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Why it matters: While Democrats fight to convince voters that they should be the ones tasked with taking down President Trump, the current administration is powering ahead on efforts to restrict immigration, unleash business and reshape the U.S. role in the world.

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In photos: The South Carolina Democratic debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden thinks and Sen. Amy Klobuchar listens while Tom Steyer makes a point at the tenth Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images.

Candidates spoke past their allotted time, punched the air, talked over each other and at times looked into the camera and directly addressed the American public and Russian President Vladimir Putin at Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina, the last before Saturday's primary and Super Tuesday a few days following.

Why it matters: South Carolina's contest on Saturday is a measure of African-American support for the 2020 contenders. It's the make-or-break state for former Vice President Joe Biden after he underperformed in the first three contests. It's also a chance to check Sen. Bernie Sanders' momentum, which has eaten into Biden's lead in the state and propelled Sanders to the front of the pack.

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

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4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Sanders mocks Trump's coronavirus response: This "great scientist" says it will end in April

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders mocked President Trump's response to the novel coronavirus Tuesday at the Democratic debate.

What they're saying:

" In the White House today, we have a self-described great genius — self-described — and this great genius has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months. April is the magical date that this great scientist we have in the White House has determined — I wish I was kidding, that is what he said."
— Sanders

Bloomberg denies telling a pregnant employee to "kill it"

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage Tuesday denied telling a former employee to terminate her pregnancy.

Catch up quick: Per the Washington Post, a former saleswoman has alleged workplace discrimination against Bloomberg and his company and says Bloomberg told her to "kill it" when he learned she was pregnant. Bloomberg denied the allegation under oath and entered a confidential settlement with the woman.

Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for reelection. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected.

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What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina — especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

2 Florida Democrats sue to disqualify Sanders from state primary

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Two Florida Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block Sen. Bernie Sanders — a self-declared independent — from appearing on the state's primary ballot next month on the grounds of Florida having a closed primary system, Politico reports.

The big picture: Florida's closed primary system does not allow individuals to cast votes across party lines or for independents or third-party voters to participate. Sanders is an independent who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, but is currently the front-runner in the Democratic primary for president.

Family of Mexican teen killed by border agent cannot sue, SCOTUS rules

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4, along ideological lines, that the family of a Mexican teenager who was killed across the southern border by a U.S. border agent cannot sue for damages.

Why it matters: The court’s decision avoids inviting more lawsuits from foreign nationals against U.S. law enforcement. The court noted in its opinion that “a cross-border shooting claim has foreign relations and national security implications.”

Exclusive: Global trust in the tech industry is slipping

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

"It was 30 years ago, get over it": Mike Bloomberg's partner brushes off NDA concerns

Diana Taylor at a Mike Bloomberg event last month. Photo: Ron Adar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Diana Taylor, Mike Bloomberg's longtime partner, dismissed the concerns surrounding non-disclosure agreements used at his company, Bloomberg LP, telling CBS News that she would say to those bothered by the allegations, "It was 30 years ago, get over it."

Why it matters: Democratic candidates have used the NDAs as a talking point against Bloomberg, calling on him to allow women to speak about the reported sexual harassment and gender discrimination they faced while working for him.

Trump's opportunity to use Bernie as an economic scapegoat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Zach Gibson/Stringer, The Washington Post/Getty Contributor

Bernie Sanders is poised to become an economic scapegoat for both the White House and Corporate America, assuming that Sanders comes through Super Tuesday unscathed.

The big picture: If the U.S. economy remains strong, President Trump and CEOs will claim credit (as they've been doing for three years). If it turns sour, they'll blame Bernie (even though it's a largely baseless charge).

Only 33% of Republicans trust the media

Reproduced from Edelman Trust Barometer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The gap between Democrats and Republicans in their trust of media and business as institutions remains wide ahead of the election, according to Edelman's latest Global Trust Barometer study.

The state of play: The gap is wide for media trust — as 66% of Democrats trust it, while only 33% of Republicans feel the same. Independents sit at 43%.

Bernie Sanders' rise forces media to reckon with how to cover him

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Staff

Bernie Sanders' rise is forcing news outlets to come to terms with ways they should covering his candidacy as a frontrunner, instead of a fringe candidate.

Why it matters: The media finds itself in the same position as it was in the 2016 election, when Donald Trump began to pull ahead in the Republican primary.

One-third of U.S. voters believe climate change is a crisis

Climate change activists in Los Angeles on Feb. 7. Photo: Ronen Tivony/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Over one-third of registered voters consider climate change a crisis and 59% say the Trump administration is doing too little to address it, a Brunswick Group survey released Tuesday shows.

Why it matters: The datareleased Tuesday arrives as climate is playing a more prominent role in the 2020 election cycle — and the policy stakes are high.

Trump acknowledges lists of disloyal government officials to oust

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Monday acknowledged the existence of assembled lists of government officials that his administration plans to oust and replace with trusted pro-Trump people, which were first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan.

What he's saying: “I don’t think it's a big problem. I don’t think it's very many people,” Trump said during a press conference in India, adding he wants “people who are good for the country, loyal to the country.”

Bernie's historic Jewish fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sen. Bernie Sanders would be the first Jewish presidential nominee of a major American political party — but that history-making possibility is being overshadowed by his conflicts with America's Jewish leaders and Israel's leadership.

The big picture: That's partly because we're all focusing on the implications of Democrats nominating a self-described democratic socialist. It's also because a candidate's religion no longer seems to matter as much to voters or the media, making the potential milestone of a Jewish nominee more of a non-event.

Trump says RBG and Sotomayor should recuse themselves from his cases

President Trump at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted during his India visit late Monday that Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg should "recuse themselves" from cases involving him or his administration.

Why it matters: The president's criticism of the liberal justices comes after he attacked the judge overseeing the case of his longtime adviser Roger Stone, who was sentenced last Thursday to 4o months in prison for crimes including lying to Congress and witness tampering.

South Carolina paper The State endorses Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Pete Buttigieg speaks at an event in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Carolina newspaper The State endorsed former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday night for the state's Democratic primary.

Why it matters: It's a welcome boost for Buttigieg ahead of Tuesday's Democratic debate in South Carolina and the state's primary on Saturday.

#MeToo leaders react to Harvey Weinstein's rape conviction

Actor Rose McGowan and #MeToo movement founder of Tarana Burke at a campaign event in Detroit. Photo: Rena Laverty/AFP via Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein's rape trial convictions on Monday mark an "incredibly important step" for the #MeToo movement and the greater fight to end gender-based violence, the campaign's leaders said in a statement.

Why it matters: Allegations that first publicly surfaced against Weinstein in 2017 helped propel Tarana Burke's MeToo movement into a global campaign. Burke and other #MeToo leaders say his being found guilty in New York of committing a sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape "sends a resounding message to survivors, to perpetrators and to allies."

MSNBC's Chris Matthews apologizes on air to Sanders for Nazi comments

MSNBC's Chris Matthews in Las Vegas on Saturday. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

MSNBC's Chris Matthews apologized at the start of his "Hardball" show Monday for comparing during a broadcast Sen. Bernie Sanders' Nevada caucuses win to the Nazi invasion of France.

What he's saying: "I was wrong to refer to an event from the last days — or actually the first days of WWII," Matthews said. "Senator Sanders, I am sorry for comparing anything from that tragic era in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electoral result in which you were the well-deserved winner." He went on to congratulate Sanders for the win.

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