Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks as former Vice President Joe Biden reacts during the Democratic presidential primary debate. (Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images)

Friends, there was another debate this week – less than a week after the last one, but who’s counting – and while President Trump was dealing with the growing coronavirus concern, the Democratic presidential candidates were slugging it out in South Carolina. 

This time, Sen. Bernie Sanders was squarely in the frontrunner seat, and his rivals let him know it. They had some success but nothing to level of pile-on Mike Bloombergdealt with in Las Vegas. 

Pete Buttigieg went after Sanders on Medicare for All. Former Vice President Joe Biden went after him on guns. There were questions about authoritarians and socialism. All the candidates talked over each other. Bloomberg again took a few punches from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Sen. Amy Klobuchar made a hot-dish joke. We were all tired at the end.

But did it change much of the race heading into Saturday’s South Carolina primary?

Biden has been the favorite in South Carolina for months, even as Sanders appeared to be closing the gap. But Biden got two pieces of good news in the Palmetto State post-debate, with two polls showing him leading the field by double digits.

Know who isn’t weighing in on the race? President Barack Obama, who has thus far not endorsed in the Democratic primary, and doesn’t plan to. After Saturday, the race moves to Super Tuesday, where 14 states and one U.S. territory vote, which could offer an interesting test of Sanders’ appeal to more moderate voters.

This week in Iowa

Yeah, it’s still going on, guys. 

 After a recount (and a recanvass), it appears Pete Buttigieg has won the most state delegate equivalents, which would mean he wins the most national delegates. The Iowa Democratic Party is expected to certify the results Saturday.

Oh, you’ve already forgotten all your caucus knowledge and history? Let our friends at the Des Moines Register refresh your memory. 

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 22: Votes are recorded at a Democratic presidential caucus site at East Las Vegas Community Center on February 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada Democrats hold their presidential caucuses today, the third nominating contest in the presidential primary season. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775483455 ORIG FILE ID: 1208031259 (Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images)

Black voters have a key role in the Democratic electorate

White men dominated the campaign staffs for presidential candidates in 1988. That’s no longer the case for Democrats in South Carolina. And black voters accounted for 55% and 61% of the ballots in 2008 and 2016, respectively, and are expected to cast up to two-thirds of all ballots in South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Saturday. 

Which brings us to our next point: Are you registered to vote? If so, congrats on being prepared! If not, you still have time.

Yes, we think it’s really important that folks get registered to vote, so we might nag you about it like your mom and brushing your teeth before bed. But it comes from a place of love.

Thanks, as always, for reading. See you Monday when the entire political world could be different.  – Annah Aschbrenner and Mabinty Quarshie

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