**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Bernie bows to math, but vows to press Biden on issues – Trump’s efforts to minimize virus threat failing – War Eagle: Trump plumps for Tuberville – Pigs eating a pedometer
BERNIE BOWS TO MATH, BUT VOWS TO PRESS BIDEN ON ISSUES
AP: “Bernie Sanders says he’s moving ahead with his Democratic presidential campaign. He told reporters in Burlington on Wednesday that he’s not quitting despite key primary losses to Joe Biden the night before. The Vermont senator’s path to the presidential nomination considerably narrowed after decisive losses to Biden in Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi. Sanders acknowledged ‘we are losing the debate over electability’ to a candidate many Democrats think will have a better chance of defeating President Donald Trump in the fall. But he said he wants to force Biden to confront issues of economic inequality and other issues important to Sanders’ supporters. He said he was planning to do that in the debate scheduled with Biden on Sunday. Sanders did not address supporters publicly Tuesday night. Pressure has been growing on him to end his presidential bid and work to unify the party against Trump.”
Chait: How Dems’ misreading of 2016 created the Bernie bubble – NY Mag: “The second Sanders campaign has shown conclusively how badly the left misunderstood the electorate. It is not just that Sanders has failed to inspire anything like the upsurge in youth turnout he promised, or that he has failed to make meaningful headway with black voters. White working-class and rural voters have swung heavily against him. In Missouri and Michigan, those voters turned states he closely contested four years ago into routs for his opponent. Some rural counties have swung 30 points from Sanders 2016 to Biden 2020. The candidate in the race who has forged a transracial working-class coalition is, in fact, Joe Biden.”
Clyburn: Shut it down – Fox News: “House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., appeared ready to call off the Democratic primary race Tuesday night and declare former Vice President Joe Biden the victor. In a conversation with NPR as the results were coming in, Clyburn – who already has endorsed Biden – said that if Biden were to sweep the six contests, it would be best for the party to put an end to the primary race, debates and all. ‘I think when the night is over, Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and quite frankly, if the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates,’ Clyburn said, ‘because you don’t do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it’s obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you.’”
The biggest 2020 surprise? A no-drama nomination – NYT: “Unlike 2016, when Mr. Sanders extended his race against Hillary Clinton with a series of victories in caucuses, a format in which he has excelled, this year’s calendar has many more traditional primaries, supplying fewer chances for Mr. Sanders to drive up margins and keep the delegate tally close. The result — implausible as it seemed last month, when Mr. Biden faltered so badly in Iowa and New Hampshire that establishment Democrats indulged fantasies about a contested convention to stop Mr. Sanders — is a race that could be nearing its functional end.”
Bernie’s wasted week – WaPo: “After sustaining damaging losses in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests, Sen. Bernie Sanders had one critical week to grow his support, change the story line and revitalize his campaign. Instead, he spent it largely in combat against the party he hopes to lead. He accused former rivals of bowing to establishment pressure by endorsing Joe Biden. Some backers, including a top surrogate, made unsubstantiated claims that Biden was deteriorating mentally. And Sanders abruptly scrapped a speech his team said would be an important statement on racial justice. … Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a prominent Sanders supporter who has campaigned with him, took issue with Sanders backers who have been attacking Warren. Warren’s decision not to endorse Sanders after she exited the race, while criticizing Sanders for his allies’ online taunts, was a notable rebuke from an ideological ally.”
Alberta: Reason for GOP worries in Michigan results – Politico: “[The] big takeaway from the day’s big prize, Michigan, isn’t that Biden is a spectacular candidate. The big takeaway is that he doesn’t need to be. Two things happened on Tuesday in Michigan. First, Democratic turnout exploded. Second, Biden performed far better with key demographic groups than Clinton did four years ago. If either one of those things happens in November, Trump will have a difficult time winning the state again. If both things happen, the president can kiss Michigan’s 16 electoral votes goodbye—and with them, more than likely, the electoral votes of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.”
THE RULEBOOK: IMPROVING THE ODDS AGAINST TYRANNY
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28
TIME OUT: THE ‘KNAPSACK PROBLEM’
Smithsonian: “Imagine you’re a thief robbing a museum exhibit of tantalizing jewelry, geodes and rare gems. You’re new at this, so you only brought a single backpack. … How do you choose among the objects to maximize your loot? … This fictional dilemma, the ‘knapsack problem,’ belongs to a class of mathematical problems famous for pushing the limits of computing. And the knapsack problem is more than a thought experiment. ‘A lot of problems we face in life, be it business, finance, including logistics, container ship loading, aircraft loading — these are all knapsack problems,’ says Carsten Murawski, professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia. … Researchers once took advantage of the problem’s complexity to create computer security systems, but these can now be cracked since the problem has been so well studied. Today, as technology capable of shattering the locks on our digital communications loom on the horizon, the knapsack problem may inspire new ways to prepare for that revolution.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
ESTIMATED DELEGATES FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
[Ed. note: 1,991 delegates needed to win]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 44.2 percent
Average disapproval: 52.6 percent
Net Score: 8.4 percent
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.2 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 45% approve – 52% disapprove; Fox News: 47% approve – 52% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; Gallup: 47% approve – 51% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
TRUMP’S EFFORTS TO MINIMIZE VIRUS THREAT FAILING
NYT: “The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, said the days of minimizing the threat were over. ‘As a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago,’ Dr. Fauci told reporters. He said Americans, even those in communities not yet affected, ‘have to start taking seriously what you can do now’ to prepare for the day ‘when the infections will come, and they will come — sorry to say, sad to say — they will.’ The briefing reflected the gulf between Mr. Trump and his top health officials, who offer sober assessments of the crisis. As Dr. Fauci and others showed off posters advising the public not to shake hands, Mr. Pence was at pains to explain why the president himself continued to do so. … And as Mr. Trump emerged from lunchtime talks with Senate Republicans, his appraisal was upbeat. ‘Just stay calm — it will go away,’ he said, but there is no scientific assessment to back that up.”
