ON THE RECORD ....

“We’re finished with Rubio. We can’t do the Rubio thing anymore.” -- Roger Ailes to a Fox News host.

“I want Republican voters to pay close attention to what our party's most respected and knowledgeable leaders and national security experts are saying about Mr. Trump, and to think long and hard about who they want to be our next Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world.” -- Sen. John McCain 3/03/16

"What people are reacting to in Donald Trump is he's willing to pull a pin on the grenade and roll it into the tent and frag the entire Republican establishment," -- NBC's Tom Brokaw on the inexplainable appeal of Donald Trump. 3/01/16

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“An inspiration to every kid in America who worries that he’ll never be able to run for president because nobody likes him. He’s running. And look, I told Barack, if you really, really want to remake the Supreme Court, nominate Cruz. Before you know it, you’ll have eight vacancies.” -- Vice President Joe Biden's joke at the Gridiron Dinner 3/06/16

Should Trump become the nominee, more reasoned minds in the GOP might do well to abandon it altogether. The death of this party — of know-nothing ugliness and outright fascist rhetoric — might be a blessing, a cleansing of the palate before a resurrection of the party of limited government and individual liberty. -- Kathleen Parker 3/04/16

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“I don’t think anyone in our party should say, 'Oh no, even if the people in the party wanted me to be the president I would say no to it.' No one’s going to say that.” -- Mitt Romney not ruling out becoming the Republican Party’s nominee in a NBC Newsinterview.

“Taking advice on how to win from Mitt Romney is like taking ocean voyage lessons from the Titanic captain.” --John Nolte ‎@NolteNC

Even if Bernie won all undecided superdelegates plus same number Obama stole from Clinton in '08, he'd still need each state by 10% to win. Ryan Struyk ‏@ryanstruyk

Trump has shrewdly manipulated the news media and has proved a much more accurate reader of the electorate than we pundits. Yet I’ve never met a national politician so ill informed, so evasive, so bombastic and, frankly, so puerile." -- Nicholas Kristof. 3/02/16 http://nyti.ms/1LyutzW

"They don't know who the nominee is, they don't know anything about the person, but they already have in their mind they are going to beat this person like a piñata. It doesn't matter what their education is, what their experience is. They're going to beat him like a piñata. I think they've been listening to Donald Trump too much." -- Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) chastizing Senator Cornyn who said that President Obama's yet-to-be-named Supreme Court nominee would be like a "piñata."


IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. SNL: Racists For Trump Ad
2. The DAILY GRILL
3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
4. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: Who's to Blame for the Ku Klux Klan?
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems
6. SNL Cold Open: CNN Election Center
7. The Late Show w/Stephen Colbert
8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: 20/20 Foresight for Republicans
9. GOP War Against Voters (Cont.): Democratic Turnout Down More in Voter ID States
10. Brent's Letter to the President: "You Saved My Life" 
11. Late-night laughs: Super Tuesday and the GOP debate
12. More Latinos Seek Citizenship to Vote Against Trump 
13. Full Frontal w/Samantha Bee: R.I.P. GOP

OPINION

1. Brent Staples: Donald Trump and Reconstruction-Era Politics
2. Nicholas Kristof : Donald the Dangerous
3. Charles M. Blow: Demagogue for President
4. Doyle McManus: A divided GOP doesn't have a prayer 
5. LA Times Editorial Board: Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States
6. Paul Krugman: Clash of Republican Con Artists
7. Derek Thompson: How Donald Trump Can Beat Hillary Clinton
8. David Remnick: American Demagogue 
9. Peggy Noonan: The Republican Party Is Shattering
10. Leonard Pitts Jr.: Republicans have destroyed their party; will they take America with them?
11. Motocat: Why Do Some Hate Hillary Clinton So Much?
12. William Saletan: Obama Didn’t Create Trump - the GOP’s opposition to Obama did.
13. Maureen Dowd: Chickens, Home to Roost
14. Dana Milbank: Trump’s flirtation with fascism

FYI  

1. SNL: Racists For Trump Ad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg0pO9VG1J8

2. The DAILY GRILL

“Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.” — Mitt Romney 3/03/16.

VERSUS

“Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works to create jobs for the American people. He’s done it here in Nevada, he’s done it across the country… He’s one of the few people who stood up and said, you know what, China’s been cheating. They’ve taken jobs from Americans.” — Mitt Romney praising Donald Trump in 2012.

