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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The race for the Democratic Presidential nomination appears to be nearing its end after another big night for Joe Biden on Better Than Average Tuesday. As The Washington Post reports:
The campaign for the Democratic nomination has moved at warp speed over the past 10 days, and on Tuesday night it reached a decisive turning point. Barring something unforeseen, Democrats now know that former vice president Joe Biden will be the party’s nominee to challenge President Trump in November.
Biden scored a group of victories over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday, adding to the overwhelming — and unexpected — successes of a week ago on Super Tuesday. He romped in Mississippi, where he was expected to romp. He won handily in Missouri, where Sanders came agonizingly close four years ago. Most important, Biden won where Sanders could not afford to lose, in the general election battleground state of Michigan.
Biden remains well short of the 1,991 pledged delegates needed for a first-ballot victory at the national convention in Milwaukee in July. But with Tuesday’s results, he has solidified his lead in the delegate battle and, with the states that will hold their primaries in the next two weeks, that advantage inevitably will grow. Sanders has little time and few delegates remaining to be selected to have much chance of changing the trajectory.
Here’s more from The Washington Post on Biden’s biggest Tuesday victory in Michigan. Four more states — Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio — will cast ballots next Tuesday. Sanders lost all four states in 2016 to Hillary Clinton.
As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, the big question now is about how long Sanders will remain in the race:
The Joe Biden who took the stage in Philadelphia on Tuesday night to celebrate a series of victories including in the critical state of Michigan was a far cry from the exuberant comeback kid who had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat a week earlier on Super Tuesday.
This Biden was more measured, more magnanimous and more conciliatory. There was no gloating or boasting. And everything — from Biden’s tone to the speech he delivered — was all aimed at convincing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that the time had come to end his primary challenge.
“I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and passion,” Biden said. “We share a common goal. Together we’ll defeat Donald Trump. We’ll defeat him together. We’ll bring this nation together.”
Biden and Bernie Sanders are still scheduled to debate on Sunday in Arizona.
► President Trump is getting hammered politically for his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Even the conservative publication National Review is calling out Trump:
So far in this crisis, Donald Trump himself has obviously failed to rise to the challenge of leadership, and it does no one any favors to pretend otherwise…
…The failures of leadership at the top, however, show no sign of being corrected. In a serious public-health crisis, the public has the right to expect the government’s chief executive to lead in a number of crucial ways: by prioritizing the problem properly, by deferring to subject-matter experts when appropriate while making key decisions in informed and sensible ways, by providing honest and careful information to the country, by calming fears and setting expectations, and by addressing mistakes and setbacks.
Trump so far hasn’t passed muster on any of these metrics. He resisted making the response to the epidemic a priority for as long as he could — refusing briefings, downplaying the problem, and wasting precious time. He has failed to properly empower his subordinates and refused to trust the information they provided him — often offering up unsubstantiated claims and figures from cable television instead. He has spoken about the crisis in crude political and personal terms. He has stood in the way of public understanding of the plausible course of the epidemic, trafficking instead in dismissive clichés. He has denied his administration’s missteps, making it more difficult to address them.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has now surpassed 1,000.
Trump is still scheduled to be in Colorado on Friday for a fundraiser to benefit Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).
► Columbus Day in Colorado will be replaced with Frances Xavier Cabrini Day, barring an unexpected veto from Gov. Jared Polis. As The Denver Post reports:
The state legislature gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that would replace Columbus Day with a new state holiday, on the first Monday of October, in honor of Frances Xavier Cabrini.
It is believed that the proposed Cabrini Day would be the first paid state holiday recognizing a woman anywhere in this country…
…Lead bill sponsor Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City, has been trying for years to abolish Columbus Day, which she calls “a festering sore.” Previous failed bills proposed to replace with the day with Colorado Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day or an Election Day holiday, but those and other concepts were met with bipartisan resistance and with outrage from some in Italian Americans who take pride in Columbus Day.
Honoring Cabrini — an Italian American and the patron saint of immigrants — was a compromise palatable to Benavidez, her fellow Democrats and to many of those who’ve opposed previous bills.
Get even more smarter after the jump…