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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Leading Democrats suddenly see their primary as a clear, two-person race — with Mike Bloomberg as the likely odd man out.

Why it matters: The Biden team feels like "a clear choice" is emerging between him and Bernie Sanders, a campaign aide told Axios' Alexi McCammond.

The state of play: South Carolina was a wake-up call for the establishment, Axios' Margaret Talev emails.

  • The Rep. Clyburn surge (tons of voters told exit pollsters his endorsement affected their vote) shows endorsements still matter. Terry McAuliffe follows.
  • President Obama let it be known he called Biden, even if he won't endorse yet.
  • Harry Reid jumps on the train.
  • Pete Buttigieg wants a future so he drops out and will endorse Biden early enough to not get blamed if Sanders runs away with it.
  • Amy Klobuchar may lose Minnesota anyway plus could be a good VP choice if Biden survives, so she endorses too.

Bloomberg, campaigning in Virginia, addressed the Buttigieg/Klobuchar endorsements:

  • “I thought both of them behaved themselves, is a nice way to phrase it, but they represented their country and their states very well. ... And I felt sorry for them, but I’m in it to win it.”

Flashback: The nascent Never Trump movement split votes well past Super Tuesday in 2016, with Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio hanging on in hopes of winning their states.

  • That denied Sen. Ted Cruz or another candidate a chance to unify the non-Trump vote.

The bottom line: The non-Bernie/Warren wing of the field is coalescing around Biden before Super Tuesday, rather than when it's too late.

Go deeper: Biden racks up endorsements one day before Super Tuesday

Go deeper

Updated 47 mins ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

Black Friday shopping up from 2020 but trails pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers carry their purchases during Black Friday shopping at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont of Greater Chicago Area, Illinois on Nov. 26, 2021. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

More shoppers flocked to stores on Black Friday this year compared to last, but online shopping was lower than expected, according to data from Friday.

Driving the news: Online shopping was on the lower end of what was expected, largely because people had been ringing up their shopping carts earlier in the year in an effort to skirt potential supply chain issues, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.