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Immunity deal shows grand jury "is hearing evidence" and Justice Department "has decided it's going to indict (Hillary)." -- Fox's Andrew Napolitano 3/03/16

VERSUS

Immunity deals are "common in investigations" and Republicans need to "step back" from making conclusions. --CNN's John King 3/03/16

3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

"Take It And Shove It": Conservative Pundits Pan Mitt Romney's Anti-Trump Speechhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/03/take-it-and-shove-it-conservative-pundits-pan-m/209002

CNN Says "Take A Breath" On Clinton Aide Immunity While Fox Cries Indictmenthttp://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/03/cnn-says-take-a-breath-on-clinton-aide-immunity/208999

Ingraham: Establishment Republicans Are "Reaping What They Sowed" For Supporting Bush And Rubiohttp://mediamatters.org/video/2016/03/03/ingraham-establishment-republicans-are-reaping/208990

Sean Hannity Calls Marco Rubio A "Pawn Of The Establishment" Trying To Take Down Trumphttp://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/02/sean-hannity-calls-marco-rubio-a-pawn-of-the-es/208981

Fox's Catherine Herridge Hypes Evidence-Free Claim That Hillary Clinton's Server Was Hackedhttp://mediamatters.org/video/2016/03/04/foxs-catherine-herridge-hypes-evidence-free-cla/209037

Laura Ingraham: Mexicans "Have Come Here To Murder And Rape Our People"http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/03/04/laura-ingraham-mexicans-have-come-here-to-murde/209025

Fact-Checkers Slam Trump's Latest "False" And "Literally Wrong" Claims About Trump U.http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/04/fact-checkers-slam-trumps-latest-false-and-lite/209041

At CPAC, Paul Ryan Hypes Right-Wing Media Myth That Anti-Poverty Programs Are "Trapping People" In Povertyhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/04/at-cpac-paul-ryan-hypes-right-wing-media-myth-t/209042

On Fox News, Mitt Romney Declares, "I'd Like To See An Open Convention" -- "That's How Politics Works. People Don't Need To Be Afraid of Real Politics" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/03/04/on-fox-news-mitt-romney-declares-id-like-to-see/209040

"Frankentrump": Media Explain How Trump Was The Manifestation Of The GOP's Obstructionism And Extremismhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/03/frankentrump-media-explain-how-trump-was-the-ma/208991

National Review Smears Possible SCOTUS Nominee Jane Kelly For Being A Lawyerhttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/03/07/national-review-smears-possible-scotus-nominee/209055

MSNBC's Scarborough Tells A Former Naval Intelligence Official Who Says Waterboarding Doesn't Work That He's Wrong http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/03/08/msnbcs-scarborough-tells-a-former-naval-intelli/209079

4. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: Who's to Blame for the Ku Klux Klan?

https://youtu.be/Yw47QpOK9gw

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Chris Christie stood right behind Trump at his victory speech last night and a lot of people noticed that Christie didn't look too happy about it. Christie's face is basically America's face. It's like: It's really happening?" –Jimmy Fallon

While speaking in Miami last night Hillary said, 'I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness.' Then she added, 'And I will crush anyone who won't let me do it.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"During her victory rally last night, one of the things Hillary said was that she wants to build a ladder of opportunity. Then people in Mexico said, 'Great, we'll use it to climb over the other guy's dumb wall.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"Last night, Marco Rubio won his first state with a victory in the Minnesota primary. It was such a big night, Rubio's parents let him stay up and watch the returns come in." –Conan O'Brien

"During his speech on Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders said, 'I am so proud to bring Vermont values all across this country.' Then Sanders said, 'Now who wants to go antiquing?'" –Conan O'Brien

"It was a critical Super Tuesday for the Republican Party. Donald Trump won seven states. Of course, the seven states that Donald Trump won were shock, denial, guilt, anger, bargaining, depression, and Alabama." –James Corden

"An analysis of Google shows that searches related to the phrase 'How can I move to Canada' spiked last night about 350 percent. Americans always threaten to move to Canada when a reality show host endorsed by the KKK becomes the Republican nominee." –James Corden

"The biggest story yesterday wasn't about Trump or Clinton victories. It was Chris Christie's face during Donald Trump's victory speech. He looks like he had amnesia for a week and just remembered who Donald Trump was." –James Corden

