By Robert A. Vella
Pre-Super Tuesday analysis
Last weekend’s primary election in South Carolina has definitely changed the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination race going into tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primaries in 14 states. First, it established Joe Biden as a realistic contender by closing the delegate gap between him (54) and frontrunner Bernie Sanders (58) to four. Second, it forced two other candidates – Pete Buttigieg (26) and Tom Steyer (2) – to drop out leaving Elizabeth Warren (8) and Amy Klobuchar (7) far behind in the delegate count with Mike Bloomberg (0) emerging as a potential wildcard. Polling indicates that none of the remaining candidates will exclusively benefit from these dropouts as the votes appear to be spread out fairly evenly. Third, it increased the likelihood of a brokered convention in which no candidate wins the nomination with a majority of pledged delegates and the infamous super-delegates then become the decisive factor. Nate Silver’s 538 blog currently places the odds at 2 in 3 for no candidate winning a majority, 1 in 5 for Sanders winning, 1 in 7 for Biden winning, and <1 in 100 for everyone else.
As promised, I dug deeper into the South Carolina results to discover more insights into what that primary election means going forward. First of all, South Carolina is a very conservative state with an older population which generally favors Republicans and, in this case, Biden over Sanders. It is quite atypical of Democratic voters nationwide. Secondly, however, the high voter turnout is rather significant. The breakdown by CNN exit polls revealed that 70% of the voters were Democrats, 26% were Independents, and 5% were Republicans – although we don’t know which candidates Republicans voted for because it wasn’t reported. 50% of the voters were ideologically liberal, 41% moderate, and 9% conservative. 80% were previous voters, and 19% were first-time voters.
Since the GOP cancelled its primary in South Carolina to prevent challengers to President Trump, I am very interested in the motives of Republicans who voted in the Democratic primary. Trump publicly urged his supporters to vote for Sanders as a way to cause infighting among Democrats, and there were numerous anecdotal reports of Republicans who voted in opposition to Trump. While both of these numbers are probably small, it could make a difference in a very tight general election.
Democrats who were concerned that relatively low voter turnout in the Iowa caucuses meant Democratic voters were not keyed up for the 2020 general election can take heart in the South Carolina primary.
Voter participation in that state’s Democratic primary on Saturday was slightly higher than 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s soaring rhetoric and surprise win in Iowa had voters fired up and ready to go.
According to the South Carolina secretary of state’s office, 538,233 ballots were cast in the Democratic primary this year. In 2008, that number was 532,151. Those totals indicate much higher enthusiasm than 2016, when 370,904 people voted in the Democratic primary (73% of them for Hillary Clinton).
Biden’s victory was powered by his strong support among African Americans (61 percent versus 17 percent for Sanders). But beyond that, Biden won among almost all other categories, including white voters (33 percent to Sanders’s 23 percent). The only major demographic that Sanders did well with was young voters under 30 (Sanders received 43 percent, as against 26 percent for Biden). One reason Sanders did so poorly in South Carolina was that people under 45 were only 29 percent of the electorate, as against 37 percent in Nevada.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Nevada is the fifth most representative state in terms of resembling the Democratic Party, while South Carolina ranks 46th.)
According to a recent Morning Consult poll, the second-choice picks for Buttigieg voters are Sanders (21 percent), Warren (19 percent), Biden (19 percent), and Bloomberg (17 percent).
Coronavirus deaths top 3000
The death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic surpassed 3,000 on Monday as more people died in China, Iran and the US and Europe raised its state of alert.
The virus has now infected more than 89,000, spread to over 60 countries and threatens to cause a global economic slowdown — after first emerging in China late last year.
In Brussels, EU president Ursula von der Leyen said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) had increased its risk assessment for Europeans after Italy’s outbreak doubled in 48 hours.
The virus has raised fears for the world economy, with the OECD lowering its global growth forecast by half a point to 2.4 percent, the worst performance since the 2008 crisis.
Several US patients have recovered from coronavirus, but so far, the CDC has shared detailed clinical information about only one of those patients. That information includes what treatments the patients received and how they fared.
The CDC is the federal agency that communicates with physicians about how to handle outbreaks. Whether it’s SARS, Ebola or last year’s measles outbreak, the agency uses information from cases around the world — and in particular the United States — to advise doctors on how to diagnose, evaluate and treat diseases.
The federal agency possesses such information about several US coronavirus patients, but has not released it. That means doctors who now unexpectedly find themselves treating new coronavirus patients aren’t able to benefit from the findings of doctors who preceded them.
The CDC did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
Related story from: A Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial in Scientific Research
An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change — including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial — into the agency’s scientific reports, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times.
The misleading language appears in at least nine reports, including environmental studies and impact statements on major watersheds in the American West that could be used to justify allocating increasingly scarce water to farmers at the expense of wildlife conservation and fisheries.
The effort was led by Indur M. Goklany, a longtime Interior Department employee who, in 2017 near the start of the Trump administration, was promoted to the office of the deputy secretary with responsibility for reviewing the agency’s climate policies.
A federal judge on Sunday ruled that it was unlawful to appoint Ken Cuccinelli, an immigration hardliner chosen by President Donald Trump, to lead the agency responsible for processing US immigration requests.
Cuccinelli’s appointment violated a statute that governs how most federal vacancies are filled, according to the ruling. As a result, the judge invalidated a set of US asylum policies for the asylum seekers who are part of the case.
Advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit last year challenging the legitimacy of his role as acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, asking the court to set aside asylum policy changes issued shortly after he took office. Cuccinelli is currently serving as the acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees USCIS.
WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed a bid by gun rights advocates to overturn President Donald Trump’s ban on “bump stocks” – devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like a machine gun – implemented after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.
The justices left in place a lower court’s decision that upheld the Trump administration’s action to define bump stocks as prohibited machine guns under U.S. law.
(Bloomberg) — Iraq’s Mohammed Tawfik Allawi declined to form a cabinet and stepped down as designated prime minister, ending weeks of squabbling and returning the country to a political vacuum.
In a televised address early Monday in Baghdad, Allawi said he was quitting because of what he called “pressures from political parties seeking their own interests.”
Allawi, a former communications minister, failed twice to get parliament to vote on his proposed cabinet. He was asked in early February to take charge following several months of anti-government protests that led to the resignation of former premier Adil Abd Al-Mahdi in November.
Malaysia’s palace named former home affairs minister Muhyiddin Yassin as the next prime minister after a week of political chaos that began with the country’s 94-year-old leader Mahathir Mohamad’s abrupt resignation on Monday.
But Mr. Mahathir, who was appointed interim prime minister after his resignation, contested the appointment, saying he had the support of the majority of members of parliament to continue as prime minister and that the information that Mr. Muhyiddin had conveyed to the King about his level of support in parliament was incorrect.