Negotiations underway with Pelosi on rescue plan – Politico: “The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi began preliminary talks on Tuesday over a legislative package to juice the U.S. economy amid the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. But House Democrats are simultaneously pressing forward with their own plan to counter the crisis that could get a vote as early as this week — showing that even the response to a massive public-health emergency is breaking down along partisan lines. President Donald Trump presented Republican senators with several potential actions Congress could take as lawmakers look to avert disastrous economic impacts from the virus — but he did not offer a specific legislative package during their hour-long lunch meeting on Tuesday, according to several attendees. Trump — who was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow — was eager to show that he was taking charge of the federal response to the burgeoning crisis, including the potential financial fallout associated with it.”
Readies plans for federal workers to stay home – WaPo: “The Trump administration is racing to develop contingency plans that would allow hundreds of thousands of employees to work remotely full time, an extreme scenario to limit the coronavirus that would test whether the government can carry out its mission from home offices and kitchen tables. The Office of Personnel Management, which oversees policy for the workforce of 2.1 million, has urged agency heads in recent days to ‘immediately review’ their telework policies, sign paperwork with employees laying out their duties, issue laptops and grant access to computer networks. The administration has not issued a widespread mandate, but some offices already have acted. The Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday became the first federal agency in Washington to clear 2,400 employees from its headquarters after discovering that an employee might be infected.”
Tax Day to be delayed – WSJ: “The Trump administration plans to delay the April 15 tax deadline for most individual taxpayers as well as small businesses as part of an effort to mitigate the effects of the spread of the novel coronavirus, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday. Mr. Mnuchin said the delay would apply ‘to virtually all Americans, other than the super rich,’ and said officials would likely announce a decision quickly.”
WAR EAGLE: TRUMP PLUMPS FOR TUBERVILLE
Fox News: “In a snub to his former attorney general, President Trump endorsed former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville — Jeff Sessions’ primary opponent — in the GOP Alabama Senate race. ‘Tommy Tuberville is running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Alabama,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday night. ‘He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our country down!’ Trump fired Sessions as attorney general in November 2018 after he recused himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation. Sessions responded to Trump’s endorsement of Tuberville by tweeting: ‘Of course, President Trump can endorse anyone he chooses for the U.S. Senate election in Alabama. But the Constitution expressly empowers the people of Alabama, and only them, to select their Senator. I intend to take my case directly to the people of Alabama.’”
Georgia county stirs controversy by holding pseudo-Senate election – Fox News: “A lone county in Northwest Georgia is trying to play kingmaker in the contentious Senate race between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and GOP Rep. Doug Collins to the annoyance of some Republicans. Floyd County, about an hour north of Atlanta, is taking the unusual step of asking GOP primary voters during the May 19 election to pick their favorite candidate for the U.S. Senate in an effort to gauge the support of Loeffler and Collins. The result is not official, but more of a poll conducted by ballot. The county GOP officials make the case that whoever can win in red Floyd County will have the momentum and a better case to emerge as the winning GOP candidate in the November election. … The state of Georgia is not having a primary election for this U.S. Senate seat, but rather a wild ‘jungle’ election in November where all Republican and Democratic candidates will be on the ballot. The top two finishers – presumably one Republican and one Democrat – will then head to a run-off election.”
Pergram: Business as usual on Capitol Hill amid coronavirus fears, for now – Fox News
Report: Congressional Republicans more favorable than Democrats – Gallup
AUDIBLE: TIME FOR A PAWS
“Let’s shut this puppy down, and let’s move on and worry about November.” – Political consultant James Carville said on MSNBC, referring to Biden’s success Tuesday evening.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I must pick a bone with your geography lesson in the North Dakota caucus comment. I grew up in Williston, ND, 30 miles from unincorporated East Fairview, ND, population of 76 in the 2010 census. Alas, Fairview (population 840) is located in Montana, though it shares a border with East Fairview! Despite the occasional correction needed, I enjoy the Halftime Report. You betcha!” – Ken Timboe, Salt Lake City
[Ed. note: Please excuse us, Mr. Timboe! Know I know how President Trump felt after putting Kansas City in Kansas instead of Missouri!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
PIGS EATING A PEDOMETER
UPI: “Firefighters in Britain said crews responding to a fire at a farm discovered the flames were caused by pigs eating a pedometer. The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews from Tadcaster and Knaresbororough responded Saturday to reports of a fire on a farm near Bramham. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames that had spread to four pig pens without any injuries reported to humans or animals. An investigation of the blaze found a pedometer that had been attached to a pig to prove that it is free range had been eaten by other pigs. The firefighters said the pieces passed through the animals’ digestive systems and when they came out the other side, copper from the batteries reacted with the animal waste and caused a fire to ignite.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“In the face of a uniquely dangerous threat, we Americans have trouble recalibrating our traditional (and laudable) devotion to individual rights and civil liberties. That is the fundamental reason we’ve been so slow in getting serious about Ebola.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the WaPo on Oct. 16, 2014.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.