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"Chris Christie flew all the way to Florida to stand behind Donald Trump supporting him. Throughout the speech, he looks genuinely miserable. He looks like he saw the bottom of a supposedly bottomless pasta bowl at Olive Garden. He looks as though someone just told him butterscotch causes cancer." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Yesterday Americans in 13 states voted in Super Tuesday. Making today 'My God, what have we done?' Wednesday." –Stephen Colbert

"On the Democratic side, the race is between front-runner Hillary Clinton and the senator from the great state of your liberal friends' Facebook feed, Bernie Sanders. Bernie won Vermont, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado. But Secretary Clinton had a massive sweep of everything else. Low turnout meant a rough night for Sanders. Evidently, a lot of people who were feeling the Bern got cooled down by some Preparation H." –Stephen Colbert

6. SNL Cold Open: CNN Election Center

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1hEyiE2q-w

7. The Late Show w/Stephen Colbert

Here Mitt Comes To Save The Day: https://youtu.be/MZj1bQtRNdk

The 2016 Race Learns What's Below Rock Bottom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70iDoDAAfyQ

8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: 20/20 Foresight for Republicans

https://vimeo.com/157537480

9. GOP War Against Voters (Cont.): Democratic Turnout Down More in Voter ID States

Eight out of the 16 states that have held primaries or caucuses so far have implemented new voter ID or other restrictive voting laws since 2010. Democratic turnout has dropped 37 percent overall in those eight states, but just 13 percent in the states that didn’t enact new voter restrictions. To put it another way, Democratic voter turnout was 285 percent worse in states with new voter ID laws. 3/03/16 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/voter-id-laws-democratic-turnout_us_56d8c5bae4b0000de403f238

10. Brent's Letter to the President: "You Saved My Life"

"I did not vote for you. Either time. I have voted Republican for the entirety of my life. I proudly wore pins and planted banners displaying my Republican loyalty. I was very vocal in my opposition to you -- particularly the ACA. Before I briefly explain my story allow me to first say this: I am so very sorry. I was so very wrong.

"You saved my life. My President, you saved my life, and I am eternally grateful.

"I have a 'pre-existing condition' and so could never purchase health insurance. Only after the ACA came into being could I be covered. Put simply to not take up too much of your time if you are in fact taking the time to read this: I would not be alive without access to care I received due to your law. Thank you for serving me even when I didn't vote for you. Thank you for being my President." 3/03/16 Read more athttps://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/03/03/brents-letter-president-you-saved-my-life

11. Late-night laughs: Super Tuesday and the GOP debate

http://wapo.st/1p5e6Bk

12. More Latinos Seek Citizenship to Vote Against Trump

Over all, naturalization applications increased by 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year over the year before, and jumped 14 percent during the six months ending in January, according to federal figures. The pace is picking up by the week, advocates say, and they estimate applications could approach one million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years.

While naturalizations generally rise during presidential election years, Mr. Trump provided an extra boost this year. He began his campaign in June, describing Mexicans as drug-traffickers and rapists. His pledge to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it has been a regular applause line. He has vowed to create a deportation force to expel the estimated 11 million immigrants here illegally, evoking mass roundups of the 1950s. 3/07/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1QGbqki

13. Full Frontal w/Samantha Bee: R.I.P. GOP

https://youtu.be/Dkvp6Syvv9c

OPINION  

1. Brent Staples: Donald Trump and Reconstruction-Era Politics

Donald Trump’s flirtation with the Ku Klux Klan should come as no surprise. He has functioned for years as a rallying point for “birthers,” conspiracy theorists, extremists and racists who are apoplectic about the fact that the country elected a black man president. These groups have driven the Republican Party steadily rightward, helping to create a national discourse that now permits a presidential candidate to court racist support without paying a political price.

Every era of racial progress engenders a racist backlash. The one that is still unfolding in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidency bears a striking resemblance in tone to the reaction that swept the South after Reconstruction, the period after the Civil War when former slaves were granted constitutional rights and black Americans served in interracial governments that came to power in the former Confederacy.

This is the backdrop against which Donald Trump blew a kiss to the white supremacist movement during a television interview by refusing to disavowthe support of the white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Republican Party leaders in Congress wagged their fingers and delivered pro forma denunciations. What they need to understand is this: Racial hatred is a threat to the country and their party’s leading candidate is doing everything he can to profit from it. 3/03/16 Read more athttp://nyti.ms/1RJwtVC

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2. Nicholas Kristof: Donald the Dangerous

The damage to America’s image is already done, even if Trump is never elected. Simply as a blowhard who gains headlines around the world, he reinforces caricatures of the United States and tarnishes our global reputation. He turns America into an object of derision. He is America’s Ahmadinejad.

