Bernie Sanders remains the candidate to beat in tomorrow’s Nevada caucuses, the first test of how the Democratic presidential aspirants perform in a state with sizable minority populations.
Nevada’s demographics represent a critical comeback opportunity for one-time front-runner Joe Biden, who has shaped his candidacy around the idea he’d fare better with non-white voters but who performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The fact that half the state’s population is non-white — 30% Latino, 10% black and 10% Asian-Pacific Islander — poses a challenge for Pete Buttigieg, who eked out a victory over Sanders in Iowa but has struggled to gain traction with the minority voters whose support will be critical to beating Donald Trump in November.
The contest could represent a last stand for Elizabeth Warren, whose fourth-place finish in New Hampshire imperiled her candidacy.
But it’s been Michael Bloomberg, who isn’t competing in Nevada, who has garnered the most attention heading into the contest, first for his rise in opinion polls and then for a widely panned performance in Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas.
Bottom line: The Democratic field remains fluid. The Nevada results — in which 36 pledged delegates are up for grabs — will set the stage for the big prizes just around the corner: South Carolina and Super Tuesday.
(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
Just in: The U.S. and the Taliban plan to sign a peace agreement Feb. 29, the State Department says.
Dangerous skirmishes | Continued violence in northwestern Syria underscores the risks of a broader conflict. Turkey has asked the U.S. to deploy two Patriot missile-defense batteries on its border to free it to punish any future attacks by Russian-backed Syrian troops. At least 15 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the Idlib area in recent weeks as forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad seek to crush the last major pocket of opposition to the president.
Face time | YouTube’s homepage is set to advertise just one candidate — Donald Trump — in the immediate run-up to election day. The president’s campaign purchased the coveted advertising space atop the country’s most-visited video website for early November, Mark Bergen and Joshua Brustein report.
German chaos | Despite her characteristically steely demeanor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel realizes that she’s all but lost any control she has over the power struggle within her Christian Democratic Union party. As Arne Delfs explains, since the fall of her chosen successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, there’s growing concern about who will step in to fill the void.
Viral connection | Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a soft approach over China’s handling of the coronavirus, part of his long push to bolster relations with his giant neighbor. But as Isabel Reynolds and Dandan Li report, that’s getting tougher with each new case in Japan. At the same time South Korea has seen infections more than triple in the past few days, raising worries the virus will put its citizens and economy at risk.
Summer’s over | Police have identified more than two dozen calls for marches next month in Chile as students return to campuses following Summer vacation. All eyes are on whether the government’s promise to boost wages and reform pensions, health care and taxes will be enough to avert the sort of unrest that rocked the nation in October, killing about 30 people and injuring 3,800.
What to Watch
A court in Thailand has ordered the dissolution of the pro-democracy opposition party Future Forward that’s become the highest-profile critic of the nation’s military-backed government. European Union leaders have indicated that another emergency summit may be needed to agree on a budget because disputes over spending levels and rebates have increased the chances they won’t reach an accord today. Iranian hard-liners look set to take control of parliament today in an election dominated by the country’s turbulent standoff with the U.S. Trump is considering Republican ally Doug Collins as his nominee for director of national intelligence. That could simplify a Senate race in Georgia, where the congressman has challenged incumbent Kelly Loeffler.
Pop quiz, readers (no cheating!). Among those Trump pardoned this week was former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, whose public corruption conviction stemmed in part from his efforts to fill the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president. Who did Blagojevich appoint to that post? Send us your answers and tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org.And finally ... Apparently Trump’s America First mantra extends to his taste in movies. At a campaign rally last night in Colorado, the president mocked the Academy Awards for honoring the movie “Parasite” as best picture. “A movie from South Korea, what the hell was that all about?,” he said. “We got enough problems with South Korea with trade, on top of it they give them the best movie of the year? Was it good? I don’t know.”
--With assistance from Richard Bravo, Jon Herskovitz, Robert Hutton, Selcan Hacaoglu and Michael Winfrey.
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