Just when you thought the 2016 race couldn’t get any worse, a back-and-forth over their wives led Ted Cruz and Donald Trump into a war of words. It escalated after a National Enquirer story alleged—without evidence and in the face of sharp denials—infidelities by Cruz, prompting the candidate to blame his rival and his “henchmen” for the smear. The personal fighting raises doubts about the GOP ever finding a way to set aside differences to unify in the fall, as Democrats gleefully watch the carnage.
Trump is watching his opponents use the intricacies of the delegate selection process to prepare to take hundreds of his delegates at a potential contested convention thanks to Trump’s shoe-string campaign operation—and he’s not happy about it. Calling it “rotten” and threatening to sue, Trump is hoping to bully the GOP into handing him the nomination should he enter the convention with just a plurality of delegates. Trump, meanwhile, began offering the clearest look at his foreign policy this weekend, calling for the U.S. to use economic tools for foreign policy gains.
Hillary Clinton will deliver a speech Monday calling on Republicans to confirm Merrick Garland, President Obama‘s nominee to the Supreme Court. According to a Clinton aide she will call out individual Republican members of the Senate by name, as well as raise the prospect that Trump could make appointments to the high court if he wins the White House. But Clinton has been silent about whether she would nominate Garland—viewed as a moderate—or whether she would prefer a more liberal justice.
Bernie Sanders won three contests over the weekend and narrowed Clinton’s substantial delegate lead, but he didn’t win big enough to suggest he has a clear path to the nomination. His campaign, acknowledging its very long-shot status, has taken to arguing that super-delegates—the Democratic Party insiders given automatic and unbound votes at the convention—may swing his way, despite Clinton possessing the overwhelming majority of those votes. Well-funded and on an ideological mission, Sanders isn’t getting out of the race anytime soon, keeping Clinton from fully unifying her party, but forcing her to organize in more states—which benefited Obama in 2008.
Trump’s weakness in suburbs can hurt him. Clinton email probe enters new phase. And Sanders and Clinton forget their manners.
Here are your must-reads:
Donald Trump’s Weakness in Big Suburbs Could Hurt Him in November
Republican front-runner has lost the primary in key counties of general-election battlegrounds [Wall Street Journal]
Ted Cruz Blames Donald Trump for ‘Garbage’ National Enquirer Story
The race gets personal—and nasty [TIME]
In Donald Trump’s Worldview, America Comes First, and Everybody Else Pays
Economic bargaining is Trump’s tool of choice [New York Times]
How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root
Convenience trumped security [Washington Post]
Ted Cruz Names Friends, but Silence From G.O.P. Brass Deafens
They prefer him to Trump, but still don’t like him [New York Times]
Bernie Sanders’ Big Win in Western States Gives Him Clout
He still won’t win, but he can’t be ignored, TIME’s Sam Frizell writes
“It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big money people to fund her campaign.” — Bernie Sanders on CNN State of the Union, criticizing Clinton for high-dollar fundraisers for the Democratic Party
“Well it tells you what a crooked system we have and what a rotten political system we have. And frankly, I’m so — I’m millions of votes more than — I have millions of votes more than “Lying Ted.” I have millions — millions of votes more. I have many, many delegates more. I’ve won areas. And he’s trying to steal things because that’s the way Ted works, OK. Uh, the system is a broken system. The Republican tabulation system is a broken system. It’s not fair.” — Donald Trump on ABC’s This Week complaining about Ted Cruz winning the control of the Louisiana delegation, despite Trump earning more votes
BONUS: “Let me be clear: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.” — Ted Cruz responding to the National Enquirer article
Bits and Bites
Clinton Email Probe Enters New Phase as FBI Interviews Loom [Los Angeles Times]
The World is Trump’s Oyster, But He Prefers Filet-O-Fish [Washington Post]
Transcript: Donald Trump Expounds on His Foreign Policy Views [New York Times]
Sanders, Clinton Forget Their Manners [Politico]