On Twitter, I suggested that Trump was pugnacious, pugilistic, preening and puerile, and asked for other P words to describe him. The result was a deluge: petulant, pandering, pathetic, peevish, prickly, pernicious, patronizing, Pantagruelian, prevaricating, phony, presumptuous, potty-mouthed, provocative, pompous, predatory and so many more, including the troubling “probably president.”

There’s something heartbreaking about the prospect that America’s next commander in chief may be a global joke, a man regarded in most foreign capitals as a buffoon, and a dangerous one.

What Trump promises to do would in some important ways make all of the problems we face dramatically worse,” Peter Feaver, a Duke University political scientist, told me. “Why, at a moment when the country desperately needs our A-team, would we send in the clowns?” 3/06/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1LHSOng

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3. Charles M. Blow: Demagogue for President

Sometimes you have to simply step back from the hubbub and take stock, with cleareyed sobriety, at a moment in history to fully appreciate its epochal import. Now is such a time.

A nativist, sexist, arguably fascist and racist demagogue who twists the truth is the front-runner in the race to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, over the protestations of the party’s establishment, who rightly view his ascendance as an existential threat to an already tattered brand.

He is odd and entertaining, vacuous and vain, disarming and terrifyingly dangerous.

And, according to The New York Times, he “could lock up the nomination in May” if he “keeps winning by the same margins.” Furthermore, the Republican Party is seeing record turnout on its way to this end. There is a political revolution in this country but, so far at least, it appears to be one driven in large part by the Republicans.

Let this sink in, America.

Stop thinking that it’s all a joke, a hoax, a game. It’s not. Maybe he began this quest as a branding exercise, but it has morphed into something quite real: a challenge to the collective moral character of the republic. The success of his candidacy so far calls into question the very definition and direction of America.

Scared yet? Good! Stop laughing this off. It’s not a joke. It’s quite real. And you need to remember the moment that you woke up and realized just how real it was. 3/03/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1RJqMqE

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4. Doyle McManus: A divided GOP doesn't have a prayer

Sorry, GOP: You waited way too long to build an anti-Trump majority. Unless a miracle happens, you're about to get knocked out by an anti-establishment wave — a wave you mistakenly encouraged in the first place.

By comparison, Trump's strategy is pretty coherent. He's already built a coalition of white working class voters, disgruntled moderates and “soft” evangelicals (the ones who don't care how many times the candidate has been married).

His pluralities have generally become larger, not smaller, as other candidates have dropped out. Trump won the first primary in New Hampshire with 35%; last week, he won Georgia with 39% and Massachusetts — Massachusetts! — with 49%.

Establishment strategists figure the remaining primaries will be harder for Trump, since they're open only to registered Republicans (unlike, say, New Hampshire, where independents can join in).

But even their best-case scenario concedes that Trump is likely to arrive in Cleveland with more delegates than anyone else. At that point, someone, somehow, will try to arrange a deal — among delegates pledged to candidates as varied as Cruz and Kasich, remember — to create a majority around a single anti-Trump figure. At which point that huge bloc of Trump delegates does what, exactly?

The only guarantee is chaos. 3/06/15 http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0306-mcmanus-gop-crackup-romney-20160306-column.html

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5. LA Times Editorial Board: Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States

Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. Many people have said it — politicians of both parties, economists, pundits, business leaders — but millions of GOP primary voters don't seem to be listening. Much of the Republican base has taken leave of its senses, a flight blamed alternately on inchoate anger, disgust with inside-the-Beltway candidates and misplaced affection for a plain-speaking cartoon character who often seems to utter whatever nonsense comes into his head. Regardless of the reason for his popularity, the bombastic billionaire continued his soon-to-be unstoppable march toward the nomination Tuesday, racking up resounding victories in primaries across the American South and in the Northeast.

The reality is that Trump has no experience whatsoever in government, interacting with the machinery of state only as a supplicant. He has shamefully little knowledge of the issues facing the country and the world, and a temperament utterly unsuited to the job. He is a racist and a bully, a demagogue. He has proposed killing the families of terrorists, a violation of international law so blatant that a former CIA director predicted that U.S. troops would refuse to carry out such an order.

