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Bernie Sanders said at a press conference Wednesday that he will not suspend his presidential campaign after a second consecutive week of bruising primary losses to Joe Biden, telling reporters that he looks forward to Sunday's one-on-one debate.

Why it matters: Sanders' path to the nomination narrowed significantly after Biden built up his delegate lead in most of the states that voted Tuesday — including the key prize of Michigan, where Sanders' surprise win over Hillary Clinton in 2016 gave him a needed boost of momentum.

What he's saying: "What became even more apparent yesterday is that while we are currently losing the delegate count — approximately 800 delegates for Joe Biden and 660 for us — we are strongly winning in two enormously important areas which will determine the future of our country," Sanders said.

  • "Poll after poll, including exit polls, show that a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda."
  • "We are winning the generational debate. While Joe Biden continues to do very well with older Americans, especially those people over 65, our campaign continues to win the vast majority of the votes of younger people."

Between the lines: Sanders could have gone scorched earth on Biden — and he still could at Sunday's debate — but instead he took a more measured tone as part of a clear strategy to pressure Biden to adopt more progressive policies and language.

  • Sanders said Sunday's debate will show voters which candidate is best positioned to beat Trump — but we’ve seen throughout this cycle how debates don’t really change the standings of the race, and it's especially unlikely to happen this late in the primary.
  • It's more likely that Sanders will use the debate as a last push to define the policy parameters of the race.

The big picture: Sanders is facing calls to drop out from some prominent members of the Democratic Party who believe it's time to pivot to defeating President Trump in the general election.

  • House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Tuesday that the Democratic National Committee should "step in" and cancel the debate now that Biden is the "prohibitive favorite" to win the nomination.
  • James Carville said on MSNBC: "Let's shut this puppy down. ... This thing is decided."
  • David Axelrod on CNN: "You’re gonna see enormous pressure from all elements of the party to yield to the results that we now can see."

Go deeper

55 mins ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.