January 14, 2020

Andrew Yang has a theory for why there are barely any candidates of color left in the Democratic primary race.

After Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) dropped out earlier this week, Yang remains the only person of color in the Democratic race with a solid base of support. And as he tells Politico ahead of Tuesday night's Democratic debate, that dilemma stems from "inequities and financial realities" that affect people of color outside of politics, too.

While Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) made the December debate stage, she dropped out of the 2020 race due to a lack of financial support beforehand, leaving Yang the only person of color in that debate. That left him feeling "a bit of extra pressure" to talk about race both in the debate and in his campaign in general, he told Politico. "Race has not been the central theme of my campaign from the beginning," Yang said, but added "it's more natural to talk about it when you're literally the only person of color on a national debate stage."

Now, Yang has been barred from Tuesday's debate after he failed to make the Democratic National Committee's polling threshold, leaving six white candidates on the stage. This, Yang says, "reflects the realities of our society where being able to run for office and contribute to political campaigns requires a degree of disposable income. If you're black or Latino in the country, you are much less likely to have disposable income."

DNC Chair Tom Perez defended the thresholds as a "remarkably inclusive and frankly low bar" which have resulted in "the most diverse field in American history." Kathryn Krawczyk

2:30 p.m.

Mort Drucker, the beloved artist known for his work at MAD magazine, has died at 91.

Drucker died Wednesday at his home in New York, his friend John Reiner confirmed to The New York Times. Reiner told CNN's Jake Tapper his death was not thought to be related to COVID-19.

After joining MAD in 1956, Drucker's hilarious caricatures satirizing pop culture soon became iconic, and he illustrated more than half of the magazine's movie parodies from the 1960s through 2008, per the Times. In a 2000 interview with the Times, he noted, "I think I've drawn almost everyone in Hollywood."

Among Drucker's other notable work includes the poster for George Lucas' American Graffiti; according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas personally drove to Drucker's home on Long Island to convince him to draw it.

"The World has lost a not just an extraordinary talent but a shining example of kindness, humility and humor," the National Cartoonists Society said in a statement.

MAD fans on Thursday quickly began sharing their favorite cartoons from Drucker's legendary career, including his parodies of Jaws and Star Wars. "Many of his illustrations are as vivid in my mind as the movies and TV shows that inspired them," The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff wrote.

Reiner told CNN's Jake Tapper that Drucker's final words to him were, "I'm the luckiest man — I've had a wonderful life." Brendan Morrow

2:11 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is officially donning a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the jury's still out on whether her husband will follow suit.

In a social media post Thursday, the first lady shared a photo of herself wearing what appears to be a surgical mask, touting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation "to wear cloth face coverings."

"Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing," she wrote. "It is recommended to keep us all safe."

Melania's masking comes one week after President Trump announced he would not be wearing a mask, despite the CDC-issued guidelines urging people to do so. At the time, Trump implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" while wearing a mask, so it's unclear how he's taking this news.

The photo of the first lady appears to show her wearing a surgical mask rather than the CDC-recommended "cloth face covering," the former of which is recommended only for use by health care professionals and medical first responders amid critical supply shortages.