The Daily 202 – Hillary Clinton is building her delegate lead, and Bernie Sanders is getting angry

The Daily 202 – Hillary Clinton is building her delegate lead, and Bernie Sanders is getting angry

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Five reasons Bernie Sanders lost last night’s Democratic debate
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talk over each other&nbsp;as they debate in Flint, Michigan, last night. (Reuters/Jim Young)</p>

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talk over each other as they debate in Flint, Michigan, last night. (Reuters/Jim Young)

THE BIG IDEA:

Hillary Clinton is building her delegate lead, and Bernie Sanders is getting angry.

The Vermont senator needed a good night in Michigan to change the dynamic of a nominating contest that has been slipping away from him. He didn’t get it.

Instead, in the seventh Democratic debate, Sanders found himself on the defensive for the first time ever over his vote against the auto bailout. He poorly handled delicate racial and gender dynamics. He seemed angry, and he came across as someone who is running to make a point – not to win. He even managed to offend the mentally ill.

While many pundits are calling the CNN debate a draw, after reading the clips and monitoring cable chatter this morning, we are convinced it was a clear loss. Here are five main reasons why:

1. Clinton caught Sanders off guard with her attacks on his vote against the auto industry bailout.

Not only is the best defense a good offense, but the element of surprise really matters in these situations. Clinton’s campaign suggested that she would focus more on contrasting herself against the Republicans, specifically Donald Trump, than attacking Sanders.

Sanders, on the other hand, has always telegraphed his attacks against Clinton ahead of time. So she knew he was going to come out swinging over her past support for trade deals that are unpopular with the Democratic base, from NAFTA to the TPP.

When he did, the former senator from New York pounced. The Wall Street bailouts that Sanders loves to brag he voted against included $82 billion for the auto industry, she noted. “If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed,” Clinton said. “The money was there and had to be released in order to save the auto industry and 4 million jobs and to begin the restructuring.”

Clinton added that Barack Obama, who remains heavily popular with Democratic voters, especially African Americans, supported it. “You were either for saving the auto industry or against it,” she said. “I voted to save the auto industry. He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry.”

Clinton is a deft tactician, and her performance showed that she’s been to a few rodeos. Sanders, who said he protected “hard-working” Americans from bailing out “the crooks of Wall Street,” has never been quick on his feet.

Reporters abhor repetition, and this was new information after a series of debates that have included a lot of the same back-and-forth. It also played to a parochial concern ahead of Michigan’s Tuesday primary. And it happened early enough during the two-hour debate that it could make all the stories reporters needed to file before their final print deadlines.

Notably, the auto rescue exchange made the lead of the stories about the debate from  the Flint Journal, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.

The Clinton campaign has already turned a one-minute radio ad off the back-and-forth that will go on the air in Michigan today. (Listen here.)

2. Sanders seemed condescending when he cut off Clinton.

The 74-year-old got testy, even grumpy, multiple times. She clearly got under his skin with the auto rescue hit.

Sanders hushed Clinton as she sought to speak during the ensuing exchange. “Excuse me, I’m talking,” he said. The audience gasped.

“If you’re going to talk, tell the whole story,” Clinton replied.

“You’ll get your turn,” he snapped.

“Let me tell my story, you tell yours,” Sanders said later. “Your story is voting for every disastrous trade amendment and voting for corporate America.”

Later in the debate, he bristled again: “Let me finish, please!”

He also said, “Can I finish, please? All right?”

Sanders may speak with everyone this way (he often cuts off reporters of both genders mid-sentence), but in this case he risked offending female voters who have been wavering on whether to back Clinton.

One of the consequences of the vulgarity in the Republican race is the coarsening of our broader national discourse. While it is harder to shock the conscience than it used to be, Sanders still went too far.

An oft-quoted Michigan political analyst:

This is the Clinton campaign staffer in charge of online outreach to liberals (she was formerly at Cosmo and Essence Magazine):

Clinton allies were trying to brand it as a “Rick Lazio moment.”

That said, if Team Clinton believes Sanders was bad, just imagine what three Clinton-Trump debates would look like this fall.

Here’s a one-minute clip that includes Sanders shushing Clinton:

Sanders shushes Clinton on CNN’s debate stage

3. Sanders once again seemed oblivious on racial issues.

The biggest gaffe of the night was his response to a pretty straightforward question: “What racial blind spots do you have?”