Trump’s popularity may simply be the product of a toxic brew of a polarized two-party system and nihilistic tactics on the campaign trail and Capitol Hill (such as shutting down the government and threatening to default on U.S. debts) that, either by design or in effect, have convinced many Americans that their government is irreparably broken and corrupt. But Trump isn’t the answer — he’s just a cynical manipulator playing on the very real frustrations of voters tired of a government that takes big, difficult problems and makes them intractable. Those voters still have time to choose a better standard-bearer. Read more at http://fw.to/y9KMySD

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6. Paul Krugman: Clash of Republican Con Artists

So Republicans are going to nominate a candidate who talks complete nonsense on domestic policy; who believes that foreign policy can be conducted via bullying and belligerence; who cynically exploits racial and ethnic hatred for political gain.

But that was always going to happen, however the primary season turned out. The only news is that the candidate in question is probably going to be Donald Trump. Establishment Republicans denounce Mr. Trump as a fraud, which he is. But is he more fraudulent than the establishment trying to stop him? Not really.

Actually, when you look at the people making those denunciations, you have to wonder: Can they really be that lacking in self-awareness?

Donald Trump is a “con artist,” says Marco Rubio — who has promised to enact giant tax cuts, undertake a huge military buildup and balance the budget without any cuts in benefits to Americans over 55.

“There can be no evasion and no games,” thunders Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House — whose much-hyped budgets are completely reliant on “mystery meat,” that is, it claims trillions of dollars in revenue can be collected by closing unspecified tax loopholes and trillions more saved through unspecified spending cuts.

Just to be clear, I find the prospect of a Trump administration terrifying, and so should you. But you should also be terrified by the prospect of a President Rubio, sitting in the White House with his circle of warmongers, or a President Cruz, whom one suspects would love to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.

As I see it, then, we should actually welcome Mr. Trump’s ascent. Yes, he’s a con man, but he is also effectively acting as a whistle-blower on other people’s cons. That is, believe it or not, a step forward in these weird, troubled times. 3/04/16 Read more athttp://nyti.ms/1LDDxnh

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7. Derek Thompson: How Donald Trump Can Beat Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is the clear favorite in November. But if you think Donald Trump’s past positions will make it hard for him to win a general election, recall that Donald Trump does not care about his past positions. He cares about winning. He’s going to spend the next few weeks figuring out what he needs to say to win, and when he thinks he’s found those things, he's going to say them, over and over, with shameless disregard for consistency, accuracy, or morality. Factuality will be sacrificed, over and over, on the altar of authenticity. He won’t tell “the truth.” He will tell “it like it is."

Pragmatists like to seek solace in the quote, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” The quote is falsely attributed to Lincoln (fooling people is easy, it turns out, if you just repeat the fib emphatically enough), yet I wouldn’t be surprised if the Clinton campaign used the line, to contrast the Republican forefather’s virtue with Trump’s chintzy salesmanship.

The thing about majoritarian government, though, is that nobody has to fool everybody all the time. Donald Trump’s objective couldn’t be clearer. He only has to fool half the people once. 3/02/16 Read more athttp://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/of-course-donald-trump-can-beat-hillary-clinton/471879/

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8. David Remnick: American Demagogue

The question remains why the Trump phenomenon has proved so buoyant and impregnable. Some have earnestly ascribed it to broad social and economic forces, particularly the “new normal” of stagnating wages, underemployment, and corporate “offshoring” and “inversion.” Yet those factors were at least as pronounced in the last election cycle––and Republicans chose as their nominee the father of comprehensive health care in Massachusetts.

The socioeconomic forces are real, but Trump is also the beneficiary of a long process of Republican intellectual decadence. Paul Ryan denounces Trump but not the Tea Party rhetoric that propelled his own political ascent. John McCain holds Trump in contempt, but selected as his running mate Sarah Palin, the Know-Nothing of Wasilla, one of Trump’s most vivid forerunners and supporters. Mitt Romney last week righteously slammed Trump as a “phony” and a misogynist, and yet in 2012 he embraced Trump’s endorsement and praised his “extraordinary” understanding of economics.

