Facing off in Miami Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated the merits of trade policies and ties to Wall Street in the most bitter debate of the cycle. Sanders, fresh off a narrow victory in Michigan, sought to build momentum for his struggling campaign and Clinton aimed to get her race back on trace. But as significant the divides between the two candidates were, what was most striking was how the group of two compare to the group of four Republicans debating Thursday night across town. Take immigration, as Sanders and Clinton debated how they would seek to halt deportations, while Republicans debate whether to forcibly remove those in the U.S. illegally, the divide between the two parties may be greater than ever—a contrast that will turn into a heated debate come the general election.
For weeks the effort to stop Donald Trump has hinged on depriving him of 1,237 convention delegates, with a Marco Rubio victory in Florida seen as a key stepping stone for making that happen. But Ted Cruz didn’t get the memo. As Rubio’s campaign flails, Cruz is greasing the exit ramp by campaigning in Florida and rolling out the endorsement of Carly Fiorina there, in an effort to force Rubio from the race. By doing so, he’s ceding the state’s 99 delegates to Trump, but Cruz believes by forcing an ‘I win, or you lose’ choice, he can defeat Trump in the end. Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is struggling with his own do-or-die moment in Ohio, trotting out the endorsement of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.
In a general election, Trump could make inroads with Democrats, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports, with Clinton’s troubles in Michigan portending potential November worries for her and her party. Meanwhile, Trump escalates his rhetoric against the Muslim world. And Rubio expresses regret for going into the gutter to attack Trump.
Here are your must-reads:
Why Would Democrats Vote for Trump? It’s All About Trade
TIME’s Philip Ellliott reports from Michigan
How Clinton Shadowboxed Trump at the Democratic Debate
Clinton kept her eye on the general, TIME’s Jay Newton-Small writes
Ted Cruz Fights Alongside Donald Trump in Florida to Sink Marco Rubio
Creating an ‘I win, or you lose’ choice for the GOP [TIME]
The Party of Reagan Is No More
GOP operative Peter Wehner reflects on the Reagan legacy and the current political climate [TIME]
Trump’s VIPs Get Front-Row Seats to His Political Spectacle
The outsiders’ candidate has a small—and very expensively dressed—cadre of insiders
Donald Trump: ‘I Think Islam Hates Us’
The GOP front-runner escalates his rhetoric against the Muslim world [CNN]
“In terms of things that have to do with personal stuff, yeah, at the end of the day it’s not something I’m entirely proud of. My kids were embarrassed by it, and if I had to do it again I wouldn’t.” — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio expressing regret to NBC for his personal attacks on Donald Trump, which backfired politically
“I do not have the same policy as the current administration does.” — Hillary Clinton in the Democratic debate on breaking with the Obama administration on deportations
Bits and Bites
Trump Protester Sucker-Punched at North Carolina Rally, Videos Show [Washington Post]
Rubio Super PAC Buys TV Time to Attack Kasich in Florida, Illinois [Washington Post]
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