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Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg's campaign is sounding the alarm that Bernie Sanders will soon amass an unsurmountable delegate lead if the Democratic field stays split — and took the extraordinary step of suggesting laggards should drop out.

What they're saying: Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg's top strategist, said: "The fact is if the state of this race remains status quo — with Biden, Pete and Amy in the race on Super Tuesday — Bernie is likely to open up a delegate lead that seems nearly impossible to overcome."

  • "I don’t think many people understand the dire circumstances here."

Why it matters: Based on every national poll, plus steady access to money, Sanders is the indisputable — if underappreciated — frontrunner.

The Bloomberg campaign got high-profile validation of its theory:

  • David Plouffe, Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, tweeted in response to Nate Silver's delegate projections through Super Tuesday — which show Sanders with 41%, followed by Bloomberg and Joe Biden with 18% each.
  • "If this happens, Sanders would have a pledged delegate lead he’ll never relinquish."

In a "State of the Race" memo to Bloomberg gurus Sheekey and Howard Wolfson, senior adviser Mitch Stewart and states director Dan Kanninen argue:

  • "If Biden, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar remain in the race despite having no path to appreciably collecting delegates on Super Tuesday (and beyond), they will propel Sanders to a seemingly insurmountable delegate lead by siphoning votes away from [Bloomberg]."

Read the memo.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Twin Cities on edge after Daunte Wright shooting

Police officers form a line as they face off with demonstrators protesting the death of Daunte Wright outside the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

There were tense scenes in the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center Monday night, after demonstrators defied a 7 p.m. curfew to protest for a second night the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright.

The big picture: The curfew was announced following a night of protests and unrest over the killing of Wright, 20, during a traffic stop Sunday. Following peaceful protests and a daytime vigil, police again deployed tear gas during clashes with protesters Monday night, according to reporters on the scene.

Japan to release Fukushima water into sea

People near storage tanks for radioactive water at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, in 2020. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japan's government on Tuesday announced plans to release more than 1 million metric tons of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean following a treatment process.

Why it matters: While the Biden administration has said Japan appears to have met globally accepted nuclear safety standards, officials in South Korea, China and Taiwan, local residents, those in the fishing industry and green groups oppose the plans, due to begin in about two years, per the Guardian.

In photos: Life along the U.S.-Mexico border

Children at the border of the Puerto de Anapra colonia of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, hang on a border fence and look to Sunland Park, N.M. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

Axios traveled to McAllen and El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to see how the communities are responding to an increase of migrants from Central America.

Of note: The region in South and West Texas are among the poorest in the nation and rarely are the regions covered in depth beyond the soundbites and press conference. Axios reporters Stef Kight and Russell Contreras walked the streets of McAllen, El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez to record images that struck them.