Amy Chozick & Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "The chorus of anyone-but-Trump from Republicans reached a roar as voters prepared to go to the polls in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida.... Mrs. Clinton, who has struggled to connect to white working-class voters in the pivotal Midwestern states, faced intense criticism over comments she made in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday. 'We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,' she said, in explaining her plan to create clean energy jobs. America Rising, an anti-Clinton 'super PAC,' said the comment showed a 'brazen disregard for the men and women who help power America.'"
Leo Shane & George Altman of the Military Times: "In an exclusive survey of American military personnel, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders emerged as active-duty service members' top choices to become the next commander in chief.... Trump was the most popular candidate in a subscriber poll that closed Sunday, with 27 percent saying they would back the business mogul if the election were held tomorrow. Sanders ... was a close second at 22 percent. The results -- based on responses from 931 active-duty troops, reservists and members of the National Guard -- do not offer a scientific status of military voting preferences. However, they do show that the outsider candidates' messages are resonating with individuals in uniform."
** Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker on the "great divide" in the Democratic party: "By the time Sanders made his decision to run, last April, there was a restless base ready to support a candidate who broke with the perceived centrism of both the Clinton and the Obama Administrations.... Hillary's campaign was slow to grasp the scale of that movement and to acknowledge the momentum of the Sanders campaign."
Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Bernie Sanders, campaigning at a feverish pace on Monday, made last-minute pitches to supporters on the eve of crucial primaries, holding five rallies in four states as he seized on his anti-trade message to rally people to turn out to vote on Tuesday." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...
... Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: Bernie Sanders "has spent a quarter-century in Congress working the side door, tacking on amendments to larger bills to succeed at the margins, generally focused on working-class Americans, income inequality and the environment.... Yet in spite of persistent carping that Mr. Sanders is nothing but a quixotic crusader -- during their first debate, Hillary Clinton cracked, 'I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done' -- he has often been an effective, albeit modest, legislator -- enacting his agenda piece by piece, in politically digestible chunks with few sweeping legislative achievements.... Over one 12-year stretch in the House, he passed more amendments by roll call vote than any other member of Congress. In the Senate, he secured money for dairy farmers and community health centers, blocked banks from hiring foreign workers and reined in the Federal Reserve, all through measures attached to larger bills."
Here It Comes. Travis Gettys of the Raw Story: "A North Carolina pastor warmed up the crowd at a Donald Trump rally by urging Sen. Bernie Sanders to become a Christian. Televangelist Mark Burns spoke to Trump supporters at a campaign event in Hickory ahead of Tuesday's North Carolina primary election, reported the Friendly Atheist blog. 'Bernie Sanders, who doesn't believe in God, how in the world (are) we going to let Bernie -- I mean, really?' Burns said, as the crowd applauded. 'Bernie's got to get saved, Bernie's got to meet Jesus. He's got to have a coming to Jesus meeting.'"
Matthew Daly of the AP: "Nearly two years after it was created, the House Benghazi Committee is ... promising a final report 'before summer' that is certain to have repercussions for Democrat Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency.... 'The only real deadline is the presidential election' in November, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the Benghazi panel and a longtime [Trey] Gowdy critic." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Hot Mic Moment. Abby Philip of the Washington Post: "... during a commercial break while taping an MSNBC town hall on Monday, [Hillary] Clinton and host Chris Matthews chatted it up about the state of the race. Clinton scolded the media for its constant coverage of ... Donald Trump, speculated about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political future and his motivations for endorsing Donald Trump.... 'Did he have a debt?' Clinton mused [about the reason for Christie's endorsement]. ...
... MEANWHILE, Trump himself mocked Christie, who sat dutifully behind his master at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. ...
... As for the debt thing, it may be the other way around: Trump is paying off Christie. According to NJonline, Christie may have spent a couple of days last week vacationing at an unspecified "Trump resort" in Florida. Christie won't say. Meanwhile, the folks back home are understandably criticizing him for doing the Trump roadshow instead of attending the funeral of a state trooper killed in the line of duty. CW: Living it up on other people's (including taxpayers') money is what Christie does.
