THE BIG IDEA:
-- The New Narrative, after five more states voted Tuesday:
Donald Trump won big and continues his march toward the Republican nomination. He won at least three, and possibly four, of Tuesday’s contests. (That’s not counting the Northern Marianas islands, where he won all the available delegates.) Realistically, the only way he can be stopped now is at the convention in Cleveland in July. Marco Rubio dropped out after losing his home state by 19 points. John Kasich survived by winning all 66 delegates from his home state, but it’s not clear he’ll be able to win any others. Ted Cruz over-performed and solidified his status as the main alternative to the polarizing front-runner. He’s neck-and-neck with Trump in Missouri, with some ballots still being counted. But Kasich’s victory means a three-way race for the next three months and will make it significantly harder for the Texas senator to consolidate the anti-Trump vote during the remaining contests, culminating with California on June 7.
Hillary Clinton got her mojo back after Michigan, and Bernie Sanders fell further behind in the delegate count despite very strong finishes in the Midwest. It’s looking like a possible sweep for HRC. At minimum, she carried four states: She won Florida by 31 points (64-33), North Carolina by 14 (55-41) and Ohio by 13 (56-43.) She won Illinois by around 30,000 votes of about 2 million cast. The AP has not called Missouri yet, but with 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton has 310,602 votes to Sanders’s 309,071 (That’s a difference of 0.3 percent.)
Hillary has now won every state in the South (minus Oklahoma, if that counts), thanks to her firewall of support from minority voters. She won 73 percent of the nonwhite vote in Florida, which accounted for 51 percent of the Democratic electorate (according to exit polls).
-- Sanders's advisers believe he has a path to win the three states that vote next Tuesday: Arizona, Idaho and Utah. About 7,000 people came to see him speak in Phoenix last night. But whatever momentum he had has been blunted. Cable news is Berned out: None of the channels even covered his speech live last night.
-- “A good night for Trump and a better night for Clinton” is how Dan Balz sums it up in his column: “Clinton holds a lead of nearly 300 pledged delegates, those determined by the results of the primaries and caucuses. That is a bigger lead in pledged delegates than then-Sen. Barack Obama had in his epic battle against Clinton eight years ago. Her lead among so-called super delegates — party leaders and elected officials — is even more overwhelming. Because Democrats award pledged delegates proportionally, Sanders needs not only a string of victories but also popular vote margins large enough to pick up delegates in bushel baskets, contest by contest. For those who have questioned the quality of Clinton’s campaign, there’s no doubting the effectiveness of her delegate-focused strategy.”
-- A contested Republican convention looks increasingly possible, if not probable:
Trump needs 54% of remaining delegates to win a majority. Cruz 69%, Kasich 88%. So not exactly easy for anyone...— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) March 16, 2016
The gray bars below are where the candidates would be if they win every delegate going forward, via Philip Bump:
Kasich’s only hope is a convention where Cruz and Trump both remain unacceptable to the party establishment. Otherwise, the delegate math is impossible for Kasich: “He would have to win more than 100 percent of the remaining available delegates to get to the 1,237 delegates he needs to be the party's nominee," Chris Cillizza points out. "Kasich now seems likely to hang around at the periphery of the Trump-Cruz race for the next few months.”
Kasich pledged to stay in through the convention. “We’re going to go all the way to Cleveland and secure the Republican nomination,” he said to cheers last night.
-- If not one comes in with a majority of the delegates, anything could happen at an open convention. If you watch cable, you’re hearing lots of talk about Rule 40, which says you need the most delegates from eight states to be entered into nomination. What that misses is the ability of a rules committee to literally change the rules of the game on the eve of the convention.
Breaking overnight: Paul Ryan has opened the door to being a consensus nominee: The speaker would not categorically rule out accepting his party’s nod during an interview with CNBC. The 2012 VP nominee played coy when given multiple chances to offer a Shermanesque denial of his interest. “I don’t see that happening,” he said. “I’m not running for president.” Note the use of the present tense. Pressed by John Harwood, Ryan added: "You know, I haven't given any thought to this stuff. People say, 'What about the contested convention?' I say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. We'll see. Who knows?" (Watch the interview here.)
Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, is warning listeners that the establishment could manipulate the process to install Jeb Bush.
Haley Barbour scoffs at the prospect of a brokered convention: “There is nobody to broker a convention,” the former RNC chairman told Katie Couric during Yahoo’s coverage of the returns. “There’s not some group of wise men in a back room. That simply doesn’t exist. And the public wouldn’t stand for it.” Explaining Trump’s appeal, he added: “A lot of people … just want to send Washington the bird and they think he is the most perfect giant middle finger that they can imagine.”
-- Trump’s victories will also lead to a fresh round of buzz on the right about fielding a third-party challenger. Over half of Republican voters in Ohio said they would either not vote for Trump in a general election or “probably not” vote for him, according to exit polls. (ABC)
-- Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe argues that Trump’s ceiling is 45 percent and acknowledged that Kasich staying in the race hurts Cruz by dividing the anti-Trump vote. Roe estimated that there is a "less than 50 percent chance" of a brokered convention. "We can win pre-convention,” Jeff told Katie Zezima. “If it does go to convention, we believe we’ll have a delegate lead going into the convention, but our path is won on the battlefield.”
“Cruz’s team also is confident that they can outperform Trump’s campaign in the combat that will take place at state party conventions over the coming weeks,” Balz notes. “It will be at those conventions that the delegates will be named. Cruz’s team will work every angle possible to fill slots with friendly delegates, even if many are pledged to Trump on the first ballot in Cleveland.”
-- Cruz is going to try ignoring Kasich as he woos Rubio supporters. The Texan didn’t mention the Ohioan in his speech last night, instead opting to describe the race as a head-to-head match-up between him and Trump. "To those who supported Marco, who worked so hard, we welcome you with open arms," Cruz said. (His party last night was in the ballroom of a slick new hotel in Houston's Galleria neighborhood. A cocktail at the cash bar cost $12.50.)
And there are signs Cruz can win over Rubio people:
Among GOPers in NC OH and MO, via combined exit data, Rubio voters would break 4-1 in favor of Cruz if the choice was just Trump v Cruz.— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) March 16, 2016
-- There was a flurry of fresh calls overnight for conservatives to unite behind Cruz in order to stop Trump:
From Cruz's Michigan chairman:
Every day Kasich stays in is an in-kind contribution to Trump. https://t.co/sxiGsxgZ1g— Saul Anuzis (@sanuzis) March 16, 2016
The CEO of Heritage Action, Michael Needham, penned a nuanced op-ed overnight about the need to unify but stops just short of endorsing Cruz: “Trump has shown his personal political gifts coupled with the energy in the populist lane have been sufficient to get him into the pole position of the Republican Primary,” Needham writes for RealClearPolitics. “The future of the country, however, is best served by a party that doesn’t just live in the populist lane, but seeks to channel populism towards conservative ends. This is what a successful Republican presidency will look like. We know it is the type of project Cruz would lead as nominee and we hope it is one Trump would lead also.” Explaining the need to unite the populist lane and the conservative lane, Needham says Cruz “in particular has led that effort during his time in the Senate.”
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Obama will announce his Supreme Court nominee at 11 a.m. in the Rose Garden. "Today, I will announce the person whom I believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court," the president said in an email to supporters. " As president, it is both my constitutional duty to nominate a justice and one of the most important decisions that I -- or any president -- will make." Per Juliet Eilperin: The president said his nominee will meet his "three principles" for selecting a justice. Any justice "should possess an independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law"; should "recognize the limits of the judiciary’s role and "a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook."
-- The president will likely name either Judge Sri Srinivasan or Judge Merrick Garland, Reuters reported overnight. Srinivasan, 49, and Garland, 63, serve together on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and are both seen as having unique attributes that could weigh heavily in Obama’s decision. (The Post reported last week that those were two of the three names on the short-list.)
- Srinivasan, who was born in India, would be the first Asian-American and Hindu on the high court. Srinivasan has served in the Justice Department under Democratic and Republican presidents and worked as a clerk to the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, [Republican] Sandra Day O'Connor.
