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Democrats are potentially headed into a potentially contested convention this summer. Below is a brief "Axios on HBO" video explainer with Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution on how it would go down.

State of play: Sen. Bernie Sanders is currently leading the delegate count, with former Vice President Joe Biden trailing closely after winning South Carolina's primary on Saturday.

Where it stands... As Kamarck puts it: "A contested convention is a convention where going into the convention nobody really knows who's gonna win a first-ballot nomination."

  • A nominee is typically declared by whomever has earned a majority of delegates in the primaries — a benchmark that potentially no Democrat will reach this round.
  • Candidates still standing at a theoretically contested convention must then try and earn 51% of the vote from delegates in the convention hall.
  • Contenders may go about that by lobbying supporters of weaker candidates, and targeting undecided delegates.

Between the lines: Kamarck notes, "In the old days, the big bargaining chip was the vice presidency. And frankly, that would probably still be the bargaining chip in today's world because you would have these arranged marriages."

  • Kamarck suggested: "Biden-Warren might be an arranged marriage. Certainly Biden-Sanders would be an arranged marriage. Or Sanders-Biden would be very much an arranged marriage."

She also suggested that billionaire Michael Bloomberg could be an outlier in the dynamic.

  • "[Bloomberg] could do well enough to come into the convention with several hundred delegates. At this point, I'd say he's probably more likely to be a kingmaker than the king, although anything's possible when you're spending that kind of money," Kamarck notes.

Go deeper

Statue of KKK leader removed from side of Tennessee highway

Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participate in Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, was removed Tuesday from the side of a highway in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why it matters: The move to take down the 25-foot statue comes amid renewed scrutiny of Confederate memorials. Dozens of Confederate symbols have been removed, relocated or renamed since George Floyd's death last year.

Women politicians are under siege

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kevin Dietsch, Stefani Reynolds, and Alex Wong/Getty Images

Women in Congress feel besieged and singled-out amid surging threats against lawmakers at all levels, with some frustrated more hasn't been done to halt the trend.

Why it matters: As record numbers of American women are being elected to public office, their growing political power is being met with death and rape threats, sexist and racist abuse and online disinformation. Collectively, it's discouraged women from running for office.

New report hits DOJ over lack of police shooting data

Demonstrations followed the shooting of Dijon Kizzee by Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies in 2020. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

A new government accountability report says the Department of Justice failed to consistently publish an annual summary of police excessive force data from 2016 to 2020, as required by federal law.

Why it matters: The data is crucial for the DOJ to monitor excessive force cases, and used to investigate law enforcement agencies with patterns of abuse. The DOJ can pivot off it to pursue court action to force reforms.