His answer showed he has plenty. “When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you are walking down a street or dragged out of a car,” Sanders said.

This, of course, suggests that there are not poor whites and non-poor African Americans. It shows the degree to which the democratic socialist views everything through a class-based lens.

African American voters accounted for 23 percent of the Democratic electorate in Michigan in the 2008 primary. He’s already trailing badly among this constituency, and talking about “the ghetto” is not going to help close the gap.

Watch the answer for yourself:

Clinton, Sanders questioned about ‘racial blind spots’

Incidentally, Sanders also managed to offend mental health patients with a flip joke.He said the Republican field shows why money needs to be invested in mental health services. Our Yanan Wang reports that this struck a nerve with some. “I’m part of the 18.2 American adults with mental health problems,” tweeted one woman. “Bigotry is not a mental illness.”

4. Sanders sounded like a protest candidate who is running to make a point.

“We are going to stay in this campaign to the convention in July,” he said a few hours before the debate, saying what happens in the primaries will not deter him.

When hydraulic fracking came up, Clinton gave a characteristically nuanced answer that tried to wink and nod to all sides. When Sanders’ turn came, he said: “My answer is a lot shorter: No.”

It’s a reminder that Bernie is not ultimately focused on how to win states like Ohio in November, but he wants to pull the conversation leftward.

“HRC is running as a leader of a loose coalition of interests, Sanders is running as a champion of liberal interests,” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explained. “It’s noteworthy that HRC is strongest among most stalwart Democratic voters, Sanders among most ideological Democratic voters … In a real sense HRC and Sanders are running for two completely different jobs.”

Sanders was also widely mocked for invoking Wall Street when asked how he’d solve the lead water crisis in Flint.

5. Sanders failed to change the underlying dynamic of the race.  

Clinton led Sanders by nearly 200 pledged delegates after Super Tuesday. While Bernie won Nebraska and Kansas on Saturday (and Maine on Sunday), Clinton appears to have actually expanded her delegate lead because of a big win in Louisiana.

Ahead of tomorrow’s primary, polls show Sanders trailing by double digits in Michigan, where he hoped to make an impressive stand. An NBC/WSJ/Marist survey released yesterday has Clinton up 17 points (57-40) among likely primary voters. (The same poll had Trump up 19 points over Cruz.)

Chris Cillizza, who names Sanders the loser of the night, explains that the bar is getting higher for Sanders: “If you think Wall Street is the problem for much of what ails the country, you were for Sanders before this debate and certainly for him after it, too. But, as we know from the first 40 percent or so of states that have voted, there aren’t enough of those people to make him the nominee. Sanders didn’t knock Clinton off her game in any meaningful way, making the debate a loss for him.”

Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin, who gives Hillary a B+ and Bernie a B, says Sanders “lacked a strategy to score a definitive win and was for some too tetchy with his opponent on several occasions. Many good tactical moments on core issues but built no mosaic of contrast to knock down the front-runner.”

Other storylines—

— The war for the soul of the Democratic Party is just beginning. “Few of the attacks from either candidate were new—but their postures onstage made it clear that even if the ultimate outcome of the nomination may soon be a foregone conclusion, the fight over what the Democratic Party stands for will go on,” writes Slate’s Josh Voorhees.

“The race for the Democratic nomination may be effectively over, or at least well on its way. But the populist fire that’s being stoked by Sanders’ campaign isn’t dying down,” writesABC’s Rick Klein.

— Clinton went farther in supporting gun control than she usually does: “I think we have to try everything that works to try to limit the number of people and the kinds of people who are given access to firearms,” she said.

The Post’s Fact Checkers highlight 13 suspicious or notable claims from the debate. Five highlights from Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

  • Hillary’s promise to “remove lead from everywhere” within five years is unrealistic.
  • Sanders exaggerated the number of lost jobs because of NAFTA, even beyond what a super liberal think tank thinks.
  • Clinton exaggerated what the 2005 gun law Sanders voted for did: gun manufacturers do not actually have “absolute immunity.”
  • Sanders’ promise to empty out the jails is totally unrealistic. He claims that as president he would reduce the prison population by nearly 600,000 people in four years. “That would be a tall order just by itself, but it is made harder by the fact that only a small percentage of prisoners –13 percent—are incarcerated at the federal level, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. So a President Sanders would have to force states and municipalities to make dramatic reductions.”
  • Sanders exaggerated what most scientists are saying about the dangers of fracking.

