Tom Steyer Drops Out After Getting Spanked By Joe Biden In South Carolina

Tom Steyer Drops Out After Getting Spanked By Joe Biden In South Carolina

Update (2156ET): Still nothing on Steyer’s twitter feed (no slickly produced video? We thought that was your thing?) but Bloomberg has apparently confirmed.

  • TOM STEYER ENDS CAMPAIGN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT – CAMPAIGN SOURCE

Steyer has zero delegates, and despite being on track for a third-place finish Saturday night in SC, he likely won’t pick up any delegates. We suspect the quest for his endorsement won’t be all that fierce among his former rivals.

* * *

Leave it to a comically out-of-touch billionaire to go out on a low note.

After Joe Biden savagely spanked him in front of millions of Americans during the pre-SC debate, then spanked him again in the actual primary, which Biden is projected to win by a surprisingly large margin, billionaire financier Tom Steyer is reportedly dropping out of the Democratic Primary.

There hasn’t been any official word out of the Steyer camp yet; the last thing the ‘candidate’ tweeted was a tweet urging supporters to go out and support the race’s true champion of climate justice, an issue that Biden, Bloomberg and the rest of the Democratic pack brutalized him over his investing record (which of course includes holdings in fossil fuel companies etc…).

Steyer is most famous for financing an advertising campaign urging lawmakers to sign his petition to impeach President Trump – he called it the ‘Need to Impeach’ campaign. They eventually did, but we suspect that Steyer’s unyielding support for the issue had little to do with it.

Sayonara, Tom. We’ll miss you, and your dumb tie, too.

 

 


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 22:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2I6gu6b Tyler Durden

Wealth Of World’s Ten Richest Men Now Greater Than GDP Of 85 Poorest Countries

Wealth Of World’s Ten Richest Men Now Greater Than GDP Of 85 Poorest Countries

Bernie Sanders appears on track to clinch the Democratic nomination to the consternation of the DNC, and every American voter who abhors his vision of a ‘Democratic socialist’ society has been reflecting on the successes and failures of capitalism. Of course, over the past ten years, there’s no question that economic inequality has widened, if only because the Federal Reserve and the rest of the central banks embarked on an unprecedented experimented in loose monetary policy.

Now, as LearnBonds pointed out in a recent report, the cumulative wealth of the world’s ten richest people is now larger than the aggregate GDP of 85 impoverished countries.

According to IMF figures for 2019 released back in October, the poorest 85 countries have a combined GDP of $813 billion. For comparison, by LB’s count, the net worth of the world’s 10 wealthiest individuals is $858.1 billion.

In a bar chart, LB offers a few more helpful comparisons:

Here’s another example:There isn’t a single African country that has a higher GDP when compared to the cumulative wealth of the top ten richest people. Nigeria, which has Africa’s highest GDP of $446.543 billion, amounts to about half of the net worth of the top ten wealthiest.

Here’s another fun chart:

Of course, the one thing Bernie Sanders’ supporters always seem to leave out during their tirades about evil billionaires is that most of this wealth isn’t real. It’s not like they have a giant vault filled with dabloons that they can swim in like Scrooge McDuck. Jeff Bezos, for example, holds like 99% of his wealth in Amazon stock. If something were ever to happen to Amazon, like – god forbid – Microsoft overtaking it as the top provider of cloud computing services, Bezos’ net worth will take a huge nosedive.

Millions of savers and retirees would also get hurt as well, as the value of much of their equity index holdings would vanish.

Of course, after this week, perhaps the elitest of the elites’ wealth is a little lower.


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 21:55

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3coyvuC Tyler Durden

“The Public Doesn’t Decide The Nominee”: DNC Leaders Move To Limit Democratic Choice In The Convention

“The Public Doesn’t Decide The Nominee”: DNC Leaders Move To Limit Democratic Choice In The Convention

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

As we have been discussing, establishment figures in the Democratic party and the media have been preparing to block any nomination of Bernie Sanders, including using the “superdelegates” to hand the nomination to another candidate. The New York Times reported Thursday that the Democratic establishment was preparing for open warfare over blocking Sanders, even if it shatters the unity of the party.

If Sanders does not receive the necessary votes, they intend to take away the nomination even if he has the most votes in the first round. The key again are the superdelegates who are not elected in the primaries but given votes as elected officials.

