Mar 11, 2020

Axios AM

ūüá∑ūüáļ Situational awareness: Vladimir Putin could remain Russia's president until 2036 under a constitutional amendment he backed yesterday. Go deeper.

  • Today's Smart Brevity‚ĄĘ count: 1,187 words ... 4¬Ĺ minutes.
1 big thing: Biden runs table; top Dems push Sanders to concede
Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Joe Biden decisively won four more states ‚ÄĒ Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho ‚ÄĒ and party elders said Bernie Sanders should bow to the inevitable.

  • James Carville said on MSNBC: "Let's shut this puppy down. ... This thing is decided."
  • David Axelrod on CNN: "You‚Äôre gonna see enormous pressure from all elements of the party to yield to the results that we now can see."

Sanders didn't comment on the results, and Biden began to pivot to the general election, promising remarks on the coronavirus later this week, Axios' Alexi McCammond and Margaret Talev write.

  • Biden thanked Sanders ‚ÄĒ and Sanders' supporters ‚ÄĒ for their "tireless energy" and "passion."
  • Biden invited new backers, saying, "We need you, we want you and there's a place in our campaign for each of you."

What's next: Biden is poised to dominate the March 17 contests that include Florida, the nation's third most-populous state.

  • Coronavirus fears have begun to halt the sort of large rallies that were staples of Sanders' campaign.

Michigan, where Biden won 53% to 37%, was a huge loss for Sanders that his campaign worked hard to avoid.

  • He escalated attacks against Biden ‚ÄĒ both on his record and the idea that he is the "establishment" ‚ÄĒ and some of his supporters even pushed #WheresBiden on Twitter.

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2. Last night in two charts
Graphics: AP
3. Virus amps up pressure for paid sick leave

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Millions of workers' lack of paid sick leave is becoming a serious concern for local officials and employers as the coronavirus spreads ‚ÄĒ and now an increasingly urgent agenda item in Washington, too.

  • Why it matters, from Axios' Kim Hart, Marisa Fernandez and Alayna Treene: Front-line workers who serve food, drive buses, care for children or the elderly and run cash registers are much less likely to be able to take time off if they are sick, increasing the risk of infecting others.

President Trump said Monday that he would pursue some form of relief for hourly workers, but left a meeting with congressional Republicans yesterday without detailing a plan.

  • A handful of companies, including Darden Restaurants, Uber, Lyft and Instacart, have begun offering some paid sick leave as the outbreak has intensified.

Between the lines: Administration officials acknowledge the need to allow people who are sick or caring for someone who is sick to stay home from work without having to worry about losing income, a source tells Axios.

  • But there‚Äôs a concern about creating the wrong incentives to ditch work: "We don't want to just basically shut down by giving everybody a blank check to not come to work, knowing that they're gonna get paid for it," the source said.

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4. Pic du jour
Photo: J. David Ake/AP

The Old Farmer's Almanac called this a Super Worm Moon, "which refers to the fact that earthworms and grubs tend to emerge from their winter dormancy at this time of year, marking a sure sign of spring!"

5. Congress "last to leave" as others send folks home
President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin meet reporters after visiting GOP lawmakers at the Capitol. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have told lawmakers they have no immediate plans to close Congress, Axios' Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan report.

  • Speaker Pelosi told members of the Democratic caucus that "we are the captains of the ship‚Ä̬†and "we are the last to leave," while seeming to throw cold water on proposals to have members vote remotely or extend next week's congressional recess.

Why it matters: The Capitol is a potential petri dish for the coronavirus. Many lawmakers fit high-risk profiles because they're over 60, have underlying health conditions and are mixing in close quarters with visitors, staff and reporters.

  • Aides told us they‚Äôre perplexed by the slowness of the institution to react and adapt to the dangers of the virus.
  • "The Hill may be the worst place in D.C. right now," a senior House Republican aide told Axios. "At least in the airport, half the people aren't shaking hands and talking to each other."

Between the lines: Congressional leaders want to keep working to shape legislative packages to alleviate the impact of the virus.

6. ūü¶† Coronavirus quick catch-up
A worker sprays disinfectant at the Maschio Angioino medieval castle in Naples, Italy, yesterday. Photo: Alessandro Pone/LaPresse via AP

ūüáļūüáł Of 31 U.S. deaths, 24 have been in Washington state. (N.Y. Times)

ūüóĹ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "took the country's most drastic steps, ... ordering the closure of schools and other gathering places within a one-mile radius" of the New York suburb of New Rochelle, per the WashPost.

  • "The creation of what he called a 'containment zone' for two weeks will keep about half the city's 10,500 students at home and will allow the National Guard to sanitize public spaces."

‚úąÔłŹ American Airlines and Delta joined United "in slashing the number of flights across their networks, with some cuts extending through the summer, as cancellations overtake new bookings in some markets." (Wall Street Journal)

  • Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told employees he will take a 10% pay cut.

‚öĺ MLB tries to save Opening Day, March 26: If a team can't play ball in front of fans at home because of the virus, the league's first preference likely would be to switch games to the visiting team's stadium if possible. (AP)

ūüďļ "Dr. Phil," "One Day at a Time," "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" are among the shows taping without studio audiences ... "Ellen," "The Bachelor," "The Voice and other shows instituted tighter screening for tapings.¬†(USA Today)

7. What happens when Harvard closes
Harvard students pack early for the summer. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston Herald via Getty Images

As colleges cancel classes and boot students off campus, they're creating logistical and financial nightmares that could leave many students in a bind, Axios' Dan Primack writes.

  • Harvard yesterday asked students to leave on-campus housing this weekend, and to treat their departures as if it were the end of the school year.
  • Dining halls will close after Sunday.

What we know: Harvard has nearly 7,000 undergraduate students, 98% of whom live in on-campus housing. Classes will be taught remotely, but that only resolves one part of the uncertainty students ‚ÄĒ and especially poor students ‚ÄĒ are facing.

  • The school is directing students who can't afford to travel home to its financial aid office. Those who don't have a place to go are being directed to their residential deans.
  • Room and board charges for the rest of the semester will be refunded.

What we don't know:

  • What happens to students in work-study programs, or who work off-campus in order to pay for their tuition. The school asks students to "be patient."
  • Compensation for support staff, such as dining hall workers. Harvard is pledging "emergency-related paid excused absences" for those who can't work remotely.

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8. 2020 Attention Tracker: Biden buries Bernie
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Winning in real life, Joe Biden also dethroned Bernie Sanders' weekslong command of online attention, Axios' Neal Rothschild writes from NewsWhip data.

  • The 41 million interactions (likes, comments, shares) on Biden stories on social media last week is by far the highest level of attention any one candidate has received in the primary in a week.

Just last week, Sanders was still attracting more attention than the rest of what was then a five-person Democratic field combined.

  • Why it matters: It's a reversal from the early stages of the race, when media cycles and engagement levels drove polling changes.

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9. Two worlds

Both 9:36 p.m. ET:

Screenshots via Fox News and MSNBC
10. 1 count thing
Photo: Census Bureau via AP

The Census Bureau soft-launched its website, making the form available online.

  • Tomorrow, the forms will be mailed far and wide.
  • Go deeper.

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