax scare with an ability to talk frankly yet reassuringly about threats, to explain science, public health and risk to the public in a way few can match.
But in this outbreak, he’s not always the comforting public face amid crisis.
More headlines, links only:
The New York Times: As Coronavirus Numbers Rise, C.D.C. Testing Comes Under Fire.
The Daily Beast: Defense Intelligence Agency Bans Some Domestic Travel, Sources Say.
The Atlantic: Trump’s Playbook Is Terribly Ill-Suited to a Pandemic.
That’s all I have for today. What stories are you following?