On MSNBC, former Obama adviser Anton J. Gunn was particularly blunt. He declared”:

“The party decides its nominee. The public doesn’t really decide the nominee.”

In 2016, many of us objected to the concerted effect of the Democratic establishment and the Democratic National Committee to rig the primary for Hillary Clinton. Later it was revealed that the Clintons have largely taken over the DNC by taking over its debt and the DNC openly harassed and hampered Sanders at every stage. Despite this effort, Sanders came close to beating Clinton, who has never forgiven him for contesting a primary that she literally bought and paid for with the DNC. The simmering rage was still evident in Clinton’s attack on Sanders and suggestion that she might not support him if he were the nominee (a suggestion that she later took back).

Well the supers are back and Sanders may again find that it is the party elite, not the voters, who determine who will be the next nominee. The irony is that the elite hardly has an inspiring record. In 2016, every poll showed that voters did not want an establishment figure so the establishment rigged the process for the ultimate establishment figure. Clinton lost to the most unpopular Republican candidate in history. I remain convinced that Sanders could have won that election, a position recently suggested by Michael Bloomberg.

Yet, the same people that gave us the Clinton nomination will be working their magic again at the Democratic Convention. What is fascinating is that the establishment would prefer to risk the election by alienating the huge young following of Sanders rather than allow Sanders to be the nominee. If they give the nomination to another establishment figures like Biden or a billionaire like Bloomberg, the establishment would enrage millions of Sanders followers who could well stay home in 2020.


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 21:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3aeid5t Tyler Durden

After The Market’s Week From Hell, Here’s A List Of Who Was Puking

After The Market’s Week From Hell, Here’s A List Of Who Was Puking

Over the past 7 days, which came just after the stock market hit an all time high, and which turned out to be the worst week for the S&P since the vomit-inducing days of the 2008 financial crisis, and also saw the fastest 10% correction from a market peak on record

… we tried to put together the pieces of the “liquidation puzzle” to find out i) just who is selling, whether machines or people or some combination of both, and ii) is there more selling to go?

Of course, as we now know, the answer to ii) was “oh yes” as an entire generation of traders who had never seen a violent market crash recoiled in terror at the relentless selling, which sent the Dow more than 3% lower on 3 distinct occasions.

“A lot of us hadn’t seen this type of crash in our careers,” admitted Justin Wilder, a 31-year-old research analyst at DRW Holdings LLC in Montreal who has never experienced an actual bear market in his career. “There’s definitely some nervousness on the floor, both for the trading and our health” added Justin who was still in high school when Lehman filed for bankruptcy and the S&P lost more than half of its value before the Fed stepped in with QE… and the rest is history.

Other Millennials were just as incredulous: “With coronavirus, the market has found a reason to correct in a way that I’d never seen before,” Julian Carvajal, a 30-year-old FX trader at TCX Investment Management told Bloomberg.

It’s been mental, and that’s probably an understatement,” said Rishi Mishra, a 29-year-old research analyst at Futures First, who was definitely in high school when Lehman filed for bankruptcy. “Many of us who weren’t trading during the 2008 crisis see this as one of those days you could tell your grandchildren about.” Well, Rishi, you may want to hold off on the grandchildren stories, especially if the Fed does not step in some 24 hours from now to prevent what may be a historic puke on Monday now that “community-spread” cases have emerged in the US, as well as the first coronavirus death.

But while we now know the answer to ii) what about i)? Courtesy of the latest weekly report from Deutsche Bank’s flow expert Parag Thatte, we now know the answer to that too.

The answer to “who was selling” is, in short, everybody.

But before we get into the details, a quick reminder: we have been warning for the past two months that positioning and pricing in equities was extremely elevated, with most investors “all-in” in many cases with record leverage, and increasingly disconnected from growth indicators. And just in case any of the abovementioned millennial “traders” claim there were no signs a crash was imminent, well… there were, like the market being the most overbought and complacent ever, with every investor all-in as recently as last month:

… only to become even more overbought and even more complacent, with investors even more all-in…

… with record leverage and unprecedented “smart money” concentration in the same handful of stocks:

… and since nothing could dent the relentless Nasdaq ascent, even as Apple cut guidance due to the coronavirus…

… retail investors unleashed a never-before seen buying spree, and not just momentum stocks, but calls of momentum stocks…

… to the point where retail investors’ record levered beta helped them outperform the entire hedge fund class!

