Peace Deal and Bloomberg Are Over

Grind for March 5th
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
– Sharon Begley

That Didn’t Last Long

The Headline

US Forces attack Taliban days after peace deal

The Grind

US forces launched an airstrike against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on Wednesday, just days after the two sides signed a peace deal aimed at ending the war.

The strike was intended to disrupt Taliban militants “who were actively attacking an [Afghan security] checkpoint,” explained a US military spokesman.

Taliban fighters attacked more than 40 targets on Tuesday, killing civilians and local security forces as well as 16 Afghan soldiers.

The Details

The peace deal, signed last Saturday, outlines the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan if the Taliban upholds its promises to sever ties with insurgent groups (including al-Qaida), prevent those groups from using Afghanistan as a staging ground, and begin political negotiations with the Afghan government.

“Taliban leadership promised the [international] community they would reduce violence and not increase attacks,” says Colonel Sonny Leggett, currently stationed in Afghanistan. Taliban militants “appear intent on squandering this [opportunity] and ignoring the will of the people for peace.”

President Trump on Tuesday called chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, marking the first direct phone call between a US president and a top Taliban official since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

“We had a good conversation,” said Trump. “We’ve agreed there’s no violence. We don’t want violence…but we’ll see what happens.”

Another One Bites The Dust

The Headline

Michael Bloomberg ends presidential campaign, endorses Joe Biden

The Grind

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money in an unprecedented effort to buy his way into the White House, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is dropping out of the race.

Bloomberg entered the race in November, well after his rivals had established their platforms, and eschewed early voting states to focus on advertising in Super Tuesday states.

As we expected, his over-spending didn’t make up for his late entry or his unpopular platform. And it didn’t make voters forget about his controversial moves as NYC Mayor.

During the race, Bloomberg portrayed himself as a non-ideological executive with the resources and experience needed to defeat President Trump – a stance that ultimately failed to attract support from moderate Dems, from dissatisfied Republicans, and from young voters hoping for a progressive win.

The Details

Despite spending $215 million on TV and radio ads in Super Tuesday states, Bloomberg failed to win a single state (although he did come out on top in American Samoa).

“After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists,” said Bloomberg on Wednesday. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”

Overall, Bloomberg spent more than $620 million on his campaign and hired at least 2,400 staff to help spread his message throughout the states. Moving forward, he has promised to keep his political organization active to help Biden defeat President Trump.

“Mike has always said he would put all of his resources in defeating Trump and has never shied away from tough battles,” notes Tim O’Brien, Bloomberg’s senior campaign adviser. “He deeply admires Joe Biden and will back his candidacy to the fullest extent.”

The Takeaway

Biden won nine Super Tuesday states, leaving him with a total of 548 delegates. Bernie Sanders, who claimed California, has a total of 484 delegates.

Elizabeth Warren, who failed to win a single state, remains in third place with 53 delegates. While she is still the race, we can expect her to eventually drop out and endorse Sanders.

Did you know… Identical twins do not have identical fingerprints.