- Garland is the chief judge of the Washington appeals court, where he has served since being appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1997, winning confirmation in a 76-23 vote. Prior to that, he served in Clinton’s Justice Department.
-- Conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch will question under oath seven current and former top State Department officials and Clinton aides about her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. “The group plans to depose Cheryl D. Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff; Huma Abedin, a top aide who served as Mills’s deputy; and Bryan Pagliano, who helped set up the private server. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted Judicial Watch’s request for legal discovery, but has directed the group to file a detailed plan about how it intends to proceed. Judicial Watch said it intended to seek answers about department officials’ creation, maintenance, support or awareness of Clinton’s email system; any instructions given to department workers about communicating by email with Clinton and Abedin; and any inquiries into or discussions about disclosing Clinton’s use of the system.” (Spencer S. Hsu)
-- Metro has closed its entire rail system for at least 24 hours to perform urgent safety inspections. The unprecedented, non-weather-related shutdown has left passengers and local lawmakers scrambling for alternative commutes.
- The Office of Personnel Management has offered federal government employees the option to telework to avoid likely-crippling traffic jams.
- D.C. Public Schools will excuse student tardiness and absences for the day, and at least five charter schools will be closed.
- Metrobus will operate on its regular schedule and plans to add additional buses that route to D.C. Public Schools. Additionally, parking will be free in all Metro-owned lots and garages for riders who choose to take the bus or carpool.
- Uber has capped its surge prices, Zipcar is discounting some of their cars, and Lyft is offering new passengers $20 off their first ride with the code METROHELP.
- Taxis are allowing ride sharing: Passengers may be picked up together at any of 57 taxi stands and dropped off at different locations.
- Capital Bikeshare will be free for 24 hours at all 370 locations
GET SMART FAST:
- In a groundbreaking case, prosecutors in Pennsylvania have charged three Franciscan friars for failing to remove a known child abuser from his religious post. The case is the first in the country that charges abuse-permitting supervisors as well as the abusers themselves. (Julie Zauzmer)
The Obama administration decided not to allow oil drilling off the shores of Virginia, delivering a blow to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Rachel Weiner)
North Korea sentenced a University of Virginia student to 15 years of hard labor in prison. Otto Warmbier, 21, was detained in January for attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel. (Anna Fifield)
Ferguson’s City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the Justice Department to overhaul its embattled police force and court system, reversing course after their previous attempts to change the deal led to a federal lawsuit. (Matt Zapotosky)
- The CDC issued its first national guidance on opioid drugs, urging doctors to consider other options before prescribing patients with the highly addictive narcotic painkillers. (Karoun Demirjian and Lenny Bernstein)
- The World Health Organization estimated that 12.6 million people die each year from unhealthy environments. A new report comes as world leaders try to illustrate the correlation between “theoretical issues” – such as climate change and pollution – and public health. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
- Texas investigators are searching for a teenage girl who they believe is in “grave or immediate danger” after her father was found dead on their rural property this weekend. (Sarah Larimer)
- A Texas police officer was removed from active duty after videos surfaced of him appearing to use pepper spray on passing motorcyclists. (Buzzfeed)
- Scientists believe they’ve discovered a pregnant Tyrannosaurus rex, a major paleontological breakthrough that would give them insight into the evolution of egg-laying in modern birds. (Elahe Izadi)
- An IHOP waiter who claimed to be the “modern day Robin Hood” was arrested after giving more than $3,000 in free beverages away to customers. (Lindsey Bever)
- A Norwegian mass murderer appeared in court to protest the cold coffee and lack of moisturizer he receives in prison. (Lindsey Bever)
- Archeologists believe they have discovered the remains of the Esmeralda, a 500-year-old vessel from Vasco da Gama's fleet. If their reports are confirmed, Esmeralda will be the oldest ship from the Age of Exploration ever to be excavated. (Sarah Kaplan)
In a push for greater diversity, The Academy of Motion Pictures appointed three new governors: African American director Reginald Hudlin, Latino writer Gregory Nava and Asian American animator Jennifer Yuh Nelson. (LA Times)
TRUMP CRACKS DOWN ON MEDIA, DEMANDS VOLUNTEERS SIGN AWAY THE RIGHT TO SUE HIM:
-- Trump's campaign now requires all volunteers to sign a contract that forbids them from criticizing Trump himself, his family members, any of his businesses or products or his campaign generally. The six-page contract theoretically lasts for the entirety of a volunteer's life, according to the Daily Dot.