… and ushered in the “Profane, Greedy Traders of Reddit” who “Are Shaking Up the Stock Market” even as US consumers just reported the highest median current value of their market investments.

In short, everyone felt invincible, and all thanks to the Fed’s QE4 which injected $600BN in the market and made even a modest drop appear impossible.

Only… it was not meant to last, and in a market that took the express elevator up and the Wile-E Coyote anvil down, especially with short interest at all time lows providing almost no natural buffer to a selloff (as there were almost no shorts covering into the plunge)…

… less than a week after markets hit an all time high, stocks crashed, suffering three 3%+ drops in the past week as algos suddenly realized that not even the Fed can print viral antibodies, resulting in the biggest one-day Dow Jones point drop on record (down 1,191 on “Viral Thursday”), but more importantly, the fastest 10% correction from an all-time Dow Jones high since just a few months before the start of the Great Depression.

* * *

Which brings us back to the original question: who was selling?

We already know that retail investors were steamrolled, with the Goldman Sachs Retail Favorite basket tumbling after returning more than 16% YTD just last week, and is now down for the year (curiously, it is still outperforming the GS Hedge Fund VIP basket which as of this morning is down more than 3% in 2020.)

What about non-retail investors?

Oh, where to start with a historic selloff that has sent equities catching down to all other asset classes?

Well, how about at the top: as Thatte writes, equities positioning has flipped from being extremely overweight (95th percentile) to very underweight (12th percentile). DB’s consolidated positioning metric, which was at the top of its historical range last week (95th percentile) has now fallen very sharply to underweight levels (12th percentile).

Meanwhile, the bank’s cross asset breadth indicator has crashed from a near all time high, to what is basically an all time low.

Worse, the true decline in positioning is likely bigger as some data is available only with a lag: as a result positioning is likely to decline further as momentum signals across all asset classes have now flipped to extreme, and in most cases record risk-off.

A more detailed breakdown of selling classes finds that while discretionary investors were indeed taken to the woodshed, it was systematic investors who were absolutely hammered.

Among them:

Vol control funds equity allocation is down sharply and their selling should start to diminish. Vol control funds have cut exposure to equities from historical maximum last week down to near the bottom of their range (5th percentile), selling $65bn of equities over the last one week.

They can still cut equity exposure further if vol rises but with allocations already low, their sensitivity to incremental selloffs should start to diminish.

CTAs have cut equity exposure to being short but are likely to go further. CTAs were extremely long equities until last week and have now flipped to being slightly short (18th percentile) but their positioning remains above levels seen during prior large selloffs in 2011, 2016 and 2018. Volatility as well as trend signals continue to deteriorate and point to them raising their short positions further.

Risk parity funds’ equity exposure is down from a record high but remains elevated. Risk parity funds are likely to cut exposure further as volatility  continues to remain elevated, but they tend to move more gradually compared to other systematic funds.

How about non-retail, non-systematic investors? Here too the selling was widespread, with huge outflows from equity funds this week but more to come. Equity funds have seen outflows of -$28bn since the selloff began last Friday. However, prior inflows since late October had been extremely strong…

… far more than implied by the modest rebound in global growth and we estimate that equity funds would need to see outflows of about -$130bn just to catch down.

Hedge funds, which were perhaps the least euphoric investors into the February meltup thanks to their curiously low beta…

… suffered the least of all investors…

For quants, the pain was widespread, but nowhere more so than the contrarians with value funds cratering to new all time low.

And here is the worst news for Buy-The-Fucking-Dippers: according to Thatte, “in past large selloffs, outflows typically continued for several weeks”… which means that this thing will go on for a long time.

There was some good news: after last week’s rout, stocks are finally realizing that there will be no earnings growth for the second consecutive year, and as a result the S&P is now pricing in negative EPS growth…

… and an ISM plunging to 47.

At the same time the put/call volume has reversed dramatically amid a surge in put buying which – at least from a contrarian standpoint – suggests that the market may finally be at a support level.

Putting this together, it means that unless it is now consensus that a global recession is coming – and as we discussed yesterday, one is certainly likely – the record sell-off may finally be poised to take a break.


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 21:05

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2A Under Fire In CA: Santa Clara Forms Gun Confiscation Team

2A Under Fire In CA: Santa Clara Forms Gun Confiscation Team

Authored by James Fite via LibertyNation.com,

California continues to proudly lead the charge toward a disarmed citizenry. In the latest attack on the Second Amendment, Santa Clara County is forming what they call a “county gun team” – a unit of lawyers, analysts, and prosecutors authorized to seek out and confiscate firearms from those the state feels shouldn’t have them.