Paul Singer of USA Today: "While you were sleeping, a few hundred people in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands were voting, and most of them voted for Donald Trump. Trump took 343 votes of the 471 total cast in the CNMI Republican caucuses, giving him about 73% of the total and all 9 delegates. Ted Cruz got 113 votes, John Kasich got 10 and Marco Rubio got 5 votes. Turnout on the tiny islands was down quite a bit from 2012, when 848 people voted in the CNMI GOP caucuses, and Mitt Romney won with 87% of the vote."
John Santucci & Lisette Rodriguez of ABC News: "... Donald Trump today said that despite some of the recent violence at his rallies, he has no plans to change the script. 'Well, I don't think I should be toning it down,' the real estate mogul told 'Good Morning America' in an interview this morning. 'We have had very little difficultly.'"
The Art of the Demagogue. Dana Milbank sat with the crowd at a "relatively tame for a Trump rally [in Boca Raton, Florida], in part because Trump supporters fingered suspected infiltrators in the crowd and had them removed by private security guards before Trump spoke.... Those around me were almost all white and mostly men. Their T-shirts and caps said they were gun owners, veterans, Marines and Harley riders. I heard nothing racist or angry or paranoid in their conversations. But once Trump arrived, they became ominously transfixed and aggressive. They pumped their fists, flashed thumbs up..., chanted 'Trump! Trump! Trump!' and hung on the candidate's every word -- often with looks of ecstasy and some visibly trembling." ...
... Daniel Lippman, et al., of Politico Magazine: "Donald Trump says he is a truthful man.'"Maybe truthful to a fault,' he boasted last week at a North Carolina rally.... But truthful he is not.... Politico subjected a week's worth of his words to our magazine's fact-checking process. We chronicled 4.6 hours of stump speeches and press conferences.... The result: more than five dozen statements deemed mischaracterizations, exaggerations, or simply false.... It equates to roughly one misstatement every five minutes on average." CW: When a lying liar inspires "ecstasy & trembling" in his followers, what you have is more a pseudo-religious cult (with a sexual undercurrent) than a political movement. ...
... Charles Pierce pointed out a moment on Press the Meat that illustrated in real time Trump's uncanny denialism: "My man Chuck Todd is playing the clip under discussion while He, Trump denies what is plainly happening on the electric teevee machine. Isn't this about where a rational television show would conclude that this man is a Gong-Show caliber crank and cut him off? Isn't this where the average late-night radio talk-show would drop the call?"
Wing-Nuts Also Notice Trump Is Winging It. Seung Min Kim of Politico: "The candidate of 'build that wall' is suddenly having a hard time with ... immigration hard-liners.... 'He hasn't done a very good job of connecting what he's been saying in both debates and his other press appearances and in his pep rallies ... versus what he wrote in his immigration policy,' Chris Chmielenski ... of Numbers USA, said in an interview on Monday. 'I think for us, what is posted on his website is very, very helpful. But the rhetoric hasn't matched.'... 'I thought it was an excellent paper written by someone in [Sen. Jeff] Sessions' office,' added Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. 'And it's apparent that he never read it.' Others who call for stricter immigration laws are also adopting an increasingly critical tone toward Trump. 'He doesn't know enough about the subject and won't listen to his own staffers to be able to distill a clear, coherent message,' added Mark Krikorian ... of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that calls for more restrictive immigration policies. 'In other words, I'm not sure he's so much flip-flopping as just making this stuff off the top of his head.'
More on the Alternate Reality of Drumpf. Jose DelReal & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump ... insist[ed] during an event [in Hickory, N.C.,] that violence has not been an issue [at his rallies]. 'The press is now going, they're saying, "Oh but there's such violence." No violence. You know how many people have been hurt at our rallies? I think, like, basically none except maybe somebody got hit once,' Trump said at Lenoir-Rhyne University after several protesters were escorted out during the first of three interruptions. 'It's a love fest. These are love fests,' Trump added later. 'And every once in a while ... somebody will stand up and they'll say something.... It's a little disruption, but there's no violence. There's none whatsoever.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...