The G.O.P. establishment may be in a state of meltdown, but this process of exploiting the darkest American undercurrents began with Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy and, more lately, has included the birther movement and the Obama Derangement Syndrome. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who compete hard for the most extreme positions in conservatism, decry the viciousness and the vacuousness of Trump, but they started out by deferring to him––and now they ape his vulgarity in a last-ditch effort to keep pace. Insults. Bigotry. Nationally televised assurances of adequate genital dimensions. This is the political moment in which we live. The Republican Party, having spent years courting the the basest impulses in American political culture, now sees the writing on the wall. It reads “Donald Trump,” in very big letters. 3/14/16 Issuehttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/14/behind-the-trump-phenomenon

9. Peggy Noonan: The Republican Party Is Shattering

If trends continue—and political trends tend to—Mr. Trump will win or come very close to winning by the convention in July. If party forces succeed in finagling him out of the nomination his supporters will bolt, which will break the party. And it’s hard to see what kind of special sauce, what enduring loyalty would make them come back in the future.

If, on the other hand, Mr. Trump is given the crown in Cleveland, party political figures, operatives, loyalists, journalists and intellectuals, not to mention sophisticated suburbanites and, God knows, donors will themselves bolt. That is a smaller but not insignificant group. And again it’s hard to imagine the special sauce—the shared interests, the basic worldview—that would allow them to reconcile with Trump supporters down the road.

He is a one-man wrecking crew of all political comportment, and a carrier of that virus. Yet his appeal is not only his outrageousness.

The GOP elite is about to spend a lot of money and hire a lot of talent, quickly, to try to kill Trump off the next two weeks. There will be speeches, ads—an onslaught. It will no doubt do Mr. Trump some damage, but not much.

It will prove to Trump supporters that what they think is true—their guy is the only one who will stand up to the establishment, so naturally the establishment is trying to kill him. And Trump supporters don’t seem to have that many illusions about various aspects of his essential character. One of them told me he’s “a junkyard dog.”

They think his character is equal to the moment. 3/03/16 Read more at http://on.wsj.com/1QvSvII

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10. Leonard Pitts Jr.: Republicans have destroyed their party; will they take America with them?

The GOP is an incoherent mess. Republican-on-Republican rhetorical violence has become commonplace. Party members find themselves mulling whether to break away and form a third party or unite behind a coarse, blustering bigot whose scapegoating and strongman rhetoric has Holocaust survivors comparing him to Hitler.

The situation is so objectively and transparently grim that many on the right no longer even bother to spin it. "I'm a lifelong Republican," tweeted historian Max Boot last week, "but (the) Trump surge proves that every bad thing Democrats have ever said about GOP is basically true."

"It would be terrible," wrote Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens last week, "to think that the left was right about the right all these years."

But it can be argued that Mr. Trump is less the cause than an inevitable effect of the party's looming disintegration. It can be argued that what's really destroying the Republican Party is the Republican Party.

It is bad enough the Republicans may have destroyed themselves. One wonders whether they will take America with them. 3/06/16 Read more at http://fw.to/iDJgiZQ

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11. Motocat: Why Do Some Hate Hillary Clinton So Much?

As a liberal with lots of liberal friends I am used to seeing all sorts of negative stories about Hillary Clinton in my social media universe with regularity. The question that irks me is why? I can clump the negativity toward Hillary into three main arguments.  

1. She is untrustworthy (liar, disingenuous, doesn’t mean what she says, etc...)
2. She isn’t really liberal
3. She is “bought” by Wall Street (or owes them some sort of favors)      

I have been paying close attention this election cycle so I thought I would unpack these three statements and see what sort of evidence there is for them.    

Hillary Clinton is Untrustworthy: Politifact, an organization dedicated to fact checking candidates provides the best impartial analysis - it does not show that Hillary Clinton is a lair. 

Hillary Clinton is not really a liberal: Hillary Clinton was the 11th most liberal member of the Senate in each of the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. That places her slightly to the left of Pat Leahy, Barbara Mikulski and Dick Durbin; clearly to the left of Joe Biden and Harry Reid; and well to the left of moderate Democrats like Jon Tester, Blanche Lincoln, and Claire McCaskill. It is possible to pick out contradictory positions from any politicians record, but that doesn’t really show you where they really lie on the spectrum.

Hillary Clinton Owes Wall Street a Favor: If Hillary Clinton has indeed been trading favor to Wall Street for donations, then why is her record so consistently liberal despite receiving donations from those same Wall Street companies for her entire career as a Senator?  That would require one of two things to be true. Wall Street executives may actually be asking her to promote liberal policies, or she has been playing an incredibly long con where she has been collecting money for decades while advancing a liberal agenda as a cover with the sole purpose of eventually becoming President of the United States and returning those favors. It is hard to imagine either of those scenarios being true.