Okay, Fine. We’re Coming For Your Guns

Remember when Democrats used to try to mollify armed Americans by saying, “No one’s coming for your guns” with every incremental gun control measure they proposed?

Well, it’s official: They’re coming for the guns – some of them, at least. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. As Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble once wrote, “Democrats have never come across a gun restriction they didn’t like.”

The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve funding for the proposal, which was put forth by board president Cindy Chavez. The team will consist of seven people – three crime analysts, two lawyers, and two prosecutors. They will be tasked with identifying those who have been ordered to surrender their weapons and ensure these dangerous people aren’t still armed. If necessary, they’ll obtain search warrants for local law enforcement to go and take the guns.

Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown explained that “the very voluminous California laws on guns mean nothing if we don’t adequately and smartly enforce them.” She is correct, of course. Those who don’t care to follow the old laws aren’t likely to care much about the new ones. That’s why Second Amendment advocates say gun control doesn’t work.

“The law says that there are categories of people who are not allowed to have a gun,” McKeown said. “If you are a domestic abuser with a restraining order, you can’t have a gun. If you are a convicted felon, you can’t have a gun. If you are a repeated, mentally ill offender who is dangerous, you can’t have a gun.”

The List Grows Ever Longer

While the Board dressed the proposal up as simply a way to protect the victims of domestic abuse, consider the words of the deputy DA. Now let’s have a look at the ever-growing list of people who aren’t allowed to own guns in California – by no means did she disclose them all. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, as of December 10, 2019, the following groups are considered prohibited persons:

  • Those convicted of a felony or certain domestic violence crimes.

  • Those addicted to narcotic drugs.

  • Those convicted of specific crimes (both felony and misdemeanor) involving violence, hate crime offences, or the unlawful misuse of firearms.

  • Those convicted of violating state laws regarding safe storage of firearms around minors and prohibited people. This usually results in a ten-year prohibition.

  • Anyone who knows they are subject to an outstanding arrest warrant for a firearm-prohibiting offense – not convicted, simply subject to a warrant.

  • Those prohibited as a condition of probation.

  • Wards of the juvenile courts due to the commission of an offense involving violence, drugs, or firearms. This prohibition remains in effect until age 30.

  • Anyone who knows they are subject to a protective order, restraining order, temporary restraining order, or injunction issued by a court pursuant to state law – including extreme risk protection orders, otherwise known as red flag laws.

  • Anyone prohibited because of a history of severe mental illness or chronic alcoholism.

This isn’t simply about disarming convicted felons – which is another issue in its own right. The Santa Clara County Gun Team might well be tasked with disarming anyone with a record of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, who might be suspected of some crime – violent or otherwise – or even parents who simply didn’t lock up their guns while the kids were home. Will the squad also be used to hunt down any firearms or accessories the state manages to ban in the future? Which groups, exactly, deserve to be stripped of the right to self-defense?

The Costs – In Money, Liberty, And Lives

Santa Clara County already employs one lawyer and a prosecutor who will be on this team. Taxpayers will fork over $427,247 to cover the $215,653 annual salary for the new attorney and the additional prosecutor’s $211,594. Grant money will cover the other expenses, including the remaining three staff member salaries, but the amount was not disclosed.

But what about the human cost? What of the liberty lost when armed citizens are arrested for refusing to surrender their arms – or the lives lost should the encounter turn violent?

The Second Amendment clearly states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but let’s not pretend that actually matters in California. The Golden State has so infringed that right that any argument on Second Amendment grounds seems almost pointless. In truth, many other states and even the federal government have as well.

The argument against this now seems to center on the violation of the right to due process. Under current state laws, this confiscation crew can get search warrants to disarm people who haven’t actually been convicted of anything. But as Herman Cain was always so fond of saying, “the devil is in the details.”

Just as the gun grabbers reinterpreted the Second Amendment by setting their own definition for the word “arms” – or perhaps it was “people” or “infringed,” or some combination – they seem to be the ones deciding just what, exactly, due process means.


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 20:40

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Joe Biden Wins South Carolina Primary, Slowing Bernie Sanders’ Momentum Before Super Tuesday

Joe Biden scored a much needed victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, giving his flagging presidential campaign a boost just days before Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states will hold primaries or caucuses.

