☕ Happy Wednesday! Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,192 words ... 4½ minutes.
⚡ Situational awareness: The World Health Organization officially named the outbreak that has killed 1,115: COVID-19 — "corona" + "virus" + "disease," and emerged in 2019. (BBC)
Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary but had two moderates — Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, who vaulted to #3 — close on his heels.
Why it matters: Klobuchar's surprising showing, along with the close margin between Sanders and Buttigieg, shows there's a sizable moderate bloc for Sanders to overcome, Axios' Margaret Talev and Alexi McCammond write from Manchester.
The big picture: The fact that Sanders and Buttigieg finished in the top two in both New Hampshire and Iowa — coupled with Mike Bloomberg's rise in national polls — suggests that people are still hungry for an outsider, like they were in 2016.
Between the lines: The three moderate candidates combined — Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Biden — got more than half the New Hampshire vote, while the two progressives — Sanders and Warren — got far less, Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman pointed out.
A sign of the tension between the two wings: Sanders' supporters at his Manchester headquarters booed Buttigieg during his victory speech — chanting "Bernie beats Trump!" and "Wall Street Pete."
Some top Democrats tell me that if the split 2020 field persists through Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders could build an insurmountable delegate lead while the moderates eat each other up.
A Democratic campaign shared these scenarios to argue Sanders could walk away from Super Tuesday in control:
A veteran Democratic operative told me: "Obama showed in '08 and Clinton showed in '16 [that] once you get a lead in the Democratic primary, it is very hard to lose it. Because we don’t have winner-take-all states, the front-runner is always accumulating delegates."
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
In May 2019, the FBI quietly formed a new task force aimed at countering China's political influence in the United States.
There's a growing body of evidence that China devotes massive resources to influencing the political environments of foreign countries, including the U.S.
China's influence playbook centers around economic leverage stemming from its growing wealth.
The bottom line: China is increasing its efforts to hold sway over cash-strapped local and state governments.
The four lawyers who prosecuted Roger Stone quit the case — and one quit his job — after the Justice Department overruled them and said it would lower the amount of prison time it would seek for President Trump’s longtime ally.
🐦 The Justice Department tells Axios the decision to overturn the recommendation was made "hours before" Trump's critical tweet.
Shot: At a signing ceremony in the Oval Office yesterday, President Trump held up a paper with the names of tech giants arranged to spell out MAGA — as in "Make America Great Again."
Chaser: The Federal Trade Commission announced it is investigating acquisitions made by Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet/Google from 2010 on. (Go deeper.)
Incidents of white supremacist propaganda distributed across the U.S. jumped more than 120% from 2018 to 2019, the Anti-Defamation League found:
Why it matters: That's "a higher percentage than in prior election years when an incumbent president was running," per Gallup — bullish for President Trump.
The week of President Trump's impeachment acquittal was Fox News' best in the ratings since the weeks he was elected and inaugurated, AP reports.
Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass has a new book coming May 12, "The World: A Brief Introduction." From the preface:
Global literacy is essential, because we live in a time in which what goes on outside a country matters a great deal. Borders are not impermeable. The United States is bordered by two oceans, but oceans are not moats. For better and for worse, the so‑called Vegas rule — what happens there stays there — does not apply in today’s global world.
Photo: Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post via Getty Images
The Tingly Sweet Potato and Kelp Bowl, available at Sweetgreen beginning March 26, will be seaweed's biggest national splash since the 2000s. (WashPost)
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