— Read our annotated transcript here.

— If you missed the debate, watch a three-minute recap from our video team:

The CNN Democratic debate, in 3 minutes
Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost’s morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@b_deppy) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

— Sanders won the Maine Democratic caucus by 29 points (64-35). Sanders bagged his third New England victory (following New Hampshire and Vermont) as he aims to slow Clinton’s momentum and chip away at her sizable delegate lead. The Portland Press Herald reported unexpectedly high turnout at caucus sites across the state, with long lines: “Party officials estimated that 46,800 people participated in Sunday’s caucuses, beating the previous record of roughly 44,000 participants in 2008 and dwarfing the 18,650 Republicans who participated in that party’s Maine caucuses one day earlier.”

— Rubio won the Puerto Rico Republican primary. The Florida senator swept all 23 delegates available on the island by getting 71 percent of the vote, followed by Trump at 13 percent and Cruz at 9 percent. Party officials estimate more than 30,000 people cast ballots. The win came after a miserable Saturday for Rubio: He placed third behind Trump and Ted Cruz in contests held in Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana and fourth in Maine behind John Kasich. Trump still leads the pack with 382 delegates, while Cruz has 300 delegates, according to an AP tally. Rubio will now have 151 delegates of the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination. (Ed O’Keefe)

— Cruz canceled his event today in Mississippi, apparently because he is sick. His main supporter in the state, failed Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, relayed on Facebookthat “he evidently does not feel well.” McDaniel added, “This is difficult news to deliver, but we trust that God has a plan for the campaign and for Mississippi.” The primary there is tomorrow.

— U.S. and South Korean forces practiced striking North Korea’s nuclear facilities:“The U.S. and South Korea started huge military exercises Monday, including rehearsals for surgical strikes on the North’s main nuclear and missile facilities,” reports Anna Fifield from Tokyo. “The drills come amid a particularly tense time, with the international community — and the U.S. and South Korea especially — trying to punish Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test and missile launch. The U.N. sanctions passed last week are the toughest yet … About 17,000 American forces and 300,000 South Korean personnel will take part in Key Resolve, and in the Foal Eagle field exercises, which will last eight weeks and involve ground, air, naval and Special Operations services. The Key Resolve part of the exercise includes a wartime plan adopted by both countries last year, under which they will practice making precision attacks on North Korea’s leadership and weapons of mass destruction.”

— An infuriated Kim Jong Un again threatened preemptive nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul. (USA Today)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. President Jimmy Carter announced he no longer needs cancer treatment for the melanoma that spread to his brain less than seven months ago. (AJC)
  2. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is retiring. (Mark Maske)
  3. Turkey’s Prime Minister said there will be “no bargaining” over a new constitution that could enhance the powers of the president, saying instead that the government will put the issue to a referendum. (Ayla Jean Yackley and Nick Tattersall)
  4. An Iranian oil tycoon was sentenced to death for corruption for his role in a multi-billion dollar scheme to launder cash in a sanctions-busting maneuver. (LA Times)
  5. Oberlin professor Joy Karega came under fire for anti-semitic social media posts blaming “Israeli and Zionist Jews” for terror attacks, and claiming ISIS is a creation of the Israeli Mossad secret service. Oberlin’s Board of Trustees have called on school officials to review the posts, which they called “anti-Semitic and abhorrent.” (Valerie Strauss)
  6. A woman in China starved to death after being stranded on an elevator for a month. (Justin Wm. Moyer)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

Barack Obama meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy last week.&nbsp;(Reuters/Yuri Gripas)</p>

Barack Obama meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy last week. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

INSIDE SCOOP ON THE SCOTUS SELECTION PROCESS:

— “The White House is considering nearly a half-dozen relatively new federal judges for President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court, focusing on jurists with scant discernable ideology and limited judicial records as part of a strategy to surmount fierce Republican opposition,” Amy Goldstein, Jerry Markon and Sari Horwitz report in a story that just posted. “Based on interviews with legal experts and others, including some who have spoken in recent days with Obama administration officials involved in the vetting process, the president is leaning towards a sitting federal judge to fill the vacancy — and probably one the Senate confirmed with bipartisan support during his tenure.”

