Marco Rubio shakes hands in Puerto Rico on Saturday. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

THE BIG IDEA:

Ted Cruz won decisive victories in Kansas and Maine on what’s being called “Super Saturday,” and he came within three and four points of scoring upsets over Donald Trump in both Louisiana and Kentucky.

Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, easily won caucuses in the overwhelmingly white states of Kansas (68-32) and Nebraska (56-44) while Hillary Clinton romped in Louisiana (71-23), where just as many delegates were at stake, thanks to overwhelming support among African Americans.

-- The biggest story line out of last night, though, is calamity for Marco Rubio. It was his worst showing since the New Hampshire primary – and arguably more damaging. The floor appears to be falling out from underneath the Florida senator: Not only is his win-loss record now 1-18, but he took a 17 percent in Kansas despite canceling events elsewhere to campaign in the state and receiving endorsements from Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Bob Dole. He got 16 percent in Kentucky, 11 percent in Louisiana (with ex-Gov. Bobby Jindal’s support) and just 8 percent in Maine—where he finished fourth behind John Kasich.

Here’s a hard truth for the D.C. political class: There’s almost no appetite at the grassroots level for an establishment nominee this year, and Rubio is now undeniably the establishment candidate. There are perks that come from being the establishment’s guy – the most money, seasoned staff, etc. – but there’s also baggage. This year more than ever.

-- Rubio’s terrible numbers undercut his pitch that he is a bridge candidate who can unite the party. They have also generated a fresh round of calls for him to drop out:

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough calls it “a Saturday night massacre for Rubio”: “If the Florida senator wants to salvage his political career, it is time that his quixotic quest for the White House comes to an end,” he writes in his new column for The Post. “The senator still has time to salvage a political career damaged by his lackluster presidential campaign. But that won’t still be the case if Rubio hangs around this race long enough to be embarrassed by Trump in his home state of Florida. If that were to be the case, the once promising senator would be forced to live out his professional life as a Beltway lobbyist…”

Erick Erickson (formerly of RedState, now at The Resurgent): “For the good of his country, not just his party, it is time for Rubio to [get out] and unite with Ted Cruz. … Team Rubio argued aggressively [over the past week] that Cruz’s best states were now behind him and Rubio would start gaining steam. Tonight proves that this was another massive strategic miscalculation.”

National Review executive editor Rich Lowry doesn’t go quite that far, but he does describe what happened to Rubio as a “COLLAPSE”: “Something has clearly hurt him, whether the tone of his attacks on Trump, Trump’s constant belittling of him, his lackluster debate performance, or all of the above. Absent a surprise on Tuesday or a fantastic debate next week, Rubio is going to be limping into the political fight of his life in Florida a week from Tuesday.

-- Trump, for his part, said he wants a one-on-one race with Cruz and called on Rubio to drop out (which would, of course, allow him to win all the delegates from Florida…) “Rubio had a very, very bad night and personally I’d call for him to drop out of the race,” Trump said at another election night press conference in West Palm Beach. “I think it’s probably time. … As a party we should come together and stop this foolishness.”

More from conservative thought leaders:

The former Speaker:

The chief strategist for George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign:

One of the right's most influential talk radio hosts:

A senior political correspondent at National Review:

The elite media piled on:

From the dean of Nevada's press corps:

From a New York Times columnist:

From a Boston Globe columnist:

From the editor of NewYorker.com:

-- The latest iteration of the Rubio campaign’s spin: “Cruz has shown that he can win his home state and neighboring state, Oklahoma, and small rural caucuses, like Iowa and Alaska, and now Kansas. Unfortunately, there are only two states left that have caucuses, Utah and Hawaii. After that it is all primaries,” Rubio communications director Alex Conant said on Fox News last night. He added that they finished second over Cruz in the Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia primaries.

Reminder: The only state Rubio has won is also a low-turnout caucus state. Fewer people actually voted for Rubio in Minnesota than did in Iowa (He got 43,165 votes in the Hawkeye State to finish third and 41,126 votes in the Gopher State to finish first.)

In fairness: Rubio is almost certain to win Puerto Rico today.

