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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that he believes "the establishment" forced Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg out of the 2020 presidential race to ensure that voters "coalesced" around Joe Biden in order to defeat him.

Why it matters: Klobuchar and Buttigieg both dropped out and endorsed Biden last week, helping the former vice president earn a sweeping victory in 10 out of 14 Super Tuesday states — especially among late-deciding voters. Sanders said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he would have won more states if the two moderates hadn't dropped out.

The big picture: Sanders has branded himself throughout the 2020 campaign as an outsider who is taking on not only Republicans and President Trump, but the Democratic establishment as well.

  • While it's undoubtedly true that many mainstream Democrats fear that Sanders may lose to Trump and damage down-ballot candidates, the Vermont senator has faced some criticism for attributing his loss in South Carolina and Super Tuesday states to the power of the establishment.
  • House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement of Biden helped the former vice president surge in South Carolina, said last week that he finds it "very interesting that someone is referring to African American voters in South Carolina as the establishment."

Watch:

What they're saying:

"One of the things I was kind of not surprised by was the power of the establishment to force Amy Klobuchar, who had worked so hard, and Pete Buttigieg, who really worked extremely hard as well, out of the race. What was very clear from the media narrative and what the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesced around Biden and try to defeat me.
We are taking on, as I think everybody knows, the establishment. We are taking on the corporate establishment. We're taking on the political establishment. And what you are seeing now, just in the last few weeks, is Wall Street, the health care industry, the billionaire class putting a lot of money into Joe's campaign. But at the end of the day, you know what? I think we're going to win this thing."
— Bernie Sanders

Lis Smith, senior communications adviser for the Buttigieg campaign, responded to Sanders' comments in a tweet Sunday, saying Buttigieg's "decision to get out of the race was his and his alone."

The bottom line: Despite his attacks on the Democratic establishment, Sanders has said he will do everything he can to help Biden defeat Trump if Biden ultimately wins the nomination.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
24 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.