-- This isn’t the only area where Trump’s team is insisting on totally unprecedented loyalty oaths: The campaign has informed aspiring volunteers that they must pass background checks and sign non-disclosure agreements before phone banking. (Buzzfeed)
Team Trump kept press far away at what had been misleadingly billed as a "press conference." (Our Jenna Johnson writes that Trump ignored shouted questions and avoided a few hundred reporters who were at his club.)
This is how far back the press is seated at Donald Trump's presser tonight. Clearly conducive to questions. pic.twitter.com/4PFTnkp8ZW— Jill Colvin (@colvinj) March 15, 2016
Reporters took note of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's prominent position next to Trump. "Corey," Trump said at one point, "Good job, Corey!"
The guy accused of manhandling a female reporter sure liked it when Trump said reporters are "disgusting people" pic.twitter.com/db4zblalCb— Mark Berman (@markberman) March 16, 2016
Trump is standing on stage with one person who allegedly attacked a journalist and another who publicly praised an assault on a protester.— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) March 16, 2016
-- Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger was denied entry to the event, despite having previously been granted credentials by the campaign. Upon arriving at Trump’s Mar-a-Largo club on Tuesday, Schreckinger was immediately escorted off of the property. Campaign officials have not given a reason for restricting the reporter, but it probably has something to do with the site publishing a critical story about Lewandowski yesterday.
-- Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell spoke with Trump by phone yesterday morning. The majority leader says he recommended he "strongly condemn" violence.
-- And leaders of two dozen liberal groups issued "a call to action" against the “racism, sexism, and misogyny” of Trump. Their letter calls his campaign “a five-alarm fire for our democracy.” (Niraj Chokshi)
The feud with Fox News is also back on: Trump castigated "crazy" Megyn Kelly.
Can't watch Crazy Megyn anymore. Talks about me at 43% but never mentions that there are four people in race. With two people, big & over!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2016
Watching other networks and local news. Really good night! Crazy @megynkelly is unwatchable.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2016
-- Trump did as well as he did yesterday despite independent groups having now spent $35.5 million on attack ads against him. (Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy)
Maybe this explains it:
THE IDES OF MARCO – What did Rubio in?
It is hard to overstate the humiliation Rubio suffered in Florida. Only 55 percent of Republican voters said the home state senator is honest! Six in 10 Republicans said they felt betrayed by Republican politicians; that group favored Trump over Rubio by 35 points (55-20). Trump won Florida whites 51-23 percent. (CNN)
Even voters who agree with Rubio on immigration didn’t reward him: While over half of Florida Republicans said illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be offered some form of legal status, their votes split for Rubio and Trump, almost equally, with Rubio garnering 37 percent and Trump 36 percent. (Among those favoring deportation of illegal immigrants, Trump won with 62 percent.)
Historical trivia: Rubio’s loss in Florida makes him just the third Republican presidential candidate since the Great Depression to lose his home state primary while winning at least one other state. The others? George H.W. Bush lost Texas in 1980 to Ronald Reagan (by 3.6 points) and Pat Robertson lost Virginia in 1988 to Bush by 40 points. (University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics)
This is the part of the story where the savior dies for the party's sins. pic.twitter.com/9m4fm0Oh46— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 15, 2016
-- The five best explanations of what went wrong from the autopsies:
1. The Post’s Robert Costa and Philip Rucker frame Rubio’s demise as “the last gasp of the Republican reboot”: “Years of carefully laid plans to repackage the Republican Party’s traditional ideas for a fast-changing country came crashing down when Rubio suspended his campaign. Rubio’s once-promising candidacy, as well as the conservative reform movement’s playbook, was spectacularly undone by Trump and his defiant politics of economic and ethnic grievance. The drift toward visceral populism became an all-consuming rush, leaving Rubio and others unable to adjust.”
