The TAKE with Rick Klein

There’s a Bidenism that comes to mind in surveying the state of the suspended presidential race.

“Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative,” former Vice President Joe Biden is fond of saying, in a phrase he attributes to his father.

Alternatives abound at the moment — both inside and outside the campaign. President Donald Trump has his daily press briefings. Sen. Bernie Sanders has his nightly livestreams. Biden has cable hits from his house.

Leadership, meanwhile, is coming out of the nation’s governors. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is among those emerging as a star — in ways that could signal concern about Biden’s candidacy as much as any enthusiasm about Cuomo himself.

#PresidentCuomo is little more than a Twitter fantasy this deep into the voting, and the Biden campaign is eager to share the governor’s effusive praise for Biden. But Biden doesn’t have the platform that Cuomo and other governors — not to mention the president — have going into what could be the deadliest stretch for the coronavirus emergency.

This Democratic race has had a strange way of expanding when it would normally be contracting. Now, when it should be winding down, it essentially has three candidates — only two of whom are in the race, and one of whom has a realistic chance of becoming the nominee.

Biden allies argue that it’s natural for Americans to rally behind their elected leaders in a time of crisis. Some of them say they welcome a referendum on competent management and steady leadership, and Biden himself has sought to sharpen his critiques of Trump along the way.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

White House officials Tuesday underscored a grim reality: Americans should be prepared that 100,000 people in the country could die from the virus.

“I think the more we push on the mitigation the less likelihood it would be that number, but being realistic we need to prepare ourselves that that is a possibility that that is what we will see,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force.

These numbers are shocking, terrifying and hard to image, let alone digest. They are the kind of numbers sadly and normally associated with war or the most deadly diseases.

Around 40,000 Americans died in car crashes last year, another 40,000 women in America died of breast cancer.

In the U.S. more than 4,000 people have died from COVID-19, including more than 900 people in the last 24 hours alone. It is frightening, devastating and notable how quickly this disease is the taking lives of neighbors, and loved ones.

White House officials did also say that the extreme social distancing measures have been working to slow the spread of the virus, and that some bright spots in the data out of Washington state and parts of Europe may point to that.

The sobering, public forecast from the administration was also evidence that the president and his team were willing to talk about the challenges and realities of this moment in a new way.

The TIP with Kendall Karson

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders seems more adamant to stay in the Democratic race, even as he acknowledges just how narrow his path to the nomination is. “Well we’re about 300 delegates behind. Biden has 1,200; we have 900. There is a path. It is admittedly a narrow path,” he told Seth Meyers on his late night show Monday.

Exactly how narrow is the path for Sanders to become the party’s presumptive nominee?

With the coronavirus injecting upheaval into a primary contest that was finally starting to appear more settled, the earliest Biden, the delegate leader, could now win the nomination is on the night of the June 2 primaries, if he nabs about 60% of the outstanding delegates.

In order for Sanders to clinch the nomination under that same timeframe he would need to net roughly 83% of the remaining delegates — a much higher portion of the delegate pool than the 39% he’s collected thus far.


ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Wednesday morning’s episode features South Shore Health Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Todd Ellerin, who helps break down the new coronavirus guidance from the Trump administration. Then, ABC News’ Eva Pilgrim tells us about her experience shadowing emergency responders in New York City. And, we hear from an elementary school principal in Texas who is tackling remote learning with creative solutions.

ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl will join ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein to talk about his new book “Front Row at the Trump Show,” about his years covering Trump, and the president’s latest response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis every weekday.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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