-- Bottom line: Rubio has no credible rationale to stay in if he loses Florida on March 15, but a win there is still very possible. He’s going all-in. The senator’s home state is a closed primary, which works to his advantage, and Trump critics are pouring millions into attack ads on TV. Half a million ballots have already been cast, which works to Trump’s advantage.

Bad news for Rubio came Friday when Cruz declared that he will compete in Florida and open 10 field offices, which could siphon away anti-Trump votes. (Despite his spin to the contrary, that is probably the point…Cruz wants a two-man race.) But there is some evidence that the Cruz play in Florida is a fake out:

-- The Rubio theory of the case in the Sunshine State: He’ll try to run up his margins in Florida, specifically among Cubans. “He'll also pay close attention to military-heavy communities around Pensacola in the Panhandle and to the ‘I-4 corridor’ that stretches from Tampa east to Orlando and on to Daytona Beach along Interstate 4,” Ed O’Keefe reports. “The region is packed with swing voters, including a growing percentage of Puerto Rican immigrants, many of whom are registered Republicans but whose political allegiance otherwise remains up for grabs.”

NEW EVIDENCE THAT TRUMP CAN BE STOPPED

Trump kisses a woman on the cheek as he greets the crowd after speaking in Orlando on Saturday. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Speaking Friday night during a rally in New Orleans, Trump boasted that he was up 21 points in Louisiana. He won by just 3 points (41-38).

Trump canceled a scheduled appearance yesterday morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference so that he could make a last-minute stop in Wichita. He even spoke at a caucus. He lost by 25 points (48-23)!

In every contest, The Donald has fared worst among voters who made up their minds in the final week than those who did before. But that dynamic was more stark in Louisiana than anywhere before. The networks called the Pelican State for him soon after polls closed on the strength of the early vote, BUT the margin got tighter and tighter as votes that were cast on Saturday came in.

-- These numbers suggest that Thursday night’s debate on Fox News might have actually helped rip some of the Teflon off Trump.

From a veteran of the Bush and Reagan White Houses:

From the Washington Free Beacon:

From another conservative radio host:

-- There are also signs on the ground that some traditionalist evangelicals, after flirting with Trump in South Carolina, are sobering up and going to where you’d expect them to be:

The Bangor Daily News attributes Cruz’s “surprising win” in Maine to “backlash from evangelicals against Trump”: “The Cruz win came in what the party billed as record turnout — just under 18,700 people voted this year compared to less than 5,600 in 2012… Trump has been greeted with suspicion by the Christian Civic League of Maine, which signed onto an open letter to the candidate — who identified as pro-choice before reversing that stance — pressing him for specific policy views. ‘I think people are saying, ‘I don’t want to be identified with that,’’ executive director Carroll Conley said.”

The Wichita Eagle, likewise, credits Cruz’s win in Kansas to social conservatives: “The Texas senator defied polling that had shown him in second place, and his triumph came after he sought to persuade voters in forceful terms that he is the only candidate able to stop Trump from winning the nomination. The win by Cruz, who had heavily courted evangelical voters, showed Kansas Republicans’ previous preference for evangelical-leaning presidential candidates had prevailed.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal cites Cruz’s strength among tea partiers for the near win in Kentucky: “Trump was strongest in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District in south and Eastern Kentucky [represented by Rep. Ed Rogers], while Cruz was able to string together small blocks in the Purchase region, the Bluegrass and in Northern Kentucky, where the tea party is strongest.”

Stat du jour: Trump has won just 34.4 percent (3.6 million) of all the votes cast so far, according to a tabulation by The Green Papers. Cruz has 28.6 percent (3 million) and Rubio has 21 percent (2.2 million.)

-- Might the Midwest emerge as Ground Zero for The Trump Resistance?

The Donald has now lost Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota.

While Trump is favored to win Michigan this Tuesday, Kasich edged him out in a poll published yesterday by the American Research Group. It’s a crazy outlier, and Trump has led in every other poll, but this is a crazy year.

Illinois, which votes on March 15, could be friendly turf for Rubio and the anti-Trump forces are starting to spend heavily there. It’s easy to envision Republicans in the Chicago suburbs rejecting his brash brand of politics.

And Kasich seems like he could be the favorite son in his home state of Ohio on the same day in a winner-take-all primary.