WHO IS ON THE SHORT LIST? “The candidates under consideration include two judges who joined the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2013, Sri Srinivasan and Patricia A. Millett; Jane L. Kelly, an Iowan appointed that year to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit; Paul J. Watford, a judge since 2012 on the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; and a lower-court judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, appointed in 2013 to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. None has carved out a distinct identity in their views on the role of law or their positions on any divisive legal question facing the nation and the courts, according to an examination of the judges’ public statements and writings, their mentors and their career paths. In the current climate of acrid partisanship, White House officials regard the opaqueness of their views as a selling point, say those familiar with the administration’s thinking.”

Another name being vetted has a longer paper trail: Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. “He is a moderate who has served on the court for nearly two decades and was considered by Obama for a previous Supreme Court vacancy.”

“According to one person knowledgeable about the vetting process, the White House initially thought about Attorney General Loretta Lynch … but she is no longer under consideration.”

Nancy Reagan touches the casket of her husband&nbsp;as it lies in state in the rotunda of the Capitol in 2004.&nbsp;(Reuters/Peter Jones)</p>

Nancy Reagan touches the casket of her husband as it lies in state in the rotunda of the Capitol in 2004. (Reuters/Peter Jones)

— “Nancy Reagan dies at 94; first lady was a defining figure of the 1980s,” by Lois Romano: “The cause was congestive heart failure … As first lady from 1981 to 1989, Mrs. Reagan had a knack for inviting controversy — from her spending habits to her request that the White House abide by an astrologer when planning the president’s schedule. But the controversies during her years as first lady often obscured her profound influence on one of the most popular presidents in modern history. They were a universe of two, and their legendary devotion helped define the Reagan presidency. President Obama said Sunday that Mrs. Reagan had ‘redefined’ the role of first lady, and he praised her for becoming an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease treatments and research after her husband was diagnosed in 1994.”

“Mrs. Reagan was often seen as the ‘bad cop’ to her husband’s congenial ‘good cop,’ putting her at odds with his senior staff, who wanted more exposure for the man known as the Great Communicator. After John W. Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate her husband in 1981, Mrs. Reagan kept his senior aides and a sympathetic public at bay while he convalesced. She argued vociferously against his running for reelection in 1984, in part because of fears about his safety.

“Always working behind the scenes, she was involved in the hiring, and firing, of senior staff at pivotal junctures. She insisted, over the objections of some senior advisers, that her husband publicly apologize for the government’s secret arms sales to Iran, a scandal that rocked his presidency. It proved to be the right call. She also bucked the administration’s right-leaning ideologues in pushing for improved relations with the Soviet Union, conspiring with the secretary of state to do it.” Read the full obituary here. Read Todd Purdum’s reflection on Mrs. Reagan’s legacy for Politico here. See a slide show with 40 pictures from our archives here. See another slideshow on how the Reagans met here. Read a round-up of reaction here. Keep reading for a round-up of reaction on social media.

— “With Obama visit, Cubans hope for home run in baseball diplomacy,” by Aaron C. Davis: “Cuba’s communist government is trying an unusual diplomatic tool to crack the economic trade barrier with the U.S.: baseball. The Castro regime, the Obama administration and MLB have been privately talking to figure out how to allow Cuban players to legally come to the U.S. to play in the big leagues. It’s a move that all sides believe could bind the two countries together over and help normalize relations, a [priority] for Obama before he leaves office. This month, Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928 a mission billed as a gesture of good will. During his visit, he plans to attend an exhibition game between Cuban’s national team and the Tampa Bay Rays, the second such game played on Cuban soil since the Cold War. ‘This is extremely important to the future of Cuban baseball, to the relationship between our two countries,’ said Heriberto Suárez, Cuba’s commissioner of baseball.”

MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:

— Time, “Sanders’ Long History With Alternative Medicine,” by Sam Frizell: “As Sanders’ medical records make clear, he’s kept his good health through regular visits to the doctor. But he also has a long history of interest in alternative medicine, including a few ideas far outside the mainstream … From linking sexual abstinence to cancer to blaming disease on the ‘ails of society,’ Sanders has professed health opinions as alternative as his politics. He penned essays in his twenties arguing that sexual repression causes cancer in women, suggesting through his late forties that the disease has psychosomatic causes. Those ideas are nowhere to be found in Sanders’ current campaign proposals, but he has boosted them in the past, including in some freelance columns in alternative newspapers. ‘When the spirit is broken, when the life force is squashed … cancer becomes a possibility,’ Sanders wrote. His views on health appear to have changed over the years, but they began with some radical ideas.”

— Clinton insisted that a former staffer getting immunity to talk about her private email server is a good thing: “When the Justice Department granted immunity to former Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano, who set up her private email server in 2009, some legal analysts interpreted it as an ominous sign. But Clinton claims differently: In an appearance on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation,’ host John Dickerson asked whether she views the immunity given to Pagliano as good news. Clinton replied, ‘Yeah, I do. Absolutely.’ ‘There is no basis [to worry about an indictment],’ Clinton said. ‘It’s a security review. I’m delighted that he has agreed to cooperate, and I think that we’ll be moving toward a resolution of this.’” (Callum Borchers)

— The Louisiana Democratic Party announced HRC will get 37 delegates from the state and Sanders will get 14.

— The Seattle Times endorsed Sanders, calling him a “refreshing change” from status quo politics.

MORE ON THE REPUBLICAN RACE:

Insiders blame bad strategy, poor attention to fundamentals for dooming Rubio’s campaign. “Party leaders, donors, and supporters of Rubio portray an operation that continues to come up short in its message, in its attention to campaigning fundamentals, and its use of a promising politician. The failures have all but doomed Rubio’s chances of securing the GOP nomination,” Ed O’Keefe, Robert Costa and Paul Kane report. “In pitches to Republican senators, Rubio’s team highlighted its support among ‘late deciders,’ voters who make up their minds in the final week. But the #MarcoMentum strategy was covering up massive deficiencies inside key states. Rubio had little to no infrastructure, and each effort began when he was so far behind that momentum meant very little. ‘His campaign hasn’t been able to keep up with his candidacy,’ said strategist Scott Reed. ‘They don’t have an operation to get him over the top.’”

  • Bad return on investment: In the Super Saturday states, Rubio and his super PAC spent twice as much on TV advertising per vote as all other candidates combined. Rubio took 85,064 votes across the four states that had contests, which works out to $1.46 per vote. Trump spent nothing. “Cruz got nearly the same number of votes as Trump but spent $60,240 to do it. That works out to 26 cents per vote,” per a CNN tally.

— Following Cruz’s wins in Maine and Kansas, Rubio and Kasich are pleading with Republicans to look at the calendar before rallying around the Texas senator. “The map only gets better for us,” Rubio said. Kasich told ABC his strategy was always to “survive the south and get to the north.” Although Cruz insists that he can defeat Trump outright, both Rubio and Kasich, who vastly outpace Cruz in support from party elites, argue that they can win their home states and head to a contested convention. (David Weigel and Robert Costa)

— Conservative donor Randy Kendrick is rallying other wealthy contributors to finance a last-ditch campaign against Trump, Matea Gold scoops this morning: “The wife of Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, who is active in the Koch political network, said the final straw was the way Trump handled a question about former KKK leader David Duke. ‘That was just a dog whistle to racists before southern primaries,’ she said. ‘Dictators arose because people did not stand up and say, ‘It’s wrong to scapegoat minorities.’ … This threatens the fabric of our country.’ Kendrick said she and her husband made a ‘significant’ donation to anti-Trump super PAC Our Principles. This makes them the second MLB owners to support the organization, which received $3 million from [Chicago Cubs family matriarch] Marlene Ricketts. More importantly, Kendrick said, is that she is mobilizing her network of prominent conservative donors around the country. ‘I think most people thought he would do himself in,’ she said. ‘Everyone thought the next remark would be the thing. We’re waking up to the reality of the threat to our values.’”

