🗳️ Happy Tuesday! It's "first in the nation" primary day in New Hampshire. It's 266 days until Election Day.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Spencer Platt, Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The political market is rendering two unambiguous trend lines: Mike Bloomberg's TV monopoly is fueling his surge into the top tier of Democratic presidential rivals, and cash-strapped Joe Biden is crashing.
Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are the favorites going into today's New Hampshire primary. Beneath the surface, here are the Bloomberg and Biden trends to watch:
A Quinnipiac University poll out yesterday found "Biden no longer dominates on the key question of electability," with 27% of national Democratic or Dem-leaning voters giving Biden the best chance of beating President Trump — a steep drop from 44% just two weeks ago.
Oddsmakers see Bloomberg in second, behind Sanders.
Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told reporters that if this were the World Series, "I would say this is Game 2 and we're going all the way to Game 7."
🥊 DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. (AP) — Mike Bloomberg carried a tiny New Hampshire community that votes at the stroke of midnight: Bloomberg received three write-in votes. The others went to Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.
Campaigns are already deploying staff, surrogates and even the candidates themselves to South Carolina to get a jump start on what many view as the most important of the early-voting states, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.
The state of play: Biden once had a 31-point lead in South Carolina. A (Charleston) Post and Courier/Change Research poll out Feb. 2 shows him still in first, but with a five-point lead on Bernie Sanders (25%/20%).
Mike Bloomberg is funneling more than a third of his massive advertising war chest into the 14 states voting on Super Tuesday (March 3), according to data from Advertising Analytics, Axios' Stef Kight and Sara Fischer report.
Below, President Trump taunted Dems with a "Keep America Great" rally at Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester last evening:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
"A federal judge is expected to approve T-Mobile US Inc.’s merger with Sprint Corp.," overcoming a state antitrust challenge to a tie-up of the two wireless carriers, which rank #3 and #4 by subscribers, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).
In a new issue of Foreign Affairs devoted to debate over calls for retrenchment from the global role the U.S. once embraced, the great Graham Allison of Harvard's Kennedy School writes in "The New Spheres of Influence: Sharing the Globe With Other Great Powers":
[T]he time has come for an alliance-focused version of the stress tests for banks used after the 2008 financial crisis.
The basic view of the United States’ role in the world held by most of today’s foreign-policy makers was imprinted in the quarter century that followed the U.S. victory in the Cold War. That world is now gone. The consequences are as profound as those that Americans confronted in the late 1940s.
In their 2020 annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates take stock of the 20 years since they founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has since spent $53.8 billion on global health and development:
Twenty years later, we’re just as optimistic — and we’re still swinging for the fences. But we now have a much deeper understanding of how important it is to ensure that innovation is distributed equitably. If only some people in some places are benefitting from new advances, then others are falling even further behind. ...
We believe that progress should benefit everyone, everywhere.
Read the letter, with the Gates' handwritten annotations.
"Until Nov. 1, 1864, the day Maryland lawmakers officially approved emancipation, fugitive slaves Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass could not legally enter their home state of Maryland, let alone the State House in Annapolis," the Baltimore Sun's Emily Opilo writes.
Major League Baseball is considering expanding the postseason to nearly half the 30 teams and allowing higher-seeded wild-card teams to choose opponents, AP's Ronald Blum reports.
The context: A 14-team postseason would include 47% of franchises.
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