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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

Updated 31 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker