Your Voice Your Vote 2020

The Note: Sanders' 'revolution' confronts Michigan realities

Michigan is the contest Sen. Bernie Sanders needs.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It's the contest Sen. Bernie Sanders needs. It's just not happening under the circumstances he might have imagined.

Michigan was perhaps the signature victory of Sanders' last campaign -- a major upset over Hillary Clinton that showed his strength among white, working-class voters and an energized youth vote. Clinton's loss in the state in November only enhanced Michigan's 2016 legend.

On Tuesday, Michigan is the prize of a primary day that includes scattered contests in the South and West. Two Midwestern states -- Michigan and Missouri -- are likely to define the night, while shaping the contours of the nomination fight from here.

Voting is expected to take place there and elsewhere largely as usual, notwithstanding concerns about large public gatherings and possible novel coronavirus infections.

Sanders needs something extraordinary to happen. He needs his political "revolution" to start -- or, actually, to re-start -- in a state that's precisely the kind of place where former Vice President Joe Biden is promising to win back for Democrats.

It's a perfect match-up for imperfect times, for two candidates who are now head-to-head against each other for the balance of the primary season.

Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota and Washington primaries

  • What's at stake? 352 delegates
  • Watch ABC News Live for coverage and analysis.
  • The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

    As the Sanders team races against the clock, two realities are setting in.

    First, we are in a phase of the campaign where races come so fast and that truth plays to Biden's strengths as a candidate. Beyond his momentum, this is the time where campaigns do not have time for a lot of one-on-one campaigning and on-the-ground organizing, which have been Sanders' strengths.

    The pace of the race at this moment instead helps a candidate who is leaning on legacy and a familiar brand.

    And second, Biden was always Sanders' natural competitor, largely because they both speak easily to blue-collar workers and a more working-class voter in general.

    Self-identified independents too will be key to both candidates moving forward. Independents backed Sanders by 24 to 38 percentage points on Super Tuesday, showing that while they are still a core part of his coalition, he is not necessarily winning them by the same margin he won independents in Michigan in 2016. In 2016, according to exit polls, Sanders beat Clinton by 43 points among independents.

    The TIP with Will Steakin

    For the first time this campaign season, President Donald Trump won’t be "trolling" Democrats with a counter rally ahead of crucial primary contests.

    The move is a shift away from the president’s perpetual counter programming strategy, which has resulted in rallies ahead of every primary day so far, and comes as his administration works to handle the surging coronavirus threat.

    Amid the global outbreak, the Trump campaign has already canceled a bus tour with top surrogates and a Beverly Hills fundraiser featuring first lady Melania Trump -- both said to have been shelved for "scheduling conflicts."

    But while Trump is ceding this Tuesday to Democrats, the president and his campaign maintain they‘re proceeding as normal -- despite multiple states declaring a state of emergency, other large events being canceled and a number of members of Congress in self-quarantine -- and will announce another rally later Tuesday.

    THE PLAYLIST

    ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Business and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, who tells us what to know about another rough day on the stock market sparked in part by coronavirus fears. Then, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver tells us what their model thinks of Sen. Bernie Sanders' chances ahead of voting in Michigan Tuesday. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

    FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. The new coronavirus has continued to spread in the United States, and markets reacted negatively on Monday. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast, the crew debates the meaning of a poll showing that Americans of different partisan persuasions are reacting to the virus differently. They also discuss the state of the Democratic primary race and preview the upcoming elections. https://53eig.ht/2TrN6xE

    WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., appears on ABC's "The View."
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden holds campaign events in Columbus, Ohio, and in Cleveland at 9:15 p.m. (CDT).
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds campaign rallies in Rockford, Illinois, at 12:30 p.m. (CDT) and in Cleveland at 8 p.m.
  • Presidential primaries are held in Idaho with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (MDT); Michigan from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EDT/CDT); Mississippi from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CDT); Missouri from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CDT); North Dakota from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (MDT); and Washington, where ballots must be cast by 8 p.m. (PDT).
  • President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to Jack Keane, a retired four-star general and former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, at the White House at 4:30 p.m.
  • Members of the Coronavirus Task Force hold a press briefing at the White House at 5:30 p.m.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis every weekday.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.