... That's odd, because ...
David Fahrenthold & Sarah Larimer of the Washington Post: "A North Carolina sheriff's office is investigating whether Republican front-runner Donald Trump's actions at a Fayetteville, N.C., rally last week 'rose to the level of inciting a riot,' according to a statement from the department's lawyer.... The statement said the sheriff's office was also looking into further charges against John Franklin McGraw, 78, who allegedly was the man seen sucker-punching a protester as that person was being led out of the Trump rally by police. In addition, Mitchell said, the office was investigating how its own deputies reacted -- or didn't -- during the incident." CW: Huh. Drumpf has said President Drumpf would look into prosecuting Hillary Clinton because "she seems to be guilty." Maybe he'll end up being the one behind bars. I just hope that can get him an orange jumpsuit that perfectly matches his hair. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...
... Disappointing Update. The story's new lede: "Republican front-runner Donald Trump will not face charges of inciting a riot after a raucous rally in North Carolina last week, the investigating sheriff's office announced in a news release Monday night."
Andy Borowitz: "Republican front-runner Donald Trump was crying foul on Monday after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders allegedly dispatched an army of vegan thugs to attack a rally of peace-loving Nazis in Cincinnati." CW: I'm pretty sure this is satire. However, witn Trump, it's hard to tell, isn't it? Thanks to D.C. Clark for the link.
Roger Cohen of the New York Times: "Nobody who knows [former Italian PM Silvio] Berlusconi and has watched the rise and rise of Donald Trump can fail to be struck by the parallels. It's not just the real-estate-to-television path. It's not just their shared admiration for Vladimir Putin. It's not just the playboy thing, and obsession with their virility, and smattering of bigotry, and contempt for policy wonks, and reliance on a tell-it-like-it-is tone. It's not their wealth, nor the media savvy that taught them that nobody ever lost by betting on human stupidity. No, it's something in the zeitgeist. America is ripe for Trump just as Italy was ripe for Berlusconi."
In his own words:
The Wisdom of Joe. Joe Scarborough, in a WashPo op-ed, says Trump's Chicago spectacle was deliberate. He wishes the protesters had been more articulate. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Wild Man. Ken Vogel, et al., of Politico: "Donald Trump's staff and advisers have expressed concerns about campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's quick temper and heavy-handed leadership, and some even planned a coup against him last month.... A series of presidential primary victories ended the talk of deposing Lewandowski, the sources said.... In interviews with more than 20 sources who have dealt with Lewandowski during his nearly year-long tenure with the Trump campaign and in his previous job with the Koch brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, complaints emerged about Lewandowski being rough with reporters and sexually suggestive with female journalists, while profanely berating conservative officials and co-workers he deemed to be challenging his authority." CW: Still think (former) Breitbart "reporter" Michelle Fields was making up the manhandling incident?
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Sarah Palin ... canceled a planned campaign event in Florida to support Donald J. Trump on Monday because her husband was hospitalized after a snow machine accident, according to Mr. Trump's campaign." CW: My apologies. It was on the front page of the NYT, so I kinda have consider this news. (Also linked yesterday.)
What Confederate Elites Really Think about the Base. Martin Longman in the Washington Monthly: "... you probably can't understand the appeal of Trump to white working class voters without understanding that there's a widespread suspicion that Republican elites think ... these communities are filled with white trash junkies who should die quicker so they cost less to maintain." Read the whole post. ...
... It's little wonder the elites disdain their base. digby points out that today's Trump fanboy is yesterday's Reagan Democrat. "They've been part of the GOP coalition or more than 30 years. And their views have always been the same. Nativism/racism, authoritarian/lawandorder, nationalist/militarist, economic populists. These are blue collar white people who used to vote for Democrats until Democrats became the party of civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war protests."