Cruz speaks last night at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. (Shawn Gust/Coeur D'Alene Press via AP)

FOR NOW, CRUZ HAS MOMENTUM

It’s easier than ever to see the Republican contest becoming a two-way race between Trump and Cruz, with Trump playing the part of the populist and Cruz representing unalloyed conservatism.

Cruz clearly benefits from Ben Carson finally dropping out.

In addition to his electoral victories, Cruz won a significant moral victory at CPAC in National Harbor yesterday. In the annual straw poll of attendees, he got 40 percent to 30 percent for Rubio and 15 percent for Trump. (See the full results here.)

“The scream you hear, the howl that comes from Washington, D.C., is utter terror at what we the people are doing together,” Cruz said in Idaho last night after the returns had come in.

Though Cruz’s victories have largely come in caucus states, they are testaments to the value of his organization. Such organization could come in handy during a contested Republican convention in Cleveland.

“His impressive win in Maine pointed toward a broader level of support [since] Cruz was seen an ideologically and geographically poor fit for the historically moderate Maine Republican Party,” says the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein.

After last night, some party insiders might give him a second look and reconsider whether he’d be worse than Trump. “Cruz may or may not win general election if nominated, but his nomination wouldn't set off a party-wide crisis the way Trump's would,” the Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik.

But, but, but: Don’t read too much Cruz’s victories. They were caucus states that didn’t allow non-Republicans to vote. He’ll likely get crushed in some of the upcoming contests with lots of delegates. Michigan could go poorly. “Cruz still needs to start winning primaries that aren't his home state of Texas or don't border it, but Saturday was, all things considered, a good night for his narrative,” writes The Fix’s Aaron Blake.

Rubio campaigns with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in Overland Park on Friday. (Reuters/Dave Kaup)

GUBERNATORIAL ENDORSEMENTS DON’T MATTER:

Governors just don’t have the juice they once did.

In Kansas, Rubio won the endorsements of Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Bob Dole. As WUSA9 reporter Garrett Haake quipped, “The only big name backer Rubio didn't have in Kansas was Coach Bill Self.” And he still got blown out.

In Louisiana, Rubio had the support of former Gov. Bobby Jindal. The senator previously lost Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee despite getting endorsed by the sitting governor in each of those places.

Kasich got the endorsement of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and finished last in the primary there. 

Even Trump could not win Maine despite getting the support of Gov. Paul LePage or Alaska despite having former Gov. Sarah Palin in his corner.

Ironically, Cruz is the only candidate to win a state with the endorsement of its governor. But it was Texas, where Greg Abbott (Cruz’s old boss) came out for him in the final days. Abbott is the only current governor backing Cruz.

-- Rand Paul, now focused on getting reelected to the Senate, would not say who he voted for in the Kentucky caucus, David Weigel reports from Bowling Green. “If I say who I’m voting for, it’s an endorsement,” he said. “Even my wife – I’m not telling her!” His name appeared on the ballot, and Paul joked with reporters about people voting for him. “It’s nice,” said Paul. “You know, maybe we’ll unsuspend!” “No, no, no!” said Paul’s state press secretary, Kelsey Cooper. “Please don’t tweet that.” “Well, if we win,” Paul said, still sort of joking. “It is bittersweet. We worked pretty hard in the election. It’s kind of neat to be on the ballot, but we wish we were still active. I’m still saying the same things, just in a different race.”

Sanders speaks at a reception for the Michigan Democratic Party at the MGM Grand Hotel in Detroit last night. (Tannen Maury/EPA)

The Democratic results from Saturday underscore Sanders’s big problem: While Sanders won another two states, his deficit in the delegate count really did not change and the fact he could not do well in Louisiana underscores his continuing inability to make inroads with communities of color.

A Detroit Free Press poll shows Clinton leading Sanders in Michigan by 24 points (56-31) ahead of Tuesday’s primary, thanks again in large part to the large African American population.

Take it to the bank: Our Philip Bump predicts Hillary will win states that are more than 10 percent African American and Bernie will win states that are under 2.5 percent African American. Check out the correlation in this chart:

-- College kids keep coming out for Bernie.

