Monday Sunrise Briefing: Momentum builds for Bernie Sanders

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, sunrise briefing. 

Here are two news events from this past weekend (while you may have been dancing the Renegade, snowshoeing, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Houston, Texas.

With Sen. Bernie Sanders’ decisive win Saturday in Nevada, attention now shifts to the primary in South Carolina - and Super Tuesday. The question of electability looms ever larger for Democrats: Can a self-declared democratic socialist beat President Trump in November? Senator Sanders is “too progressive” for most Americans, say competitors. “I ain’t a socialist. I’m not a plutocrat. I’m a Democrat," former Vice President Joe Biden told supporters Saturday. 

But some analysts see parallels between the Sanders campaign and the Trump 2016 campaign. You'll recall a host of moderate GOP rivals tried to block Trump’s rise, but were too splintered to be effective. The real-estate mogul has a core of ardent supporters, they argued, but he could never appeal to a broad enough swath of American voters to win. 

Campaigning in delegate-rich Texas this weekend, Mr. Sanders said he has "brought together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition” that’s “going to sweep this country." By some calculations, the race for the Democratic nomination could be all-but over on Super Tuesday if Mr. Sanders has a strong showing in the 14 states (including Texas) that vote on March 3.

2. South Korean churches emerged as a focal point of coronavirus concern this weekend. All 1,100 branches of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, seen as a messianic cult by mainstream Christian groups, were temporarily closed by the South Korean government. One branch of the Shincheonji church, in the city of Daegu, has emerged as the the biggest cluster of COVID-19 infections in the country. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the decision was “a fair and inevitable step” to protect the nation, adding there was “no intention to limit religious freedom.”  Also, 41 Roman Catholic churches suspended masses in South Korea after some members were diagnosed with the virus after a group of Catholics returned from a Holy Land trip to Israel.

In Europe, Italy closed off a dozen towns, cancelled soccer matches and closed schools, theater performances and Venice’s famed Carnival.

Nicolas Armer/dpa via AP
More than 10,000 people marched Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, to counter hate. Some marchers hold photos of the nine people who were killed by an immigrant-hating gunman in Hanau, Germany, this past week.

Look Ahead

Monday, Feb. 24

Namaste Trump: Amid trade tensions, President Donald Trump arrived in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. The two-day visit began with an event titled “Namaste Trump,” which loosely translates to “Greetings, Trump,” held at the world's largest cricket stadium. It mirrors a similar event in Houston, Texas, last September called "Hello Modi."

Justice revisited: The U.S. Supreme court hears oral arguments this week in several cases, including disputes over a pipeline near the Appalachian Trail, illegal immigration, and who pays for acts of foreign terrorism.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Qualified to lead? Eight Democratic candidates debate again on Tuesday in South Carolina, before a primary vote Saturday. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute are hosting the 8 p.m. E.T. event.

Friday, Feb. 28

Let's skip the primary: The Republican Party canceled the 2020 presidential primary vote, but President Trump holds a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina.  In 2016, Trump got 54.9% of the South Carolina vote. Hillary Clinton received 40.7%.

Saturday, Feb. 29

Palmetto State primary: South Carolina voters make their selection for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. This was supposed to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s political firewall, but the latest polls show Sen. Bernie Sanders closing fast. 

US-Taliban peace deal: If the one-week “reduction in violence” accord is fulfilled, Washington expects to sign a peace deal with the Taliban Saturday that allows US troops to leave Afghanistan. The official end to America's longest war would also start intra-Afghan negotiations between the country's various political factions. 

Up for a Leap Day? To keep the solar year and the Gregorian calendar in sync, we add one day every four years. What will you do with your Feb. 29 “bonus” day?

Integrity Watch

Roseville, California Police Department via Facebook
Rajbir Singh (center), owner of Roseville Cab, sought help from officers at the Roseville, California, police department on Feb. 11, to persuade a rider not to fall victim to an IRS scam.

As a cab driver, Rajbir Singh knows what it means to go the extra mile. Two weeks ago, a 92-year-old woman wanted a ride to her bank. She had to withdraw $25,000 to pay off an IRS debt. Mr. Singh smelled something fishy. She agreed to give him the phone number of the “IRS agent” but the “agent” wouldn’t answer questions and hung up. Mr. Singh's passenger still wanted to pay her IRS debt. That’s when "Raj pleaded with the woman to reconsider so they agreed to stop by the Roseville Police Station to ask an officer," according to a Facebook post by Roseville police. A cop confirmed the scam. In fact, it’s so common that the IRS has a web page on how to spot this ripoff

Kudos to Mr. Singh’s for taking the time to look out for his “neighbor.” "I am an honest guy, and these are old people. They need help," Mr. Singh, the owner of Roseville Cab, told CNN "It just made sense."

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

Forget the roses. Say ‘I love you’ with a book of love poems.

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about lifting the ban on landmines: Can tech make these weapons safe for civilians? 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. From vision to spectacle – the optics of Trump’s trip to India
  2. Gay rights, religious freedom, and the battle over adoption
  3. Coronavirus and China’s global image
  4. How coal mine waste could help build your next phone
  5. For these homebound seniors, poems offer food for the soul

This is a beta test - an experiment with an early Monday morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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