“I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight, I wonder why,” said Senator Bernie Sanders said during the presidential candidates' debate in Charleston, South Carolina. “A lot of the issues we’ll be discussing tonight are issues that I raised four years ago.” The 2020 presidential primary debates have always been largely about the ideas put forward by Sanders. His agenda and policy proposals - raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right - have dominated the discussion at each one, including at the South Carolina debate on February 25. All the rest of the candidates, including progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have spent most of the campaign trying to distinguish themselves from him. But the further they get from his nationally popular positions, the more their poll numbers go down. Sanders' choice of words is changing the way we talk. Just a few hours before the South Carolina debate, former progressive presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson published an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, defending the use the word “democratic” in "democratic socialism." And the day after the South Carolina debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’d be comfortable with Sanders at the top of the Democratic ticket in November. That’s why Sanders continues to set the terms of the public debate: Because state by state, no matter what the Democratic establishment calls him, his ideas are popular.
Trump Bungles Coronavirus Response
Coronavirus lays bare all the pathologies of the Trump administration. WaPo: "Covid-19 has already infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths, and experts doubt it will slow in the spring. Yet Trump tweeted on Monday that 'the Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA' and 'Stock Market starting to look very good to me!' By Tuesday, the stock market had experienced two days of sharp drops, and the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Nancy Messonnier, was urging 'the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad.' That a virus that started in China could have a bad impact on the United States should be no surprise: Diseases don’t respect borders any more than terrorists or trade flows do. This will be news only to an ultra-nationalist president animated by unreasoning animus to “globalism.” This prejudice is about as silly as being hostile to “the weather.” Globalism isn’t something you can be for or against; it’s simply a fact of life. But Trump’s whole presidency is built on denying basic realities such as global warming and Russian attacks on our politics."
Sanders Surpasses Biden With Black Voters
Rising number of Democrats say Sanders most likely to beat Trump as senator surpasses Biden in Black voter support. Common Dreams: "Support for Sen. Bernie Sanders among Democrats and African-American voters is growing, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos national polling results, which were released before Tuesday night's Democratic presidential primary debate in South Carolina. The poll, conducted Feb.19-25, found that a rising number of Democrats believe Sanders (I-Vt.) has the best chance of beating President Donald Trump in November. While that question was not asked of registered Republicans, a plurality of all other respondents (26%) said Sanders is 'most likely' to beat Trump in the general election, compared with 20% who said billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 19% who said they 'don't know,' and 17% who said former Vice President Joe Biden. Among registered Democratic voters, 29% selected Sanders as most likely to defeat the president compared with 21% who chose Bloomberg, 20% who named Biden, and 14% who said they "don't know." All the Democratic candidates except Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) were listed. As Reuters noted Wednesday, 'That was a big change from a month earlier, when 27% of respondents gave Biden the edge, and just 17% thought Sanders could beat Trump.'"
Democratic Megadonor Tries To Stop Sanders Momentum
Democratic megadonor urges Pelosi and Schumer to pick a candidate in a bid to stop Bernie Sanders. CNBC: "Democratic megadonor Bernard Schwartz has started reaching out to party leaders, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, to encourage them to back a candidate for president in order to stop the surge of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Schwartz, the CEO of BLS Investments, told CNBC that in recent days he’s been trying to speak with Pelosi and Schumer about making a pick, in the hope that voters will follow their lead and end up denying Sanders the party’s presidential nomination. Schwartz noted he has yet to hear back from them but insisted that, with Super Tuesday under a week away, party leaders have to take a stand now before Sanders captures the nomination — and, in his view, takes down the party."
Bloomberg Deletes Tweets Of Fake Comments
Bloomberg campaign deletes tweets of fake quotes of Sanders praising despots. Truthout: "ormer New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign came under fire after posting a series of now-deleted tweets that included fake quotes of 2020 Democratic front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders praising authoritarianism. As Common Dreams reported, Sanders’ comments praising former Cuban President Fidel Castro for literacy programs in the island nation echoed remarks made about the Cuban leader by former President Barack Obama just four years ago. Both Sanders and Obama denounced authoritarian rule in Cuba while acknowledging the Castro government oversaw major advances in its education and universal healthcare systems, leading to better health outcomes for Cubans. Bloomberg’s campaign, however, compared Sanders’ remarks to made-up statements attributed to the Vermont senator about former Ugandan President Idi Amin, Soviet leader Josef Stalin, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and others."
America's Broken Health Care System Unprepared For Coronavirus
America's patchwork, for-profit healthcare system poised to worsen coronavirus outbreak. Salon: "There's a reason that the story about a Miami man receiving a $3,270 medical bill after getting a test for Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) is going viral: it is a relatable cautionary tale for Americans accustomed to our piecemeal, overpriced, for-profit healthcare system. Despite the good news that Osmel Martinez Azcue tested negative for the virus, Azcue is left with a significant financial burden. (The Miami Herald reported that hospital officials said he will only be responsible for $1,400, thanks to his limited insurance plan from National General Insurance. However, he will have to provide three years of medical records to prove that the flu, which he tested positive for, didn't relate to a preexisting condition.) 'How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to eliminating the potential risk of person-to-person spread if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3,270 for a simple blood test and a nasal swab?' Azcue told the Miami Herald. He's got a point. Certainly, Azcue's story foreshadows the kind of havoc expected once COVID-19 begins to spread in the United States, which experts now think is inevitable. Lacking the universal healthcare plans of other developed nations, the United States' piecemeal, for-profit system essentially disincentivizes the uninsured and under-insured from seeking out testing for COVID-19, or even going to the doctor if they are sick in the first place. Supporters of Medicare for All, a universal healthcare system plan for the United States, have already pointed out how the potential for pandemic would be far less with such a system in place. 'I can't tell you how many times the people who handle your food — who are already overworked and underpaid — show up sick to work because our country refuses to guarantee healthcare or paid sick leave,' Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a former bartender, wrote on Twitter."