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Late changes upend Democratic race on eve of Super Tuesday

With one lopsided result in one Southern US state and a pair of prominent withdrawals, a lot has changed in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Saturday’s results in the South Carolina primary, in which Joe Biden trounced frontrunner Bernie Sanders by more than 28 percentage points, had already thrown a ratchet into the…

Late changes upend Democratic race on eve of Super Tuesday

With one lopsided result in one Southern US state and a pair of prominent withdrawals, a lot has changed in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Saturday’s results in the South Carolina primary, in which Joe Biden trounced frontrunner Bernie Sanders by more than 28 percentage points, had already thrown a ratchet into the convoluted race, puncturing the aura of inevitability that surrounded Sanders.
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Then, the unexpected withdrawals of Pete Buttigieg on Sunday night and Amy Klobuchar on Monday afternoon turned what had been a multi-person race into one with four viable candidates, all of them in their 70s and from states in the northeast corner of the country – Sanders, Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg.
The fifth Democrat still standing, Tulsi Gabbard, is polling just over 1 percent in national polls.
Tuesday’s primary votes in 14 states are the closest thing the US has to a national primary. More than two-thirds of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination – 1,357 out of the 1,991 needed – at the party’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July are up for grabs.
California and Texas are the day’s biggest prizes, with 415 and 228 delegates, respectively. California, the most populous US state, held its primary in June during the 2016 presidential race but opted to return as a Super Tuesday state this cycle to try to increase its influence.

‘Joementum’
After Biden’s big victory in South Carolina, Buttigieg and Klobuchar both united behind him.
“I’m looking for a leader, I’m looking for a president, who will draw out what’s best in each of us,” Buttigieg said as he stood on stage alongside Biden at a rally in Dallas. “We have found that leader in vice president, soon-to-be president, Joe Biden.”
Speaking at another campaign stop later in the night, Klobuchar called for unity: “If we spend the next four months dividing our party and going at each other we will spend the next four year watching Donald Trump tear apart our country,” she said. “We need to unite our party and our country.”
While, the result in South Carolina was one of the best nights of Biden’s political career, his first primary victory in three presidential runs, Biden still trails Sanders in the delegate count and most national polls.
He has followed the win with back-to-back days of five-million-dollar fundraising hauls, by far the best 48-hour stretch of his campaign, and a newfound momentum, or “Joementum”, as his supporters have taken to calling it, that came with a number of high-profile endorsements.
“Democrats need a candidate who can assemble the largest, most diverse coalition possible to defeat Trump and lead our country following the trauma of Trump’s presidency,” said former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Monday’s endorsements. “That candidate is Joe Biden.”
Buttigieg and Klobuchar’s departures have left Biden alone in the middle of the ideological stage with one exception: Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor, has spent more than $500m on his campaign so far, and Tuesday will be the first time he actually appears on a ballot. Despite poor debate performances, the Bloomberg advertising juggernaut has boosted him into third place in national polls behind Sanders and Biden.
Establishment Democrats, fearful that Bloomberg’s continued presence in the race will siphon off moderate voters and favour Sanders, have quietly urged him to follow the other moderates’ lead and drop out of the race. He has so far resisted.
“I’ve won three elections so far. I don’t plan to start losing now!” Bloomberg said at an event in Virginia on Monday.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg poses for photographs with supporters during a campaign event in Houston, Texas. [File: David J Phillip/AP Photo]

Bernie v the establishment
For Sanders, who leads Biden by only six delegates after South Carolina, the weekend’s results were a wake-up call. He struggled among black voters in 2016, and Saturday’s vote shows he still has issues with a key Democratic voting bloc. His supporters had hoped to mobilise enough young voters to offset his tepid support among older ones, but the efforts did not pan out. Black voters under 45 were about equally split between Sanders and Biden.
The hope in the Sanders camp is that South Carolina was an aberration and Super Tuesday will demonstrate his popularity among all voters of colour. Southern states such as Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia voting on Tuesday have substantial numbers of black voters, and Latinos hold huge sway in California and Texas, where they make up 40 percent of the population.
Sanders has invested heavily in California as a demonstration of his electability, and the efforts have paid off. He is widely expected to win the state handily, as well do reasonably well in New England states that are considered his back yard. Biden is expected to fare better in the Southern states.
On Monday, Sanders earned his own high-profile endorsement from Democracy for America, a national grassroots organisation originally led by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, another champion of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing.
“The overwhelming support for Bernie we saw in our member vote should be a wake-up call to the broken, visionless, corporate Democratic establishment,” said the organisation’s chair Charles Chamberlain. “American’s want fundamental change in Washington, not a return to the status quo.”
If Sanders supporters were hoping that his fellow progressive still in the race, Elizabeth Warren, would follow the moderates’ lead and withdraw to clear his path to the nomination, those hopes were dashed by Warren campaign manager Roger Lau, who promised to take the fight all the way to the floor of the convention if no candidate emerged from the primary season with a clear majority.
“The convention in Milwaukee is the final play,” Lau wrote in a Sunday memo to campaign staffers.

Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren greets Ella Clare Campbell after speaking in Memphis, Tennessee [File: Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters]

Far from over
Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, the race for the Democratic nomination is far from over after Tuesday. On March 10, there are more than 350 delegates in play, including 125 in Michigan, and on March 17, three large states (Florida, Illinois and Ohio) will be selecting 577 delegates.
If the race is still undecided by late April, six states with more than 650 delegates have important primaries on April 28th: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. And there are a further 500 delegates at stake in May and June.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, speaking at a fundraiser in North Carolina over the weekend, cautioned Democrats that it is still early in the process.
“I used to run marathons,” Perez said. “We’re at, like, mile three or four of the marathon.”
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Knorr changes name of ‘Zigeuersauce,’ or ‘gypsy sauce’

BERLIN — One of Germany’s best-known food companies said it will rename a popular spicy dressing because of the racist connotations of its name. Food company Knorr will change the name of its “Zigeuersauce,” or “gypsy sauce” to “Paprika Sauce Hungarian Style,” the German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday. “Since ‘gypsy sauce’ can be…

Knorr changes name of ‘Zigeuersauce,’ or ‘gypsy sauce’

BERLIN — One of Germany’s best-known food companies said it will rename a popular spicy dressing because of the racist connotations of its name.

Food company Knorr will change the name of its “Zigeuersauce,” or “gypsy sauce” to “Paprika Sauce Hungarian Style,” the German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday.

“Since ‘gypsy sauce’ can be interpreted in a negative way, we have decided to give our Knorr sauce a new name,” said Unilever, the international consumer goods group that owns Knorr. Unilever could not independently be reached for comment on Sunday.

The popular spicy sauce, a staple in many German households, will within a few weeks show up with the new name in supermarkets across the country, Bild am Sonntag reported.

Civil rights groups have for years called for the renaming of the brand, but in 2013, the company rejected the demand, the German news agency dpa reported.

The renaming of the brand follows recent international debates over racism, especially in the United States, where big national companies have also renamed traditional brands in response to concerns about racial stereotyping.

“Zigeuner” is a derogative German expression for the Roma and Sinti minority groups who have lived in many European countries for centuries. Roma and Sinti are still discriminated against in Europe. They often live below the poverty line and on the margins of society without equal access to education, jobs, or the opportunity for upwards mobility.

The terms “Zigeunersauce” has been used in Germany for more than 100 years to describe a hot sauce based on tomatoes with small-chopped pieces of bell pepper, onions, vinegar and spices like paprika. It’s mostly served with meat.

A popular dish with the sauce that’s often served in traditional German restaurants is called “Zigeunerschnitzel,” or “gypsy schnitzel.” That name is also still used on many menus across the country nowadays – despite much criticism.

Roma and Sinti organizations in Germany have long pointed out that the sauce is not even part of their traditional cuisine and they have also demanded for years that the name be abolished.

The head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma welcomed Knorr’s decision to no longer use the term.

“It is good that Knorr reacts to the complaints of apparently a lot of people,” Romani Rose told Bild am Sonntag. However, he added that more than the discriminating nature of the sauce’s name, he was worried by the increasing racism against minorities in Germany.

He noted how some soccer fans in Germany chant the words “Zigeuner” or “Jude” – Jew – to insult players or fans of opposing teams during matches.

In June, Germany’s official anti-discrimination watchdog said it received significantly more complaints about racism in 2019 than the year before. The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency said it received 1,176 complaints about racism last year, an increase of 10% compared to 2018.

The number of complaints about racism has more than doubled since 2015, the agency said.

There have also been a rising number of racists attacks in Germany recently, including the killing of nine immigrants in Hanau in February and the attack on a synagogue in Halle last year by far-right extremists.

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Putin changes Russia’s electoral law to allow remote vote |NationalTribune.com

Putin proposed changes to the constitution in January [Kremlin/Sputnik via Reuters] Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved changes to the country’s electoral law, allowing Russians to vote electronically or by mail in future polls, according to the Kremlin. Opponents to Saturday’s move say an electronic system will be easier to manipulate and will make it…

Putin changes Russia’s electoral law to allow remote vote |NationalTribune.com

Putin proposed changes to the constitution in January [Kremlin/Sputnik via Reuters]
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved changes to the country’s electoral law, allowing Russians to vote electronically or by mail in future polls, according to the Kremlin.
Opponents to Saturday’s move say an electronic system will be easier to manipulate and will make it hard for independent observers to notice irregularities.
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They also say that the changes are being introduced at a point in time when the coronavirus lockdown means the public is not able to express opposition by protesting against the changes.
The new electronic voting software should be available nationwide and can be used for local and national elections, as well as referendums.
However, it is not clear if the new system will be available for an upcoming constitutional referendum that would clear the way for Putin to serve two more presidential terms beyond 2024, keeping him in power potentially through 2036.
The referendum had been scheduled for mid-April, but was cancelled due to the pandemic. 
According to Russian media, the new date will likely be June 24.
Backers of the new system say it will help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, according to TASS news agency, since they will no longer be required to go to polling places.
The electronic system has undergone four tests in Moscow so far and not been hacked once, the news agency reported.

Political storm
Putin unleashed a political storm in January when he suddenly proposed changes to the constitution.
But until recently, he dismissed suggestions he launched the overhaul of the country’s basic law to extend his grip on power.
Putin served the maximum two consecutive terms between 2000 and 2008 before a four-year stint as prime minister.
He returned to the Kremlin in 2012 for a newly expanded six-year mandate and was re-elected to a fourth Kremlin term in 2018.

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