Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.
We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail.
LEADING THE DAY:
Joe Biden is ready for the Democratic primary to end.
The former vice president has amassed a nearly insurmountable delegate lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and is trying to pivot to a general election campaign against President Trump. He’s launched a series of daily virtual briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, and on Wednesday, he signaled that he has no interest in participating in another primary debate against Sanders.
“My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now,” Biden told reporters during a virtual press conference. “I haven’t thought about any more debates. I think we’ve had enough debates. I think we should get on with this.”
Sanders, meanwhile, isn’t ready to throw in the towel. In an email on Tuesday, his campaign announced that it was ramping up its organizing efforts in New York ahead of the state’s April 28 primary. And The New York Times reported that Sanders still plans to participate in a Democratic presidential debate in April if one is held.
That puts Biden in something of a tricky position.
On one hand, he has emerged as the prohibitive frontrunner in the race and is eager to begin his campaign against Trump as soon as possible. What’s more, the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has provided Biden with new fodder to make the argument that he’s better positioned to lead than Trump.
On the other hand, however, Biden hasn’t yet won the 1,991 delegates he needs to clinch the Democratic nomination. And due to several states delaying their primaries amid the coronavirus outbreak, he won’t be able to officially secure the delegates he needs until June. Until then, he’ll have to contend with Sanders unless the Vermont senator ends his campaign on his own volition.
Biden is also reluctant to put pressure on Sanders to drop out of the race. Doing so could mean isolating many of the senator’s ultraloyal supporters, whose backing Biden will need if he hopes to beat Trump in November.
Jonathan Easley: Biden: ‘I think we’ve had enough debates.’
Julia Manchester: Biden campaign rolls out newsletter and announces podcast
FROM THE TRAIL:
Trump’s reelection campaign is venting frustration with Twitter after the social media giant refused to apply its “manipulated media” warning tags to two new videos released by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Jonathan Easley reports.
Lawyers for the largest outside group supporting Trump’s reelection sent letters to television station managers in key battlegrounds states on Wednesday demanding they stop running a new ad cut by a top Democratic super PAC. Jonathan Easley reports.
Biden warned on Wednesday that the country could experience a “second spike in coronavirus infections” if Trump charges forward with plans to reopen the U.S. economy by Easter on April 12, Max reports. In a virtual press conference, the former vice president said that allowing Americans to return to work while the coronavirus is still actively spreading would be “far more devastating” to the country than sticking to current restrictions on business activity.
“Look, we all want to get back to normal as quickly as possible, but we have a lot to do to make that possible. We have to do it in a smart way — not on some arbitrary or symbolic timeline,” Biden said. “It would be a catastrophic thing to do for our people and for our economy if we sent people back to work just as we were beginning to see the impact of social distancing take hold only to unleash a second spike in infections.”
Keith Naughton Biden’s general election strategy comes into focus
Lucina Di Meco Gendered disinformation might have cost Warren the nomination and could cost us our lives
Steve Israel and Douglas Kriner: Can Trump postpone the election?
James Hohman: Will Americans’ embrace of socialism wane without Sanders?
FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES:
The coronavirus stimulus deal the Senate is expected to pass on a bipartisan basis Wednesday includes $400 million to shore up elections and promote mail-in voting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Hill’s Maggie Miller reports.
Biden: 53 percent (+5)
Sanders: 34 percent (-5)
Biden: 57 percent (+/-0)
Sanders: 39 percent (+3)
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)
Alaska Democratic primary (vote-by-mail)
Hawaii Democratic primary (vote-by-mail)
Wyoming Democratic caucuses (vote-by-mail)
Wisconsin Democratic primary
Puerto Rico Democratic primary
New York primaries
ONE HELPFUL THING
Across America and the world there are shortages of various goods and necessities like hand sanitizer and toilet paper, but there is one shortage in the New York City area which is actually good news.
The Hill’s Kaelan Deese reports that animal shelters around New York City are running out of pets eligible for adoption or foster care, as more and more people seek to find quarantine companions amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Animal nonprofits Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society report shelters in the city are all out or nearly out of dogs and cats following an influx of adoption applications over the last two weeks.
Bloomberg News first reported on the shortages in shelters.
For more good news be sure to check out The Hill’s Selfless Action page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ll see you tomorrow for the latest news in politics.
Stay safe, everyone!