The Lincoln Journal-Star notes that Sanders defeated Clinton by a nearly two-to-one margin (3,210-1,969) in Lancaster County: “Those numbers were bolstered by a large turnout of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students.”

Notably, Sanders spent about twice as much on ads as Clinton in Nebraska, though she campaigned in the state with Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett.

The Topeka Capital-Journal attributes Sanders’ win in Kansas’ “crowded and chaotic caucus” to “a wave of younger and newer voters.” He’ll get 23 delegates; she’ll get 10 from the state.

The Baton Rouge Advocate explains why Clinton’s big victory in Louisiana was so necessary: “If not for Louisiana, pundits might be talking about whether the tide is shifting. … Louisiana was always expected to be Clinton Country.”

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@b_deppy) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck)

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

How do you satirize satire? Following a week of political events almost too outlandish to be true, the cast of Saturday Night Live tried their very best.

-- Jake Tapper (played by Beck Bennett) hosted SNL's version of CNN's coverage in the cold open, while Darrell Hammond played Trump with “sad little potato” Chris Christie (Bobby Moynihan), standing behind him. "Yes sir, thank you sir, please sir, may I have another?" Christie said. The scene panned to a manically enthused Clinton (Kate McKinnon), relishing her good fortunes, 'So, to all of the voters who have thought for years, "I hate Hillary, I could never vote for her," to you I say, ‘Welcome!,’” and mocking the GOP candidates: “I’ve got clowns to the left of me, jokers to my right … here you are stuck in the middle with me!” SNL alum Jason Sudeikis even returned to the show to appear as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, making a speech blasting Trump as a phony and a fraud. Watch the cold open here.

-- SNL went after The Donald – big time: A fake campaign ad, “Racists for Donald Trump,” showed average Americans in bucolic American scenes, revealed to be members of racist groups like the KKK. “He says exactly what I’m thinking!” exclaimed a comedian, before lifting a KKK hood. Watch it here.

-- And in “Weekend Update,” comedians Colin Jost and Michael Che poked fun at the end of Carson’s campaign. “With Carson dropping out, it’s not a good week for guys who may have stabbed people,” they quipped. Catch the full Weekend Update here.

John Kasich campaigns in Traverse City, Mich., yesterday. Here he is with Ann Herndon of South Boardman, Michigan, whose fiancee is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and is having problems with benefits and support. (AP Photo/John L. Russell)

-- Kasich fired his rapid response/deputy digital director after a domestic violence charge surfaced: “Blake Waggoner went to work for the campaign in November. That same month, officers from the D.C. police department arrested Waggoner after receiving a report of a woman ‘screaming repeatedly 'get off me.’ The woman told police Waggoner choked her and punched her in the back. Waggoner was charged with simple assault domestic violence, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. He pleaded not guilty the next day, according to court records … The Kasich campaign found out about Waggoner's arrest on Saturday afternoon, when an Enquirer reporter called seeking comment, and Waggoner was fired within hours. Campaign manager Beth Hansen said they were unaware of the incident, and called the behavior ‘abhorrent … completely unacceptable.’” (Cincinnati Enquirer)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The U.N.’s human rights chief warned “lives could be in danger” and “a Pandora’s Box” could be opened if the FBI succeeds in forcing Apple to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. (Mark Berman)
  2. The Supreme Court blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that threatened to close all but one of the state’s abortion clinics. The court did not give a reason for its order, but the action was seen as a positive sign by abortion rights supporters as they await ruling in the Texas case. (Robert Barnes)
  3. Jim Webb said he would not vote for Clinton but “has not ruled out” voting for Trump. (David Weigel)
  4. Salt Lake City police sparked a local outcry after refusing to release the tape of officers encountering Abdi Mohamed, a 17-year-old Somali refugee who was shot by police. Authorities say it will not be released until after the investigation concludes. (Lindsay Whitehurst)
  5. An advanced U.S. Army reconnaissance aircraft crash-landed in a field outside of Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. No passengers were injured in the crash, and the aircraft has been secured by U.S.-Kurdish forces. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
  6. “Girls” creator and actress Lena Dunham is undergoing surgery after an ovarian cyst rupture. (AP)
  7. California Assemblyman Evan Low (D) has proposed a bill to permanently ban state-funded travel to states that have been deemed “anti-gay.” (Amber Phillips)
  8. Appearing on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it would be nice if Americans “paid a little more attention to the world.” (Ishaan Tharoor)