Rubio failed to rise to the moment: “Rubio had been told that he’s the future of the party. But it’s not enough to say, ‘I have a great future, vote for me,’” said Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s chief strategist in 2012. “You have to do more than use your biography. You’ve got to connect your ideas in a real way to the economy … People ended up walking out of Rubio rallies misty-eyed and out of Trump rallies with blood in their eyes.”
Rubio's pollster, Whit Ayres, has spent years compiling data to prove that the Republican Party cannot afford to ignore or alienate minority voters, especially Hispanics, if it ever hopes to retake the White House. "After 2012, you thought we'd learned our lesson," he told Ed O’Keefe as he left Rubio’s concession speech at Florida International University and walked off into the night.
2. Rubio tried to be all things to all people, and the result is that most people came to see him as a shape-shifting phony. One minute he called himself the most conservative candidate in the race. The next minute he embraced the mantle as the favorite of the establishment. Ultimately the grassroots came to see him as part of the establishment he ran against in 2010, and the party is in no mood for an establishment standard bearer in 2016.
“When Rubio did try to communicate a conservative, non-establishment message, he parroted Cruz—and given that Cruz is the more reliable conservative, the Florida Senator’s message didn’t resonate,” Conservative Review’s D.C. McAllister explains. “Rubio is the knight in shining armor that never showed up to save the damsel in distress—the damsel being the Republican Party—and that’s all the difference in the world when you try to understand the impotency of the Rubio candidacy.”
3. Immigration was fatal.
Washington Examiner’s Byron York notes that Rubio’s team and allies are unfairly blaming the voters when it really all comes back to the Gang of Eight: “Certainly they didn't blame Rubio for his disastrous foray into comprehensive immigration reform. But the fact is, the Gang of Eight tarred nearly everything Rubio did afterward. First, much of the Republican base disapproved of the bill's basic provisions. Second, Rubio's tortured efforts to distance himself from his own work looked like a massive flip-flop. [And his] defense of the bill sometimes boiled down to accusing rival candidates of being as bad as he was, which wasn't much of a defense … The whole episode seemed to cast doubt on Rubio's judgment.”
There was embarrassing BLUSTER and unwarranted HUBRIS from Rubio and his inner-circle, especially after their third-place finish in Iowa. When reporters wrote negative stories after Rubio’s disastrous debate performance the Saturday before New Hampshire, top aides emailed to say Rubio was going to be the nominee and such coverage would be remembered down the road.
Media needs to chill. The FL Q poll #'s are way wrong. We are going to win Florida. Period. Take it to the bank.— Todd Harris (@dtoddharris) February 25, 2016
Marco Rubio (March 8): “I believe with all my heart that the winner of the Florida primary...will be the nominee of the Republican Party.”— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 15, 2016
“Rubio’s tight-knit group of mostly 40-something bros believed wholeheartedly that they didn’t need a specific early-state win,” Politico’s Eli Stokols and Shane Goldmacher. “They didn't need a particular political base. They didn’t need to talk process. They didn't need a ground game. They didn’t need to be the immediate front-runner. All they needed was Marco … Their confidence bordered on arrogance. Because when Rubio stumbled, as all candidates do, there was no infrastructure to catch him, no field program to lift his support, no base to fall back upon. All they had was Marco.”
5. Rubio foolishly went into the gutter with Trump, undercutting his brand and in his own words, embarrassing his own children.
But, but, but -- Don’t count out the 44-year-old: Ex-Rep. David Rivera was hanging out at the Versailles café, popular with Cubans, after Rubio's event wrapped up. “Just wait till 2020,” he told Ed O’Keefe. (Rubio could try to run for governor of Florida in 2018 and then seek the presidency again either in 2020 or 2024 -- though that will be harder with the Florida loss exposing a weakness with conservatives there.)
