Democrats and Republicans will face off in primaries in Michigan and Mississippi, while Republicans hold caucuses in Hawaii and a primary in Idaho as Hillary Clinton‘s march toward the nomination accelerates on the Democratic side, wile the GOP race becomes muddier than ever. The Democratic front-runner is showing classic signs of consolidating her party’s support, even as Bernie Sanders pledges to fight on. But the GOP leader, Donald Trump, is facing a hardening of opposition that—like most everything else this cycle—defies historical precedent. Between the eight-figures in anti-Trump television ad buys, steady, but improving, performance in primaries and caucuses, and a consolidated effort to derail him, Trump faces another key test Tuesday has he seeks to avert a contested convention. While Tuesday’s races don’t come with massive delegate prizes, they will test whether Trump’s appeal can broaden sufficiently, or whether his opponents can contain him.
Marco Rubio‘s campaign is facing its toughest challenges yet, after the message-focused campaign has suffered weeks of negative headlines amid botched expectations and a backfiring personal assault on Trump. Retrenched in his home state of Florida, Rubio is fighting for his political life when the state’s primary is held next week, but while he’s gaining on Trump, he may need to do better than simply beating Trump on Election Day because of the state’s early vote. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz‘s campaign is threatening to go into Florida to force Rubio from the race once and for all—but his efforts there could have the opposite effect, as Cruz often draws Trump voters.
Bill Clinton suggested that President Obama‘s rosy presentation of America was responsible for the current political climate. Trump is cracking down on protesters. And Michael Bloomberg realizes that a nation frustrated with elites didn’t want yet another one in public life.
Here are your must-reads:
Rubio’s Storybook Political Life Faces a Dark Chapter
A campaign focused on narrative that lost control of it [TIME]
Michael Bloomberg Will Not Enter Presidential Race
A serious look succumbs to the realization hat there was no path to victory [New York Times]
Why Motown Might Leave Candidates Singing the Blues
TIME’s Philip Elliott previews the day’s contests
How Donald Trump Flip-Flopped on 3 Major Issues
Torture, immigration, and refugees [TIME]
Trump Cracks Down on Protesters
Loyalty oaths, plainclothes guards and new media restrictions deployed at recent rallies [Politico]
“I hope to win the nomination. If I am so fortunate, I hope to work with [Sanders], because the issues he’s raised, the passion he has demonstrated, the people he has attracted are going to be very important in the general election. But equally following the election, to try to get things done. So I do consider him an ally.” — Hillary Clinton on Bernie Sanders in a town hall on Fox News Monday
“Why is it such a wacky election? Because millions and millions and millions and millions of people look at that pretty picture of America he painted and they cannot find themselves in it to save their lives. That explains everything.” — Bill Clinton at a campaign rally for his wife Monday
Bits and Bites
Mexican President: Trump Language Like That of Hitler [Associated Press]
Donald Trump Florida Ad Hits ‘Corrupt Marco Rubio’ [New York Times]