Super Tuesday offered few surprises as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton thundered along on the paths to their respective party’s nomination. Clinton opened up a 200-delegate lead over Bernie Sanders, even before her commanding lead among super-delegates is considered, essentially eliminating the threat of his candidacy to her nomination. But Sanders’ well-funded effort isn’t stopping anytime soon as he pledges to fight all the way to the convention, not necessarily for the nomination, but for influence over the Democratic Party’s platform and agenda.
Trump has opened up a narrower delegate lead over his many GOP rivals, who continue to compete for support across the party. But despite the arguments of candidates like Ted Cruz and John Kasich, most party strategists believe now that the wide field is the only way they can stop Trump from hitting the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination on the first ballot, with Marco Rubio playing well in Florida on March 15, Kasich in his home state of Ohio, and Cruz in the series of smaller primaries and caucuses until then. None of them has a clear path to hitting that threshold on their own, as the race shifts to provoking a contested convention to block the bombastic delegate leader.
The new reality comes as GOP efforts to engage Trump are kicked into high gear, as Our Principles PAC, a small group formed just two months ago, becomes one of the leading vehicles for taking on Trump. A donor call late Tuesday brought a significant cash infusion, with more likely to come, as veterans of the Jeb Bush campaign and others coalesce behind a frantic, two-week effort to halt Trump’s momentum before it’s too late—if it’s not too late already. The group is looking to gather “salacious” material on Trump in hopes of breaking into the media bloodstream.
Why the two Apple encryption cases are different. The Supreme Court weighs abortion. And Lindsey Graham changes his mind about Cruz.
Here are your must-reads:
How Donald Trump Made Tuesday Super Again
He won big, but didn’t shut out his rivals—yet [TIME]
Clinton Wins Big on Super Tuesday, Sanders Vows to Fight On
She takes a near-insurmountable delegate lead, TIME’s Sam Frizell write
Cruz’s Texas Supporters Worry He Can’t Beat Trump
He won Texas, but he has a long road ahead, TIME’s Jay Newton-Small reports
Sanders Campaign Will Travel On, but Path to Victory Is All but Blocked
Trouble for the Vermont senator [The Upshot]
How Political Science Helps Explain the Rise of Trump: Most Voters Aren’t Ideologues
For most voters, the issues aren’t of paramount importance [Washington Post]
Republican Group to Intensify Campaign Against Trump
Super PAC fundraises and staffs up for last-ditch effort [New York Times]
“Making America Great Again is going to be so much better than Make America Whole Again” — Donald Trump declaring victory on Super Tuesday by trying to Trump Hillary Clinton’s new slogan
“So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump’s path to the nomination remains more likely.” — Ted Cruz arguing for consolidation in the GOP field
Bits and Bites
Republican Super PACs Aired 6,000 Ads Against Trump Before Super Tuesday [Center for Public Integrity]
Obama Meets With GOP Leaders Over Supreme Court Nomination [Associated Press]