— Club for Growth Action said it will spend $2 million on anti-Trump ads in Illinoisahead of the March 15 primary. The group also plans to spend another $1 million on anti-Trump ads in Florida. (New York Times)

— A pro-Cruz super PAC launched anti-Rubio attack ads in Florida, hitting the senator in his home state on sugar subsidies, his tax plan and national defense. (Politico)

— Shot: Cruz accused the mainstream media of “sitting on negative Trump stories.”On CBS, he claimed that journalists, apparently convinced that Trump will win the primary contest, are saving their best Trump stories for the general. “I can’t tell you how many media outlets who I hear have this great exposé on Donald, on different aspects of his business dealings or his past, but they said, ‘You know what? We’re going to hold it till June or July … We’re not going to run it now,’” Cruz told John Dickerson. “You’re saying reporters have told you that?” asked Dickerson. “Absolutely,” said Cruz, declining to name them. “We’ve got multiple.” (Callum Borchers)

Chaser 1 – Bloomberg, “Trump Tower Funded by Rich Chinese Who Invest Cash for Visas,” by Jesse Drucker: “Throughout his campaign, Trump has attacked China, warning about dangers of deficient immigrant screening. He has called for a revamping of our immigration system, saying he’d make an exception for the highly-skilled. Yet no skills are required of the wealthy Chinese being courted by a subtitled video to finance a huge Trump-branded tower in New Jersey. The video was produced to help raise millions through a controversial government program known as EB-5, offering expedited visas to foreign investors overwhelmingly from China. In exchange for investing at least $500,000 in a project promising to create jobs, foreigners receive a two-year visa with a good chance of obtaining permanent residency for them and their families. The Jersey City project has raised $50 million – a quarter of its funding — from loans obtained through EB-5, according to the US Immigration Fund. General counsel Mark Giresi said he believed ‘nearly all’ of the EB-5 investors in the Trump project were from China.”

Chaser 2 – Yahoo News, “Trump challenged over ties to mob-linked gambler with ugly past, by Michael Isikoff: “Edith Creamer, daughter of New Jersey mob figure Robert LiButti, says her late father had a longtime relationship with Trump including gambling millions and flying on his helicopter. While Trump has denied the relationship, Creamer said the two knew each other well. ‘He’s a liar…Of course he knew him. I flew in the helicopter with Ivana and the kids. I like Trump, but it pisses me off he denies knowing my father.’Trump’s response to questions about LiButti underscores a recurring theme—his tendency to minimize or deny associations with unsavory characters with whom he has done business. Trump first faced questions about his dealings with LiButti, later banned from New Jersey casinos for his ties to Mafia boss John Gotti, in 1991.  According to Isikoff, ‘that probe resulted in a $200,000 fine against the Trump Plaza for violating anti-discrimination laws.’ Additionally, LiButti referenced Trump in a newly-released police tape transcripts, saying: ‘I’m very close with him.’”

Note how Trump spelled “paid.” His tweets are full of these sorts of errors, prompting a Daily Beast reporter to make a reccomendation to his Alma Mater:

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

— ZIGNAL VISUAL: The #NeverTrump movement is beginning to make its mark on social media. Over the weekend #NeverTrump was among the most popular hashtags used for all GOP contenders. It was the 3rd most popular hashtag in all Kasich tweets, 5th for Rubio and 7th for Cruz, according to our analytics partners at Zignal Labs. Even in Tweets mentioning Trump himself, #NeverTrump was the 9th most popular hashtag. Here are the weekend’s most popular #NeverTrump Tweets:

According to Twitter, Sanders got a 55 percent share of the conversation about the Democratic debate to Clinton’s 45 percent. 

The most-Tweeted topics: 1. US economy; 2. Foreign affairs; 3. Guns; 4. Energy & the environment; 5. National security

The most-Tweeted moments: 1. Sanders jokes that he now hates to say the word “yuge.” 2. Sanders saying, “Excuse me, I’m talking.” 3. Sanders and Clinton addressing how their faith guides them.

Watch the “yuge” moment:

Sanders: ‘I hate to say the word huge’

More colorful scenes from Flint:

After Clinton called on him to resign or be recalled, joining Sanders, Michigan’s Republican governor responded with a stream of tweets:

Bernie got dinged for having a press conference to accept the endorsement of former Sen. Don Riegle:

Here are a few classic photos of Nancy Reagan that were shared on social media Sunday:

Tributes poured in from Katie Couric, Chuck Schumer and a slew of Republican lawmakers:

Peter Roskam offered this remembrance:

Michael Beschloss shared this photo of a love letter from Ronald Reagan to Nancy:

Anderson Cooper snapped a selfie before the debate:

Lots of observers contrasted the debate with the GOP’s. This is the head of Hillary’s super PAC:

This photo is going viral with Rubio’s chances dimming:

Pundits speculated about the meaning of his Puerto Rico win:

Arnold Schwarzenegger backed John Kasich on Snapchat:

Here are a few photos from their event:

And some video footage:

Schwarzenegger stumps for Kasich

George Takei had a spot-on spoof of Trump:

What would result from a brokered convention? Rob Lowe has an idea:

HOT ON THE LEFT

Owning an assault weapon is no longer a fundamental right — for now. From the Huffington Post: “A federal appeals court on Friday reversed course and agreed to reconsider a February ruling on Maryland’s stringent gun control law, which includes a ban on so-called assault weapons. A three-judge panel last month sided with gun-rights advocates when, for the first time, it determined that owning semiautomatic firearms such as AR-15s and AK-47s amounts to a ‘fundamental right’ deserving the highest level of protection under the Constitution.”

HOT ON THE RIGHT

If Trump is so awful, why are his kids so awesome? From Townhall: “Trump’s kids are very impressive. Which is really weird because, if you listen to and believe Donald’s detractors, like Mitt, one would think he would’ve spawned kids that would make Miley Cyrus look like a penitent nun. Y’all, help me here. I’m confused. If Trump’s such an evil SOB, of shoddy character, with no moral compass, who doesn’t really love America, then why are his kids so sharp, solid, smart and a great addition to this grand American experiment in self-governance?”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Lots of candidates are in Michigan ahead of tomorrow’s primary. Here is the rundown:

  • Clinton: Grand Rapids
  • Sanders: Kalamazoo, Dearborn, Ann Arbor
  • Trump: Concord, N.C.; Madison, Miss.
  • Rubio: Tampa, Sanford, Fla.
  • Kasich: Monroe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Troy, Mich.

At the White House: President Obama meets with financial regulators.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 3 p.m. to resume work on an opioid addiction bill. The House meets at 4 p.m.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

Romney declined to be Shermanesque when asked if he would allow his name to be put in nomination at a contested Republican convention. “I don’t think anyone in our party should say, ‘Oh no, even if the people in the party wanted me to be the president, I would say no to it,'” Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “No one’s going to say that.” (Callum Borchers)

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

— Get ready for a beautiful–and seasonally appropriate–week of spring temps ahead!The Capital Weather Gang: “There’s a slight chill in the air when you get up and head out, but by midday the air will look, smell and feel like spring. The sun shines in abundance and the mercury sets its sights on 60 degrees.”

— Metro is expanding and enhancing cell service underground, and Red line passengers will be the first to receive the new perk. Officials said a newly-unveiled plan will be complete within five years and eventually cover all 100-plus miles of tunnel. (Paul Duggan)

— Two Stafford County volunteer firefighters were suspended after they drove an 18-month-old to the hospital in a fire truck. Rules prohibit using a fire truck to transport someone in medical need. But one of the men says it was a “no-brainer” to try to get help for a girl who had turned blue and was seizing. (Shawn Boburg)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Hillary likened Bill to the prodigal son, in a rare allusion to her husband’s extra-marital affairs, while speaking to a Michigan church. “During difficult times in my life,” she said, “what has always guided me and supported me has been my faith.” (Anne Gearan’s story) Video:

Clinton discusses Biblical scripture that guided her during ‘difficult times’

Sanders denied that he’s keeping his Jewish faith in the background. “My father’s family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust,” he said.

Sanders shares meaning of his Jewish faith

Trump released a new ad saying he is “very pro-Israel” and that he would “love” to see a deal made between the Israelis and the Palestinians:

Donald Trump: ‘I am very pro Israel’ | Campaign 2016

Glenn Beck compared Trump to Adolf Hitler:

Glenn Beck says Trump is like Hitler in 1929

Trump repeated his call to legalize waterboarding:

Trump reiterates call for legalization of waterboarding

Finally, a remembrance of Mrs. Reagan:

Remembering Nancy Reagan

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