The former vice president’s victory in South Carolina also blunted the momentum of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), who had won each of the first three contests (or two, depending on how you count Iowa’s results) and who is favored to win many of the states voting on Tuesday.

With 5 percent of precincts reporting at 8 p.m., Biden had more than 53 percent of the vote in South Carolina. Sanders was running second with 15.3 percent.

While Sanders seems poised to remain the Democratic frontrunner for the time being, the bigger question now is whether he can garner enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination without a convention floor fight. Biden’s win increases the chance of a brokered convention—something that the forecasters at FiveThirtyEight now say is the most likely outcome. To win the nomination outright, a candidate must secure at least 1,991 of the 3,979 pledged delegates that are up for grabs in state primaries and caucuses. Heading into South Carolina, Sanders had won 45 delegates while Biden had won just 15. (Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was in second place with 26 delegates.)

It is not immediately clear how many of South Carolina’s 54 delegates will go to which candidate, since delegates are awarded based not just on the statewide results but also on results within each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

The 19 delegates connected to the statewide results are awarded proportionally to any candidate who gets at least 15 percent of the vote. Only Biden and Sanders (and possibly Tom Steyer) appear on track to score, with Biden getting the largest share. The same 15 percent threshold exists in each congressional district, making it possible that lower-polling candidates such as Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) will be shut out entirely. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not on the ballot in South Carolina.

One thing to watch as the South Carolina results come in is Steyer’s results. If he can clear the 15 percent threshold—and polls suggest he has a decent chance to do so—it could provide a lifeline to his campaign. He’s not going to be the Democratic nominee, but failing to hit the 15 percent threshold in South Carolina would mean he might as well exit the race.

The number of delegates awarded in the first four contests will soon seem somewhat insignificant. Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses will award 1,357 delegates, with about a third of all the pledged delegates up for grabs.

So it’s possible that Biden’s South Carolina renaissance will quickly be overwhelmed by a wave of Sanders victories. It’s also possible that this will be the key turning point in the race, one that shows centrist Democrats—who have been casting about for a candidate capable of stopping Sanders—that Biden is their best bet. A quick consolidation of support away from non-Sanders candidates and toward Biden was evident in late-breaking polling of the South Carolina race. Now the question is whether that same phenomenon can be repeated nationally.

Anti-Bernie Democrats are probably right to worry about a general election between Donald Trump and a 78-year-old self-proclaimed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, praised some of Fidel Castro’s policies, and is promising an economic revolution at a time when unemployment is at a near-record low.

And it should go without saying that a Sanders-Trump general election is a no-win scenario for anyone who cares about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. It would be a choice between a socialist and a nationalist—both of whom admire freedom-crushing regimes around the world and oppose the free movement of goods and people.

As The New York Times reported this week, many so-called “superdelegates”—unpledged delegates at the convention, mostly Democratic Party officials—are opposed to nominating Sanders even if he arrives at the convention with a plurality of delegates.

After the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee changed its rules to prevent superdelegates from voting on the convention’s first ballot—a change that was made, in large part, because Sanders and his supporters worried that superdelegates could block their candidate during the 2016 contest. The new rules effectively mean that any candidate who secures more than 50 percent of the pledged delegates awarded through the primary process would secure the nomination even if he or she were opposed by all superdelegates. The superdelegates will enter the picture only if no candidate secures an outright majority of the pledged delegates.

But now Sanders is making the argument that he should be the nominee even without a majority.

“Bernie wants to redefine the rules and just say he just needs a plurality,” Jay Jacobs, a superdelegate who chairs the New York Democratic Party, told the Times. “I don’t think the mainstream of the Democratic Party buys that. If he doesn’t have a majority, it stands to reason that he may not become the nominee.”

Would Democratic Party officials really deny Sanders the nomination if he arrives at the convention with the largest share of delegates but remains short of a majority? It’s impossible to know right now, though the answer likely depends on how large of a lead Sanders has and how close to the magic number of 1,991 he is. Chaos is guarenteed either way, but if another candidate can keep the race close, the superdelegates will have a better argument for swinging the convention away from Sanders.

The South Carolina results make it more likely that the superdelegates will enter the picture this summer in Milwaukee. In that regard, Biden’s win may prove—in the long run—to be less significant than Sanders’ loss.

