The TAKE with Rick Klein
It’s not out in the open like it once was, or like it might have been.
Yet the Democratic primary race isn’t over -- despite the national emergency, the postponed primaries, uneven presidential leadership, partisan battles on Capitol Hill and basic delegate math.
Monday brought news that Sen. Bernie Sanders easily won the "Democrats Abroad" primary, where record turnout stretched over several weeks. It also brought former Vice President Joe Biden’s first coronavirus livestream -- complete with some technical reminders that he’s less adept at this brand of communication than Sanders and his team.
Social distancing doesn’t apply to Twitter fights. Hashtag taunts of #WhereisJoeBiden and #WhereisBernieSanders have trended over the last few days.
The latter took off after Sanders skipped a Senate vote on the massive coronavirus bill on Sunday, while he instead hosted a campaign livestream in Vermont featuring prominent supporters who are House members. Sanders was the only non-quarantining senator to miss the vote; his campaign said "he was engaging on policy remotely" and that he knew the bill he opposed would fail.
"We are in a bizarre moment," Sanders said Monday night on MSNBC.
Biden has succeeded in getting to the precipice of the nomination. The nation’s largest labor unions are falling into line behind him, and the Democrats’ biggest super PACs are spending millions to boost Biden’s candidacy against President Donald Trump.
But this moment of leadership tests faces the awkward fact that there are multiple Democrats still in the race. Biden allies are playing nice with Sanders supporters -- though their patience could run thin.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Senators failed to reach a compromise Monday on another piece of emergency legislation aimed at helping fight the virus and providing economic relief.
Then, as has often been the case these last few years, Trump made statements late in the day too, which could easily further pump the brakes on any progress on the Hill.
The latest version of the proposed legislation includes a controversial provision allowing the Department of Treasury to administer hundreds of billions of dollars to large businesses, in addition to other sums aimed at small businesses and unemployment for workers.
Democrats have said they need much more transparency about where those funds earmarked for larger businesses would go and what conditions would be placed on the loans, but now they’ll likely ask for a solid rationale too as Trump on Monday made clear that he is not keen on regulations that keep the economy at a standstill much longer.
Despite what medical professionals and local governors have been saying, Trump expressed his skepticism on Monday that the social distancing measures and bans on large crowds aimed at slowing the spread of the virus -- and saving lives -- are worth the economic toll. That, of course, begs the question, if he can get people back to work, would businesses need such a big boost?
The reality is the president alone cannot direct everyone to congregate and return to school, not while at the same time saying that state governors and officials are making most of the day-to-day decisions. If state residents are still scared or listening to their local leaders telling them to stay indoors, the president might be out of luck should he in fact want to reverse course on these extreme guidelines sooner rather than later.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
Beyond the presidential candidates being sidelined from the campaign trail and the 2020 election calendar being scrambled, with up to 10 states postponing their nominating contests in some way, the organizing committee behind the Democratic National Convention is currently exploring contingencies as the novel coronavirus threatens the culminating event in the Democratic primary process set for mid-July.
"As we navigate the unprecedented challenge of responding to the coronavirus, we're exploring a range of contingency options to ensure we can deliver a successful convention without unnecessary risk to public health," said Katie Peters, communications director for the Democratic National Convention Committee. "This is a very fluid situation -- and the convention is still more than three months away."
A convention spokesperson added that this is not the first time the committee acknowledged the possibility of "contingency options," and also said that contingency planning is a "routine part" of preparations for the cyclical convention. While the planners weigh whether to move forward with the Milwaukee convention as an in-person event or pursue alternative plans for formally selecting the Democratic nominee amid unprecedented circumstances, more state election officials are calling off their primaries for now, as the outbreak remains a concern.
On Monday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced she would sign an executive order to move the state's presidential primary from April 28 to June 2, a move that ticked up the number of states voting on June 2 to 10, with 615 delegates now up for grabs on that day. The announcement also came after Hawaii and Alaska did away with in-person voting for their upcoming contests and the state parties in those two states gave voters more time to return ballots by mail.
ONE MORE THING
A group of former field organizers for Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign filed two class-action lawsuits on Monday alleging that the billionaire former presidential candidate reneged on his pledge to pay organizers across the country through November.
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who examines President Donald Trump’s messaging about potentially returning to work before medical experts recommend. ABC News Senior Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce brings us up to date on the coronavirus stimulus negotiations on Capitol Hill. Then, ABC News Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answers some of our lingering questions about COVID-19. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
Five Thirty Eight Politics Podcast. According to the latest polling, the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted the daily lives of the vast majority of Americans. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses how that broad effect has — and has not — changed partisan politics. They also ask how the pandemic has shaken up the 2020 general election. https://53eig.ht/2Jb12X2
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