Conclusion: I am somewhat perplexed by the narrative that surrounds Hillary, where and how it has taken root and grown to the degree at which it has without much basis in factual information. I hear a lot about the need to hold our media to a higher standard when it comes to the spread of information and narrative, but how we expect them to uphold those standards when we seem so willing to abandon them ourselves? 2/08/16 Read more at http://m.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/8/1478776/-Why-Do-People-Hate-Hillary-Clinton-So-Much

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12. William Saletan: Obama Didn’t Create Trump - the GOP’s opposition to Obama did.

Everything that’s wrong with America is Barack Obama’s fault. That’s what Republican politicians have told themselves and the public for eight years. It began before Obama took office, when Republicans blamed him for a recession that started on their watch. Now they’re blaming Obama for the rise of their own presidential front-runner, Donald Trump.

The delusion that Obama caused Trump has been building since last year. This week, it reached the last bastion of rationality on the right:New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. Douthat has a long track record of fairness and good sense. When the madness infects even him, it’s time to clear the air. No, Obama didn’t cause Trump. What caused Trump was the GOP’s decision to negate Obama in every way, and thereby become the party of Trump.

If Obama had been a leftist, the GOP’s policy of negating him on every issue might have positioned Republicans in the mainstream. Instead, because Obama was a moderate, the GOP’s negation strategy pushed it toward the fringe. Obama was for fiscal responsibility and compromise, so Republicans were for absolutism and drama, risking a federal shutdown and a credit default. Obama was for respecting the Supreme Court, so the GOP was for defying judicial orders. Obama was for using sanctions to pressure Iran into a nuclear deal, so Republicans were for scrapping the deal and daring Iran to provoke a war. Obama, like Bush, was for drawing a clear distinction between terrorists and Muslims. So Republicans were for blurring that distinction.

How did the GOP end up in this madness? By twisting itself to thwart and vilify Obama. Cruz paints the president as a traitor “who doesn’t believe in the mission of our military and who undermines them at every step.” Rubio, incensed at Obama’s inclusive language, repeatedly excoriates him for “talking about discrimination against Muslims.” Both senators pledge to shred the Iran agreement on their first day in office—apparently out of spite, since renouncing the agreement would free Iran of its nonproliferation commitments without recovering the money that was relinquished in sanctions relief.

So, yes, Obama led to Trump. But that’s only because the Republican Party decided to be what Obama wasn’t. And what Obama wasn’t—insecure, bitter, vindictive, xenophobic, sectarian—is what the GOP, in the era of Trump, has become.http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/02/ross_douthat_says_obama_created_trump_that_s_nuts.html

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13. Maureen Dowd: Chickens, Home to Roost

The most enjoyable thing about the Trump phenomenon has been watching him make monkeys out of a lot of people who had it coming.

Marco Rubio, a frothy focus-grouped concoction whose main qualifications to be president consist of a nice smile and an easy wit, has been mocking Trump as a con man.

Real estate developers are con men by nature, trying to get what they want at the lowest price and sell it at the highest price, overpromising how great it’s going to be.

As Maria Konnikova, the author of “The Confidence Game,” notes, con men are created by the yearning of their marks “to believe in something that gives life meaning. … Their genius lies in figuring out what, precisely, it is we want, and how they can present themselves as the perfect vehicle for delivering on that desire.”

It’s delicious watching the neocon men who tricked the country and gulled the naïve W. into the Iraq invasion go ballistic trying to stop the Gotham con man. 3/06/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1QBjx1F

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14. Dana Milbank: Trump’s flirtation with fascism

So it has come to this: The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, at a campaign rally Saturday in Orlando, leading supporters in what looked very much like a fascist salute.

“Can I have a pledge? A swearing?” Trump asked, raising his right hand and directing his followers to do the same. He then led them in pledging allegiance — not to the flag but to Trump, for which they stand and for whom they vowed to vote.

Trump supporters raised their arms en masse — unfortunately evoking the sort of scene associated with grainy newsreels from Italy and Germany.

Among those not engaging in such ominous imagery were the demonstrators, who, by my colleague Jenna Johnson’s account, interrupted Trump’s event more than a dozen times. The candidate watched a supporter grab and attempt to tackle protesters, at least one of them black, near the stage. “You know, we have a divided country, folks,” Trump said. “We have a terrible president who happens to be African American.” 3/07/16 Read more at http://wpo.st/CSvJ1