Counting out a very talented, very young politician like Marco Rubio is a mistake. See: Bill Clinton, for one.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) March 16, 2016
DRILLING DEEP INTO THE EXIT POLLS—
-- Kasich won OHIO mostly by uniting Trump’s opponents: Among the voters who said they couldn’t or probably couldn’t back Trump in a general election, Kasich outpaced Cruz by more than 2 to 1.
His home field advantage helped. For instance, Kasich won 31 percent of the vote among “very conservative” Republicans, a group in which he has collected an average of 5 percent in previous contests. Kasich also garnered 36 percent among Republicans without college degrees - trailing Trump by only 8 points with the businessman's core constituency - but that compares to an average of 7 percent for Kasich among non-college graduates in previous contests.
Kasich and Trump were both helped by Democrats who crossed into the Republican primary, some of them to stop the national front-runner and some to aid him. But Kasich ran strongest with those voters, winning them 56 to 41 percent for Trump.
“Kasich dominated Trump in the cities and suburbs of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati,” Dave Weigel notes. “Trump drew closer in areas where the economy had been slow to recover from the 2008 recession, and he defeated Kasich in the southeastern counties where manufacturing and coal jobs had been disappearing since the 1970s.” (Kasich also ran strong in the suburbs elsewhere: He did not really compete in North Carolina, he fared well around Charlotte. Kasich ran far ahead of Cruz in the greater Chicago counties of Cook, DuPage and Lake.)
A reality check/some perspective: A popular governor, who spent 18 years in the House and won reelection overwhelmingly in 2014, won just 46.8 percent in a Republican primary in his home state. Kasich spent five of the last six days campaigning there. And he had to bring in Mitt Romney to drag him across the finish line on the eve of the election. But a win is a win, and the governor beat Trump by 11 points. Yet in football terms, his record is now 1-32.
-- How did Clinton win Ohio? By replicating the same coalition she’s maintained throughout the prior 23 contests. The Democratic front-runner had support from 73 percent of Obama backers, 61 percent of women and 65 percent of non-white voters. (CNN)
Unlike Michigan, trade did not sink HRC in Ohio. Scott Clement: “Ohio Democrats expressed substantial anti-trade sentiment, with 53 percent saying trade with other countries takes away U.S. jobs according to preliminary exit poll results reported by CNN. But Clinton won this group by 7 points, a reversal from Sanders’s 15-point win in this group in Michigan. Clinton also fared 9 points better among Democrats who were more positive on trade, suggesting the Ohio electorate was broadly more favorable to her than Michigan’s.”
Key factor in Hillary's Ohio win: She fared better among white voters than she did in Michigan. Philip Bump: “In both Ohio and Michigan, about a fifth of the electorate was black, according to preliminary exit polls reported by CNN. In both states, Clinton won the black vote by about 40 points. But in Ohio, she ran about even with Sanders among white voters. In Michigan, she trailed him by 14 points with whites. In other words, the old calculus -- more black voters means a Clinton win -- was back in effect, because she wasn't hammered by whites.”
-- Trump’s win in NORTH CAROLINA owed to a familiar dynamic in Southern contests: he roughly matched Cruz’s support with evangelical Christians, and led by a wide margin among non-evangelicals. Cruz held 42 percent to Trump’s 41 percent among evangelicals, while Trump led 39-20 among non-evangelicals; Kasich got 20 percent of this group. (CNN)
But the contest was closer than South Carolina’s last month, as Cruz appeared to absorb much of Rubio’s support among college graduates. The Texas senator edged out Trump with college graduates by 37 to 33 percent. (Non-degree holders again broke for Trump by 13 points, 47-33.)
So much for saying John McCain wasn’t a war hero: Trump won veterans and active-duty members of the military by 20 points.
CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARIES—The “Trump Effect” is not showing up down ballot.
Once again, no GOP incumbents lost: Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) beat Greg Brannon by a 3-to-1 margin. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) easily defeated state Sen. Kyle McCarter, who had the backing of the Club for Growth.