Rupert Murdoch and former super model Jerry Hall leave St. Brides Church in London after their wedding yesterday:

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

-- A new Washington Post analysis reveals that Hillary wrote 104 emails on her private server that the government now says are “classified.” The finding, by Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, is the first accounting of the front-runner’s personal role in placing information now considered sensitive into insecure email during her State Department tenure. “Clinton’s authorship of classified emails could complicate her efforts to argue that she never put government secrets at risk. The analysis also showed that the practice of using non-secure email systems to send sensitive information was widespread at the department and elsewhere in government. Clinton’s publicly released correspondence includes classified emails written by about 300 other people inside and outside the government, the analysis by The Post found, including longtime diplomats, top administration officials and foreigners with no security clearance. The analysis raises difficult questions about how the government treats sensitive information -- suggesting that either material is being overclassified, or that classified material is being handled improperly with regularity by government officials at all levels — or some combination of the two.”

-- Clinton will participate in Fox’s Town Hall this week with Sanders. She had previously declined the invitation from the cable channel due to a “scheduling conflict.” (Anne Gearan and Matea Gold)

-- Sanders’ tax plan would raise $15.3 trillion in revenue over a decade. He’d need it to fund spending for initiatives like universal health care and free college tuition. His proposal increases taxes along all income brackets, as well as raising tax rates for investment income. (Kelsey Snell)

-- “Sanders keeps raising millions — and spending them, a potential problem for Clinton,” by Anne Gearan and Matea Gold: “Sanders’s path to the nomination may be narrowing, but his record fundraising shows no sign of slowing down. His success at attracting political money, combined with his appeal to young voters, means he will keep raising and spending millions— forcing Clinton to spend, too, and allowing him to delay what is seen as Clinton’s inevitable pivot to the general election. The lasting power of the Vermont senator has triggered concern among some Clinton allies that it will weaken her — not only because she must spend more, but also because he is criticizing her in ways that could dampen enthusiasm for her in the fall. It is that sense of outsider grievance that most threatens Clinton and is forcing her to spend money and political capital, even in states where she holds a comfortable lead. ‘If he stays in, she’s forced to spend cash on the primary that she could use in the general,’ said one Clinton backer.”

-- “Battered by drop in oil prices and Jindal’s fiscal policies, Louisiana falls into budget crisis,” by Chico Harlan: “Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. Without sharp, painful tax increases, the government will cease to offer vital services. And the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), [says] the worst is yet to come … Many economic analysts say a structural budget deficit emerged and grew under former governor Bobby Jindal, who reduced state revenue by offering tax breaks to the middle class and wealthy, and created new subsidies that didn’t deliver growth. For Jindal’s supporters, [he] was a creative problem solver that helped the state endure without crisis through his term. But in the eyes of Jindal’s opponents, the governor was resisting a more sustainable option — tax increases — that would have proven unpopular nationally among Republicans, whom Jindal was courting in a presidential bid. Edwards gave the state’s lawmakers three weeks to figure out a solution, a period that expires March 9 with no clear answer in reach.”

-- “Probable cause: Pursuing drugs and guns, D.C. police sometimes raid wrong homes – terrifying the innocent,” by John Sullivan, Derek Hawkins, and Pietro Lombardi: “Sallie Taylor was sitting in her apartment watching ‘Bible Talk’ when her clock fell. She turned to see nine D.C. police officers smashing through her door and pointing a shotgun at her face. Taylor, a 63-year-old grandmother, has never even had a speeding ticket, but officers [ransacked] her house for drugs anyways … A Post review of 2,000 warrants served by D.C. police found 14 percent shared characteristics of the one executed at Taylor’s apartment. In every case, after arresting someone on the street for possession of drugs or a weapon, police invoked training and experience to justify searching a residence without observing criminal activity there. The language of warrants gave officers broad leeway to search for drugs and guns and to seize personal property. About 40 percent of the time, police left empty handed. And in a dozen instances officers acted on incorrect or outdated address information, subjecting people like Taylor to the fright of their lives.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Trump asked voters to swear to vote in the Florida primary by raising their right hands (here's the video footage; here's the story):