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Bernie Boards Wrong Private Jet In Awkward Senior Moment

Bernie Boards Wrong Private Jet In Awkward Senior Moment

Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders experienced a brain malfunction on Saturday when he accidentally boarded the wrong private jet, according to TMZ.



Photo via TMZ

While wrapping up campaign stops in South Carolina and Massachusetts ahead of Super Tuesday, the 78-year-old boarded the wrong gulfstream.

As for this little mix-up here, it’s kinda funny. Bernie’s been flying all over the country for different campaign events — so the guy’s definitely busy and has a preoccupied mind at the moment. Mistakes like this (getting on the wrong Gulfstream) are bound to happen. –TMZ

While Sanders has been pictured on multiple commercial flights, he’s taken criticism for flying private jets at all while railing against the elites. Earlier this month, he was pictured boarding a different private jet – while candidate Elizabeth Warren took her own to the same D.C. airport from different locations just 36 minutes apart, according to the report – which notes that they could have simply flown together and saved the planet.



Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 20:15

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2TbFhME Tyler Durden

Joe Biden Wins South Carolina Primary, Slowing Bernie Sanders’ Momentum Before Super Tuesday

Joe Biden scored a much needed victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, giving his flagging presidential campaign a boost just days before Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states will hold primaries or caucuses.

The former vice president’s victory in South Carolina also blunted the momentum of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), who had won each of the first three contests (or two, depending on how you count Iowa’s results) and who is favored to win many of the states voting on Tuesday.

With 5 percent of precincts reporting at 8 p.m., Biden had more than 53 percent of the vote in South Carolina. Sanders was running second with 15.3 percent.

While Sanders seems poised to remain the Democratic frontrunner for the time being, the bigger question now is whether he can garner enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination without a convention floor fight. Biden’s win increases the chance of a brokered convention—something that the forecasters at FiveThirtyEight now say is the most likely outcome. To win the nomination outright, a candidate must secure at least 1,991 of the 3,979 pledged delegates that are up for grabs in state primaries and caucuses. Heading into South Carolina, Sanders had won 45 delegates while Biden had won just 15. (Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was in second place with 26 delegates.)

It is not immediately clear how many of South Carolina’s 54 delegates will go to which candidate, since delegates are awarded based not just on the statewide results but also on results within each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

The 19 delegates connected to the statewide results are awarded proportionally to any candidate who gets at least 15 percent of the vote. Only Biden and Sanders (and possibly Tom Steyer) appear on track to score, with Biden getting the largest share. The same 15 percent threshold exists in each congressional district, making it possible that lower-polling candidates such as Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) will be shut out entirely. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not on the ballot in South Carolina.

One thing to watch as the South Carolina results come in is Steyer’s results. If he can clear the 15 percent threshold—and polls suggest he has a decent chance to do so—it could provide a lifeline to his campaign. He’s not going to be the Democratic nominee, but failing to hit the 15 percent threshold in South Carolina would mean he might as well exit the race.

The number of delegates awarded in the first four contests will soon seem somewhat insignificant. Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses will award 1,357 delegates, with about a third of all the pledged delegates up for grabs.

So it’s possible that Biden’s South Carolina renaissance will quickly be overwhelmed by a wave of Sanders victories. It’s also possible that this will be the key turning point in the race, one that shows centrist Democrats—who have been casting about for a candidate capable of stopping Sanders—that Biden is their best bet. A quick consolidation of support away from non-Sanders candidates and toward Biden was evident in late-breaking polling of the South Carolina race. Now the question is whether that same phenomenon can be repeated nationally.

Anti-Bernie Democrats are probably right to worry about a general election between Donald Trump and a 78-year-old self-proclaimed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, praised some of Fidel Castro’s policies, and is promising an economic revolution at a time when unemployment is at a near-record low.

And it should go without saying that a Sanders-Trump general election is a no-win scenario for anyone who cares about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. It would be a choice between a socialist and a nationalist—both of whom admire freedom-crushing regimes around the world and oppose the free movement of goods and people.

As The New York Times reported this week, many so-called “superdelegates”—unpledged delegates at the convention, mostly Democratic Party officials—are opposed to nominating Sanders even if he arrives at the convention with a plurality of delegates.

After the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee changed its rules to prevent superdelegates from voting on the convention’s first ballot—a change that was made, in large part, because Sanders and his supporters worried that superdelegates could block their candidate during the 2016 contest. The new rules effectively mean that any candidate who secures more than 50 percent of the pledged delegates awarded through the primary process would secure the nomination even if he or she were opposed by all superdelegates. The superdelegates will enter the picture only if no candidate secures an outright majority of the pledged delegates.

