It’s Primary Day (again)! As voters in South Carolina cast their ballots, let’s catch you up on what happened this week and get you ready for Super Tuesday.
South Carolina and Super Tuesday
We here on The Times’s politics team ran daily reports on the newest developments in the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We’ll start a new report on Saturday for the South Carolina primary and will continue daily through Tuesday.
For now, here’s what you should know about South Carolina:
As for Super Tuesday:
Fourteen states are voting, including California and Texas, which have two of the largest delegate troves in the country. About a third of all delegates will be allocated on Super Tuesday — though we may not know the full results for some time, especially in California.
If Senator Bernie Sanders does well, he could amass a nearly insurmountable lead, especially if only a couple of candidates reach the 15 percent threshold to qualify for delegates. The big question is whether a blowout for Mr. Biden in South Carolina would reorient the race before Tuesday.
A super PAC supporting Senator Elizabeth Warren is buying $9 million in ads across nine expensive media markets in California, Texas and Massachusetts.
A united front on coronavirus
They may not have been able to agree on anything else, but the 2020 Democrats presented a united front in their condemnation of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Ms. Warren argued for redirecting money from the construction of Mr. Trump’s border wall to containment efforts, Michael R. Bloomberg released an ad touting his leadership in times of crisis, and Mr. Biden and Senator Amy Klobuchar attacked Mr. Trump on CNN. At the debate on Tuesday, Mr. Sanders mocked Mr. Trump’s description of himself as a “genius,” saying, “This great genius has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months.”
What was all that screaming about?
There was a whole lot of yelling on the debate stage: yelling at Mr. Sanders, yelling at Mr. Bloomberg, yelling just to be heard over all the other people yelling.
Amid the free-for-all, Mr. Sanders fielded intense criticism, especially over his recent comments on Cuba. Ms. Warren made an explicit argument for herself over Mr. Sanders, something she had long avoided. Mr. Biden focused on the legacy of the Obama administration. And Mr. Bloomberg — well, he did better than the week before.
Sanders won big in Nevada
Believe it or not, the Nevada caucuses were only a week ago.
As in Iowa, the results were slow to come in and filled with apparent errors — prompting Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader and de facto dean of Nevada Democrats, to say all caucuses should go.
But unlike in Iowa, the victor was clear: Mr. Sanders won handily with the multiracial coalition he has long spoken of building, though he did not bring in the masses of new voters he argues would carry him to victory in November. Energized, he went on the offensive in South Carolina to try to deal Mr. Biden’s campaign a knockout blow. He also released information on how he would pay for his big-ticket proposals.
Democratic Party leaders remain anxious about Mr. Sanders. Our colleagues Lisa Lerer and Reid J. Epstein interviewed 93 superdelegates and found broad opposition to nominating him if he gets a plurality but not a majority of pledged delegates.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists Democrats will unite around their nominee, but our colleagues in Washington report that she “has begun distancing her caucus from the race for the White House in an effort to insulate her rank and file.” Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama says that he will enthusiastically support the nominee but that uniting the party around Mr. Sanders “could be difficult.”
Sanders on child care, and other policies
His plan — which builds on one Ms. Warren released a year ago — would guarantee free full-day care for all children through age 3, regardless of their family’s income. It would similarly guarantee free full-day prekindergarten starting at age 3. Mr. Sanders said that to receive funding, the states and municipalities administering the programs would have to abide by certain standards for caregiver pay and child-to-caregiver ratios.
He estimated that the plan would cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years and said that his proposed wealth tax would pay for it.
In other policy news:
Mr. Biden announced a housing plan that calls for a “bill of rights” for renters and homeowners, stronger protections against eviction, tax credits for renters and new home buyers, and an end to zoning rules that perpetuate segregation.
Mr. Bloomberg released a public health plan focused on crises like the coronavirus outbreak; a plan for Native Americans that would give tribes more legal jurisdiction and let the Interior Department put tribal lands in trusts; and an agriculture plan that touches on monopolies, trade policy and soil health.
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., released an agenda for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, touching on education, health care, immigration, housing and economic security.
Ms. Warren released a plan that would legalize marijuana, tax merchants and use the revenue to support small cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color. She also released a plan for border communities that would reduce Mr. Trump’s militarization of the border and ban federal development on Native American lands without tribal consent.