Critics seized on the visual:

Trump held a lookalike baby in Louisiana:

A Trump supporter dressed up as the border wall:

Reporters found themselves killing time before Trump's Saturday evening press conference:

This is from the ensuing press conference (Jill is an AP reporter):

NBC and Fox had coverage slip-ups:

Maggie Gyllenhaal called Trump's wins "terrifying":

Matt Bevin made a friend:

In Kentucky, Thomas Massie still voted for Rand Paul:

Michael Reagan endorsed John Kasich:

Bill Clinton coined the hashtag #ImWoofHer:

Check out his detail's cool Shinola watches:

Bowe Bergdahl's lawyers wants an interview with Trump:

Sean Spicer went from a kid's party to the white-tie Gridiron Dinner:

Reality is stranger than fiction in 2016:

THE DAILY TRUMP—

Another flip-flop --> “Trump wants to broaden laws governing torture,” by Jenna Johnson: “First, Trump advocated using torture to interrogate terrorists because ‘torture works.’ Then he said he would not order troops to break U.S. or international laws, which forbid torture and waterboarding. On Saturday, Trump advocated for broadening laws governing torture so interrogators can use controversial techniques legally. ‘As far as waterboarding is concerned, we have to stay within the laws,’ Trump said at a rally. ‘But you know what? We’re going to have these laws broadened.’ Last month, Trump [spoke about] torture, saying he wants to reinstate waterboarding and ‘so much worse’ because ‘torture works.’ This stance quickly raised concerns: If Trump became president, should troops follow his orders if they violate the law? Soon after, Trump released a statement saying that he would not order officers to disobey the law. ‘I will use every legal power to stop terrorists,’ said Trump. ‘But I will not order military to violate laws … I’ll seek their advice on such matters.’”

Widening the aperture – Dan Balz, our chief correspondent, looks deeply into the rise of Trump for Sunday’s paper: “Trump and so-called Trumpism represent an amalgam of long-festering economic, cultural and racial dissatisfaction among a swath of left-out Americans who do not fit easily into the ideological pigeonholes of red and blue, right and left. James W. Ceaser, a professor in the politics department at the University of Virginia, describes the eruption behind Trump as less an ‘ism’ and more ‘a mood’ that has been at a near-boil for some time. But why has it hit with such force in this election? ‘They have a leader who can articulate it,’ Ceaser said.”

A poll from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst finds that Republicans who are most fearful of demographic changes are most likely to support Trump. Political scientists Tatishe Nteta and Brian Schaffner surveyed registered Massachusetts voters the week before the primary: “Of the respondents who expressed an interest in voting in the Republican primary, just 6 percent saw the ascent of the minority population as a good thing, while 45 percent said it was a bad thing, and 49 percent said neither. Trump won the support of more than 60 percent of those who responded ‘bad thing’ to this question. The relationship between responses this question and Trump support persists even after accounting for a respondent’s ideological affiliation, educational experiences, age and gender. Individuals who think the increase in the minority population is a bad thing are 20 percentage points more likely to support Trump than those who responded ‘good thing’ or ‘neither.’”

The New York Times looks back at when Trump considered running for governor of New York: “In December 2013, after Donald Trump had met with a number of Republicans to discuss a possible run for governor of New York, he received a memo from a freshman assemblyman from upstate. The brief outlined challenges most first-time candidates face. But the document also had the particular interests of Mr. Trump in mind: It was titled ‘Springboards to the Presidency.’ An examination of contemporaneous documents and emails, as well as interviews with people who met with Mr. Trump during that period, found how he carefully weighed a run. His calculations at the time run contrary to the seat-of-the-pants image he projects on the campaign trail, and offer a look at a formative stage of his presidential ambitions. Mr. Trump later played down his interest about the [considered’ gubernatorial bid. ‘I never looked seriously at running for governor,’ he said, adding, ‘If I ran, I would have won.’”