Dave Weigel of the Washington Post on Mitt Romney's non-endorsement endorsement of John Kasich. "It looked like an endorsement, and it sounded like an endorsement.... 'You look at this guy, and unlike the other people running, he has a real track record. He has the kind of record that you want in Washington. That's why I'm convinced that you're going to do the right thing tomorrow,'" Romney said at a Kasich event in North Canton, Ohio. CW: I'd say this was Mitt, keeping open the option for a Draft Mitt moment at the GOP convention.
Hadas Gold of Politico: "Two more staffers for Breitbart have resigned from the company, citing the website's pro-Donald Trump stance. National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and associate editor Jarrett Stepman sent their resignations to management on Monday afternoon. '... Some of us have been fighting behind the scenes against the party-line Trump propaganda for some time, but without any success, unfortunately,' Schachtel said in a statement. "Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise, but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign. I signed my contract to work as a journalist, not as a member of the Donald J. Trump for President media network...." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...
... Michelle Grynbaum of the New York Times: "... Breitbart ... is now facing a problem similar to the one roiling the Republican Party it likes to torment: a scathing internal dispute, with Mr. Trump at its center." CW: Kinda breaks your heart, doesn't it? P.S. Still thinking of you, Shirley Sherrod.
Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "Giving what sounded like a valedictory address, Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday cited 'the disintegration of our culture' for the increasingly nasty nature of American politics. Rubio made the comments amid a final campaign bus trip along the eastern coast of Florida before Tuesday's Republican presidential primary." ...
... Steve M.: "Rubio's fall is so dispiriting to the national political press that there's a 2,777-word elegy for his presidential campaign running in The New York Times right now. The article, by Mark Leibovich, suggests not that Rubio is a failure as a candidate, but that -- tragically -- he just wasn't made for these times.... [Steve sez] If he never gets back into politics, he'll find himself on a lot of corporate boards, and he'll show up on a lot of political talk shows. At worst, he'll be a Republican Harold Ford, a moderately ethnic, moderately telegenic corporatist who plays a savant on TV. He'll land on his feet. So shed no tears for him after he loses today."
Ben Carson Is Still Ben Carson. Hanna Trudo of Politico: "Ben Carson said on Monday that even if Donald Trump turned out to be a lousy president, he'll only be in office for four years." CW: If only Ole Doc could be more like Gov. Chrisco.
Greg Sargent: "In a preview of what Republicans will face from Democrats if Trump does win the nomination, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just released this new video:
Other News & Views
Suzanne Goldenberg of the Guardian: "The Obama administration is expected to put virtually all of the Arctic and much of the Atlantic off limits for oil and gas drilling until 2022 in a decision that could be announced as early as Tuesday. The decision reverses Barack Obama's move just last year to open up a vast swathe of the Atlantic coast to drilling -- and consolidates the president's efforts to protect the Arctic and fight climate change during his final months in the White House. The five-year drilling plan, which will be formally announced by the interior department, was expected to block immediate prospects of hunting for oil in the Arctic...." ...
... Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "The Obama administration is expected to withdraw its plan to permit oil and gas drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast, yielding to an outpouring of opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashing the hopes and expectations of many of those states' top leaders.... The decision represents a reversal of President Obama's previous offshore drilling plans, and comes as he is trying to build an ambitious environmental legacy. It could also inject the issue into the 2016 presidential campaigns, as Republican candidates vow to expand drilling."
Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post: "Americans will be allowed to travel to Cuba for individual 'people-to-people' exchanges under new regulations announced Tuesday by the Treasury Department ahead of President Obama's trip to the island this weekend. Those previously wanting to visit Cuba were required to travel under a general license issued to organizations sponsoring authorized trips. Although visits purely for tourism remain prohibited, the new regulations shift the responsibility for legal trips to individuals who declare they will engage in 'educational' purposes. They follow the signing of a new U.S.-Cuba commercial airlines agreement that is expected to bring the first U.S. flights to Cuba later this year."
Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The Republican National Committee (RNC) is teaming up with a prominent conservative advocacy group to block President Obama's effort to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court. The RNC has formed a task force to launch radio and digital attack ads, petitions and media appearances to back up Senate Republicans, who have pledged not to hold hearings or votes on Obama's replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Oliver Milman of the Guardian: "The EPA's role as a national regulator of water is questioned by Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, who said the Flint crisis demonstrated serious flaws in the federal agency's ability to protect the public.... On Tuesday, the committee will hear from former EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman and Darnell Earley, the former emergency manager of Flint.... Hedman resigned in the wake of the disaster, after it emerged the EPA was aware of problems long before a state of emergency was declared in December. In a previous committee hearing, the EPA said it warned of the crisis but was 'met with resistance' from Michigan authorities, with scientists ignored and officials sidelined when concerns were raised." ...
... Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator, in a Washington Post op-ed: "This week, I will testify along with Gov. Rick Snyder and others from Michigan and Flint about the health crisis in the city.... Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress gives states primary responsibility for enforcing drinking water rules for the nation's approximately 152,000 water systems, but the Environmental Protection Agency has oversight authority. The EPA's relationship with states under the act is usually a strong and productive partnership. But looking back on Flint, it is clear that, from day one, Michigan did not act as a partner. The state's interactions with us were dismissive, misleading and unresponsive."
Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times: "The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail.... In a letter to chief judges and court administrators, Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department's top civil rights prosecutor, and Lisa Foster, who leads a program on court access, warned against operating courthouses as for-profit ventures. It chastised judges and court staff members for using arrest warrants as a way to collect fees. Such policies, the letter said, made it more likely that poor people would be arrested, jailed and fined anew -- all for being unable to pay in the first place." (Also linked yesterday.)
Des Bieler of the Washington Post: "A top official with the NFL made a stunning admission Monday, agreeing with a neuropathologist before a Congressional panel that a link exists between football-related brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The league had never before publicly acknowledged such a connection."
Beyond the Beltway
Lynh Bui, et al., of the Washington Post: Landover, Maryland, police officer Jacai Colson was likely shot & killed by another officer amidst a man's unprovoked attack on the town's police station & passing vehicles. The attackers two brothers, standing nearby, recorded the attack. The man, Michael Ford, who was attempting suicide by police, survived. "Police Chief Henry Stawinski ... said Ford, who was shot during the incident and is still at a hospital, and his two brothers would face 21 charges for the baffling and coldblooded attack, including conspiracy, second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Police said the Ford brothers did not work with any outside groups...." CW: And here's hoping these horrible SOBs remain guests of the state for life.
Jeffrey Collins of the AP: "A white former state trooper pleaded guilty Monday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for the 2014 shooting an unarmed black driver seconds after a traffic stop. Ex-Trooper Sean Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison.... He will serve some prison time. The shooting was captured on dash-cam video from the trooper's patrol car and shocked the country, coming during a wave of questionable police shootings. The video shows Levar Jones walking into a convenience store in September 2014 when Groubert gets out of his patrol car and demands Jones' driver's license. Jones turns back to reach into his car and Groubert fires four shots. Jones' wallet is seen flying out of his hands." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Wow! Rick Gladstone of the New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has ordered the start of a military withdrawal from Syria, where Russian forces have been bombing insurgent enemies of the government for five months, Russia's state news media reported Monday....The United Nations special envoy on the Syria conflict, Staffan de Mistura, resumed his efforts on Monday to broker a peace deal between [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad's forces and the array of insurgent groups aligned against him." (Also linked yesterday.) ...
... CW: Count the hours till Donald Trump takes credit for this.
Washington Post: "In an unprecedented move, officials will shut down entire Metrorail system for at least 24 hours starting at midnight tonight so that crews can inspect 600 electric cables in tunnels throughout the system, General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld announced at a late-afternoon news conference Tuesday." The WashPo's Dr. Gridlock has some advice on alternative means of transportation.
New York Times: "Three police officers were shot and slightly wounded on Tuesday afternoon during a counterterrorism operation in Brussels linked to the Paris terrorist attacks of Nov. 13, according to Belgian news reports."
BBC News: "Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta), is to be declared a saint on 4 September, Pope Francis has announced."