But now Sanders is making the argument that he should be the nominee even without a majority.

“Bernie wants to redefine the rules and just say he just needs a plurality,” Jay Jacobs, a superdelegate who chairs the New York Democratic Party, told the Times. “I don’t think the mainstream of the Democratic Party buys that. If he doesn’t have a majority, it stands to reason that he may not become the nominee.”

Would Democratic Party officials really deny Sanders the nomination if he arrives at the convention with the largest share of delegates but remains short of a majority? It’s impossible to know right now, though the answer likely depends on how large of a lead Sanders has and how close to the magic number of 1,991 he is. Chaos is guarenteed either way, but if another candidate can keep the race close, the superdelegates will have a better argument for swinging the convention away from Sanders.

The South Carolina results make it more likely that the superdelegates will enter the picture this summer in Milwaukee. In that regard, Biden’s win may prove—in the long run—to be less significant than Sanders’ loss.

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Study Suggests That Moderate Drinkers Live Longer Than Those Who Totally Abstain

Study Suggests That Moderate Drinkers Live Longer Than Those Who Totally Abstain

Authored by Elias Marat via TheMindUnleashed.com,

Enjoying a small bit of booze on a daily basis could actually help boost your life-span to a healthy 90 years of age, researchers have found.

The study, spearheaded by a team of scientists at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, discovered that men and women who indulge in a daily drink are 40 percent more likely to reach their 90th birthday than those who completely abstain.

But before folks get carried away, it is important to note that the benefits of booze are restricted to those who stick to one daily drink, as binge-drinkers are prone to die earlier.

While women can benefit most from drinking wine, men were found to benefit most from such liquors as brandy, gin, and whiskey.

For the study, lead researcher Prof. Piet van den Brandt and his team tracked the drinking habits of over 5,500 people over the span of 20 years. Most of those people tracked by the Dutch team were born in 1914-1918, during the First World War.

The volunteers were surveyed on their drinking habits while they were in their sixties and seventies before researchers monitored how many of them made it to the age of 90.

According to the results published in the journal Age and Ageing, 34 percent of the women and 16 percent of the men reached that age.

However, those who drank between 5 to 10 grams of alcohol per day – the equivalent of a half-pint of beer, a small glass of wine, or a standard shot of liquor – were 40 percent more likely to reach 90 years.

And while drinking up to 15g per day slightly improved volunteers’ chances of reaching 90, any more than that led to premature death.

In his report on the findings, Dr. van den Brandt said:

“We found alcohol intake was positively associated with the probability of reaching 90 years of age in both men and women.

Wine was associated with women reaching 90 but not with men. Instead, intake of gin, brandy and whisky increased their longevity.”

Researchers remain unclear as to why the small daily doses of alcohol are so beneficial.

However, researchers also warned that older people should be aware of how alcohol could potentially interfere with prescription medications. They also noted that the study should not be seen as an endorsement of imbibing alcohol.

Dr. van den Brandt said:

“This should not be used by anyone who does not currently drink alcohol as motivation to start drinking.”

According to the Daily Mail, Lucy Holmes, a director of research and policy at Alcohol Change UK, said:

“This study shows again what all the evidence points to and what the UK’s top doctors tell us – the healthiest choice is to drink 14 units a week or less.

That’s a bottle and a half of wine, or six pints of normal strength lager, spread over three or more days. But if you don’t drink at the moment, this isn’t a reason to start.”


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 19:50

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3agsCxp Tyler Durden

Joe Biden Wins South Carolina Primary, Trump Says “End Of Bloomberg’s Joke Campaign”

Joe Biden Wins South Carolina Primary, Trump Says “End Of Bloomberg’s Joke Campaign”

Former vice president Joe Biden is quickly taking a victory lap after being projected to win the South Carolina Primary:

Amid a larger than expected African American voter turnout, Biden dominated the initial vote count…

And is forecast to win the primary.

The double-digit win for Biden, along with the likelihood of collecting many or most of the 54 delegates at stake, gives his campaign a much-needed shot in the arm ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries next week.

President Trump was not slow in reacting either:

Does this mean the market will rally on Monday?


Tyler Durden

Sat, 02/29/2020 – 19:23

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/38czfzB Tyler Durden