CNN Money explains “how Trump broke Fox News' debate rules”: “Trump consulted with his campaign manager during the first commercial break at last Thursday’s debate, violating rules from Fox News stating that candidates would not be allowed to have contact with their campaigns. While that exchange was the clearest violation of debate rules to date, it followed a pattern: Trump has frequently consulted with his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski backstage even though it was expressly forbidden. Thursday’s debate marked a new extreme, however, as Lewandowski went directly onstage to meet with Trump. When Lewandowski was asked by Fox News staff to leave the stage, he refused to do so Unable to get him off the stage, Fox News representatives informed the other campaigns that, because Trump broke the rules, they too could consult with their candidates. To date, Fox News is the only network to try to remedy the situation by inviting other campaigns backstage.”

--Pro-Clinton super PACs have begun compiling a dossier of sexist statements and derogatory claims made by Trump that could be used against him in the general election. (Anne Gearan)

-- The American Future Fund launched a series of anti-Trump ads in Florida that feature veterans criticizing him. The dark money group also expanded its buy to highlight complaints about Trump University in Illinois. (Matea Gold) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/03/04/anti-trump-group-expands-attack-into-illinois/

--Psychologists and massage therapists have reported a spike in “Trump anxiety” – literally, anxiety that is caused by the political rise of Trump. “He has stirred people up,” said D.C. psychologist Alison Howard, who said the GOP frontrunner has become a legitimate source of stress for many patients. Hand-wringing over Trump’s rapid climb is palpable among Americans growing ever more anxious over the prospect of the billionaire reaching the White House. “We’ve been told our whole lives not to say bad things about people, not to be bullies,” said Howard. “We have these social mores and he breaks all of them.” Another psychologist, Paul Saks, said Trump’s refusal to immediately disavow former KKK leader David Duke has riled one of his patients who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. “This is really resonating with him, and troubling him,” Saks said. “Just that Trump has survived and that there’s such a cataclysmic shift in the Republican Party — an institution that’s part of our way of life even if you’re not a Republican — is going to disturb a lot of people.” (Paul Schwartzman)

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate in Flint, Mich. Here's the rest of the rundown:

  • Sanders: Detroit
  • Kasich: Columbus, Toledo, Ohio
  • Rubio: Idaho Falls, Boise, Idaho

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“Please stop voting for Trump,” comedian Louis C.K. urged his fans in an email newsletter. “It was funny for a little while. But this guy is Hitler – [who was also] just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.” (Niraj Chokshi)

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

-- Another *semi* snowy Sunday ahead BUT tomorrow should be nice. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Light snow and/or rain showers may linger through early morning, with a dusting possible mainly on grass, but by midday and into the afternoon we’re in for some gradual improvement. Partly sunny skies emerge during the afternoon as highs reach the upper 40s to near 50.”

-- The Pacers beat the Wizards 100-99.

-- The Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1.

-- Three Republican legislators in Virginia have pitched separate bills aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Compromise legislation will come before lawmakers for final votes in the last week of the legislative session, which begins Monday. (Jenna Portnoy)

-- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced the death of his older sister Mary Theresa Lazarus. Lazarus, 66, died of a rare degenerative brain disorder. “My heart is broken,” said Hogan in a Facebook post. “Mary Theresa Lazarus was the best big sister anyone could ever ask for.” (Faiz Siddiqui)

-- A teenager was cut on the back last night in an incident at the Navy Yard Metro station. Martin Weil: “The victim, a 16-year-old transgender female, said she was ‘play fighting’ about 9:20 p.m. with about 10 other people at the time, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. During the mock fight, she told authorities, someone she did not know intervened, possibly in the belief that the fight was real, Stessel said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of a lower-back laceration that was not life-threatening.”

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

A Republican man who says Obamacare saved his life thanked President Obama when he was in Wisconsin Friday. Watch here.

Who would win in an election: Frank Underwood or Donald Trump? People magazine asked bystanders on Hollywood Boulevard:

Trump promised flowers to a woman who fainted at a rally:   

HBO released a new trailer for "Confirmation," in which Kerry Washington plays Anita Hill:

Twins Jenny and Misty Kingma, who appear on Bravo's new show "Tour Group," debated Trump vs. Clinton:

A knife was allegedly found on O.J. Simpson's property, possibly raising new questions in the decades-old murder case. Here is the story: