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Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.

  • Sanders' triumph in Nevada, after rising to the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, creates the very real potential that Sanders will be the Democratic nominee.

What's next: His performance in South Carolina will test whether his appeal with young voters also translates to black voters — and deprives Joe Biden of votes critical to his campaign’s survival.

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The details: The mailers, which will go to 215,000 people and cost roughly $100,000, charge that several of Sanders' most ambitious policy proposals — such as free college tuition — are unrealistic and wildly expensive.

  • They also assert that "Trump will crush Bernie on taxes and spending" and conclude: "Nominating Bernie means we re-elect Trump."
  • The Sanders campaign did not respond to requests for a comment.

The big picture: This mailer is one piece of the efforts by Big Tent — a 501(c)(4) — (C4s are able to mask their donors).

  • It has another $700K at its disposal to target various South Carolina voters before the Feb. 29 primary, the last before the multi-state Super Tuesday contests on March 3.
  • Big Tent dropped $200k on two ads in Nevada, Politico first reported, as part of a test run in their campaign to cripple Sanders' ahead of the Feb. 22 caucuses.
  • The group’s executive director is Jonathan Kott, a former top aide to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).

Go deeper

7 mins ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.

Biden officials celebrate infrastructure deal in fuel-cell big rig

White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm celebrated progress on President Biden's infrastructure package by taking a spin in a Kenworth fuel-cell, zero-emissions Class A truck.

What they're saying: "We have a deal, a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework deal," Granholm said. McCarthy responded: "it's big and it's beautiful."