The DSCC got the challengers it wanted: Rep. Tammy Duckworth easily beat two rivals to take on Sen. Mark Kirk, likely the most vulnerable GOP incumbent in 2016. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland beat back a primary challenger to face Sen. Rob Portman. And former state Rep. Deborah Ross won the nomination in North Carolina to challenge Burr.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
New York City's subway system trolled D.C. with this tweet, which was later deleted:
The new D.C. streetcar got plenty of flak for this one:
So... we're open tomorrow if anyone needs a ride.— DC Streetcar (@DCStreetcar) March 15, 2016
Even D.C. police got in on the joke (with a GIF of Al Bundy freaking out):
Metro will be closed for 29 hrs beginning at midnight. Prepare for a longer commute in and around D.C. pic.twitter.com/ms9rtskH3D— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) March 15, 2016
Here's what Uber had to say:
Uber addresses DC's freak out. pic.twitter.com/W7jp8RijyQ— Elena Schneider (@ec_schneider) March 16, 2016
A taste of the buzz among Washingtonians about the shutdown:
What's so serious that it requires 24hr shutdown of metro, but allows 8 more hours of operation first?— Nick Juliano (@nickjuliano) March 15, 2016
i made a political cartoon pic.twitter.com/YGBE8YjW6m— Kevin Glass (@KevinWGlass) March 15, 2016
Donald Trump for @wmata general manager. Make Metro Great Again.— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) March 15, 2016
Trump could win over DC's skeptical political class by bringing in thousands of gold plated Trump limos to shuffle people about tomorrow— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) March 15, 2016
Here's another idea:
Can you über a bus? Asking for DC friends tomorrow.— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) March 15, 2016
Overall, we agree with Elmo on Jimmy Fallon:
Now, back to politics. Clinton wished Ruth Bader Ginsburg a happy birthday:
As primary results came in, Chris Wallace found a moment to troll Karl Rove:
Chris Wallace just BURNED Karl Rove on Fox News: "Congratulations, Karl. You got Ohio right this time."— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) March 16, 2016
Clinton received some praise as attention turns toward the general election:
She looks so much more confident tonight.— Michael Tomasky (@mtomasky) March 16, 2016
And is it just me or is she improving a little on the stump? https://t.co/HjeoPaFctr— Will Rahn (@willrahn) March 16, 2016
Hillary has actually become a much stronger candidate, with an imperfect but clearer, more potent message.— Franklin Foer (@FranklinFoer) March 16, 2016
Though not everyone was impressed with her lines:
Clinton and her rhymes! "When he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong - it makes him wrong!" cc: @amychozick— Annie Linskey (@AnnieLinskey) March 16, 2016
Snoop Dogg has endorsed Hillary Clinton. He should help her come up with some new rhymes. pic.twitter.com/AkEvZeILdX— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) March 16, 2016
Several male pundits yet again suggested she should stop yelling and "smile":
Hillary having a big night in the primaries. So she's shouting angrily in her victory speech. Supporters loving it. What's she mad at?— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 16, 2016
Hillary shouting her speech. She has the floor; a more conversational tone might be better for connecting with folks at home— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) March 16, 2016
Why is @HillaryClinton screaming at me tonight?— Russ Schriefer (@rschriefer) March 16, 2016
.@HillaryClinton in a nutshell: Calling for love and kindness -- by SHOUTING!— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) March 16, 2016
Smile. You just had a big night. #PrimaryDay— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 16, 2016
Women journalists pointed to these as proof of the double standard that female candidates face:
Don’t hear people telling Bernie Sanders he should smile more…— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) March 16, 2016
it is really fun being a woman in politics https://t.co/zwCisCrzcT— Susan J. Demas (@sjdemas) March 16, 2016
Some remarkable stats:
Meanwhile, over on Sanders's jet:
Bern Force One yet again has two in-flight audio options as we jet from Chicago to Phoenix: ABBA and Willie Nelson. Naturally.— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) March 15, 2016
There was a big line for Sanders in Phoenix:
Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda was on Capitol Hill, where Orrin Hatch joked about his age:
Good to see my old friend Hamilton today. I was just a Jr. Senator when I voted to confirm him as Treasury Sec. -OGH pic.twitter.com/rORsCoD2pW— Senator Hatch Office (@SenOrrinHatch) March 15, 2016
And Chuck Schumer spoke about Puerto Rico:
Rob Portman filled out his March Madness bracket:
Here's Scott Walker's:
Mark Warner hung out with his predecessor, John Warner:
Jason Chaffetz ate his salad for 2016:
Is magic a "national treasure"? Some in Congress think so:
Meanwhile, in Congress pic.twitter.com/vBDhBR5TjR— daveweigel (@daveweigel) March 15, 2016
Over at the White House, a fountain is green for St. Patrick's Day:
Finally, a joke from Zach Braff on Instagram:
HOT ON THE LEFT
Jerry Brown: If Trump wins, we'll build a wall around California. From Talking Points Memo: "A Donald Trump presidency would apparently spur a lot of new construction. In response to Trump’s insistence that he would build a big, 'beautiful' wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said Monday that his state would have to build a wall around its own perimeter if Trump took the White House. 'We’d have to build a wall around California to defend ourselves from the rest of this country,' Brown said, according to the Sacramento Bee. 'By the way that is a joke. We don’t like walls, we like bridges.'"
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Apple says U.S. founders would be 'appalled' by DOJ order. From USA Today: "Apple Inc. charged Tuesday that a court order forcing the tech giant to assist the federal government in unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook was based on non-existent authority asserted by the Justice Department. 'According to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up,' Apple lawyers argued in new court documents. 'The Founders would be appalled.'"
On the campaign trail: It's a relatively quiet day on the trail. John Kasich will campaign in Villanova, Pa.
At the White House: President Obama holds a roundtable with Cuban-American leaders and speaks at a reception for Women's History Month. Vice President Biden meets with members of Congress about his anti-cancer project and speaks at a DSCC fundraiser.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate meets at 10:15 a.m. to resume work on the legislative vehicle for the GMO labeling bill.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Jeff Varner, in Mansfield, Ohio, voted for Trump because of his hardline position on immigration: “The immigrants have been a problem ever since Bobby Kennedy got shot by that Sirhan Sirhan." (The Wall Street Journal’s Reid Epstein)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The only thing consistent about March weather in the District? Inconsistency. From the Capital Weather Gang: “Skies should turn partly sunny after some possible morning fog and mist. But an approaching cold front may yield a quickly passing afternoon shower or thundershower (40 percent chance). Temperatures warm nicely, to the upper 60s to mid-70s, with light winds”
-- Washington’s cherry blossoms are also indecisive, apparently: The blossoms are now expected to begin their “peak bloom” period March 23 and 24, according to the National Park Service. The new dates are earlier than the first forecast issued by the park service, which called for peak bloom to occur between March 31 and April 3.
-- The Capitals clinched a playoff berth by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1.
-- Former Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, now with the White Sox, abruptly announced his retirement at the team’s spring training facility in Arizona. LaRoche, who said he is “confident” in his decision to step away from baseball, will give up $13 million in salary, part of a two-year, $25 million contract he signed last year as a free agent. (Des Bieler)
-- The 22-year-old who fired shots at a Prince George’s County police station in hopes of being shot to death was charged with second-degree murder after a plainclothes officer was fatally wounded amid the chaos. Michael Ford, who used a stolen gun, has a history of mental illness. His two brothers are also being held. (Lynh Bui and Arelis Hernández)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Some pointers from our video team on how to get to work today without Metro:
A new Clinton ad, running in Arizona ahead of the primary there next Tuesday, slams Trump and Joe Arpaio in Spanish:
Kasich got confetti'd by surprise at the end of his speech (click for video):
Here's Rubio suspending his campaign:
And a round-up of remarks from the Republican side:
John OIiver went on Stephen Colbert's show to mock Trump:
A Nicaraguan woman told Trump at a town hall that she loves his blue eyes. He gave her a hug:
The National Press Club welcomed home Post reporter Jason Rezaian: