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 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.

  • Democrats mostly left Sanders alone in last week's debate so that they could skewer Bloomberg over allegations of racial and sexual discrimination.
  • But now his rivals are getting nervous, and they know time is running out.
  • Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson were all on the debate stage in South Carolina during the 2016 Republican primary, and they all dropped out within four weeks.

The state of play: Bloomberg's team released a digital ad yesterday criticizing Sanders' record on gun control and suggesting he is "beholden to the gun lobby."

  • "The debate ... needs to be about one candidate and that’s Bernie Sanders," said Dan Kanninen, the Bloomberg campaign’s states director, in a call with reporters yesterday.
  • A senior campaign aide told Axios that Bloomberg will draw contrasts with Sanders on guns and health care, but he'll also go after Sanders on electability.
  • The former NYC mayor will argue that Sanders is "a down-ballot drag for competitive House races," the aide said, pointing to a polling memo the campaign released today.
  • The Bloomberg campaign is expecting Elizabeth Warren to go after him tonight — just like last time — but they don't seem bothered. "The person to beat right now is Bernie Sanders," said the senior aide. "Others will definitely attack him, but what will he gain from going after all of them?"

Sanders and his campaign have labeled Bloomberg an "oligarch," and after Bloomberg's performance in last week's debate, Sanders said that if Bloomberg wins the nomination, "Trump will chew him up and spit him out."

  • An NBC News/Marist poll released yesterday shows Sanders and Joe Biden nearly tied in South Carolina, with Tom Steyer in third.
  • Last night after a CNN town hall, Sanders released a fact sheet detailing how he would pay for his major plans — addressing what has been one of the main criticisms against him so far.

Biden's team released a digital ad this week citing a report in the Atlantic that Sanders considered a primary challenge to Barack Obama in 2012. Watch for the former vice president to take on Sanders over health care, as he usually does, and electability with a specific focus on his liability for down-ballot Democrats.

  • Even Sen. Amy Klobuchar is signaling she's focused on Sanders. A campaign memo yesterday cited "the consequences of having Bernie Sanders lead the top of the ticket, including his divisive politics and health care plan that would kick 149 million Americans off their insurance."
  • Pete Buttigieg warned people against nominating Sanders in his speech after the Nevada caucuses, saying he's created an "inflexible ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats." Watch for him to continue this theme at tonight's debate.

The intrigue: Warren released an ad going negative on Bloomberg today, so she'll likely keep her focus there. But if Warren goes for Sanders, watch for a theme of effectiveness and how much she says she's done for the progressive movement compared to him.

Go deeper

Mind the emissions gap

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The sprint to secure more stringent emissions reduction commitments ahead of the COP26 summit has petered out well short of the finish line, a new United Nations report out this morning concludes.

Driving the news: The "Emissions Gap" report offers a clear comparison between where emissions need to be to reach the Paris Agreement's goals, and where they actually are. It takes new and preexisting emissions pledges, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), into consideration.

Exclusive: Billionaires back new media firm to combat disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new public benefit corporation backed by billionaires Reid Hoffman, George Soros, and others is launching Tuesday to fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation.

Why it matters: Good Information Inc. aims to fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies.

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

Scoop: Sequoia Capital just blew up the VC fund model

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sequoia Capital, one of the world's oldest and most successful venture capital firms, is forming a single fund to hold all of its U.S. and European investments, including stakes in publicly-traded companies, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Venture capital is the money of innovation, but the industry itself rarely innovates. This is a radical exception.