Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden at the Democratic debate at Gaillard Center, Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 25. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Viewers tuning in to tonight’s Democratic debate will meet a new Joe Biden — one who’s adopted two new progressive policies from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and who’s eager to pull their supporters away from the movement they’ve built into his own coalition.

Why it matters: This could very well be the last primary debate of the 2020 cycle, and Biden knows he has to start the work of winning over Sanders’ supporters before Sanders drops out.

Driving the news: The worsening coronavirus outbreak has profoundly affected this debate and disrupted the primaries. The debate itself was moved from Arizona, one of four states voting on Tuesday, to D.C. and will be held without an audience. Both candidates have had to cancel rallies and pivot to virtual events. And the ongoing public health crisis amplifies the importance of health care in this race and the two competing theories for the way forward:

  • Biden argues that overhauling the current health system as we know it would be too risky— especially during a time like this.
  • Sanders can use this moment to further amplify the problems in the health care system that he wants to remake.

The state of play: Biden has amassed a 150+ delegate lead over Sanders, and he’s poised to win all four states voting in Tuesday’s contest — Arizona, Ohio, Illinois and Florida.

  • He’s emerged as a shadow president, giving national remarks about and unveiling a plan to address the coronavirus pandemic; a de facto party chair working to unite the party's previously competing factions; and — according to voters so far — the best chance Democrats have to beat Trump in November.
  • “The contours of the race have been reshaped dramatically since debate 10 and debate 11,” said a senior Biden campaign official.
  • Another senior Biden official said that at tonight’s debate — and as president if elected — he “will continue to be open to the best ideas ... regardless of where they come from.”

Today, Biden’s campaign announced he adopted two new policies from his progressive colleagues into his own progressive platform:

  • Sen. Warren’s plan on bankruptcy.
  • Sen. Sanders’ education proposal, which would make all public colleges and universities tuition-free for students whose families make less than $125,000.

Yes, but: In his remarks after a disappointing loss in last week’s contests, Sanders listed a number of policies he’s going to question Biden about tonight on stage because there’s more than education to his vision for the future.

  • Expect Sanders to engage Biden on a conversation around health care, climate change and immigration — all as a way to get early and verbal commitments that Biden will at least recognize where Sanders wants him to evolve.
  • That’s also a way for Sanders to give his supporters permission to support someone like Biden, who they don’t view as a progressive champion.
  • Sanders himself said in remarks from Vermont last week that his campaign has “won the ideological debate,” but they’ve “lost the debate over electability.” It was a nontraditional concession speech that previewed the policy goals he’s going to fight for as the runner-up.

Be smart: Don’t expect Biden to come out in support of Medicare for All, which has been his biggest policy difference with Sanders. He hasn’t supported it thus far, and a plurality of voters who do support single-payer government-run health care have still picked Biden over Sanders in several states throughout the primary.

The bottom line: If this is the last primary debate, that means Biden will find himself in a general election with Donald Trump — who will pick apart a lot more than Biden’s policy record.

Go deeper

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC: Unvaccinated are over 11 times more likely to die from COVID

Expand chart
Reproduced from CDC; Note: Data represents 30% of Americans across 16 jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York City, Seattle/King County, Wash., Utah and Wisconsin; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The CDC recently published data evaluating Americans' rate of coronavirus cases and deaths by vaccine status, providing more data on which vaccines are working best and how much protection they offer relative to being unvaccinated.

What they found: As of August, unvaccinated people had a more than six times higher risk of testing positive for the coronavirus, and were more than 11 times more likely to die from the virus.