Nominating contests –> Voters will pick a presidential candidate in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio today. Republicans already have caucused in the Northern Marianas Islands and Donald Trump has walked away with the remote US Pacific territory’s nine Republican delegates.
Winning Ohio and Florida could help Trump lock up the nomination; an across-the-board sweep for Hillary Clinton could do the same for her. The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Nate Cohn offer five things to watch.
Record-breaking February –> “Last month was far and away the hottest February on record for the planet, by a margin that has surprised even the climate scientists who closely monitor global temperature data. It was also the most anomalously warm month Earth has seen in 135 years of NASA record keeping, continuing an astonishing recent streak that could see 2016 set a new record for hottest year,” Andrea Thompson reports for Climate Central.
Step forward –> “The Obama administration is expected to put virtually all of the Arctic and much of the Atlantic off limits for oil and gas drilling until 2022 in a decision that could be announced as early as Tuesday,” Suzanne Goldenberg reports for The Guardian.
AND: Adam Vaughan reports, also for The Guardian, that “The UK will enshrine in law a long-term goal of reducing its carbon emissions to zero, as called for in last year’s historic Paris climate deal. Responding to former Labour leader Ed Miliband’s call to put the target into law, energy minister Andrea Leadsom told parliament on Monday: ‘The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net zero emissions in UK law. The question is not whether but how we do it.'”
Heads determinedly in the sand –> Over the last year, while the Republican establishment has been preoccupied with picking a presidential candidate — and trying to lock out Donald Trump — renewable energy has gotten dramatically cheaper while heat records have fallen and seas have risen. So the party line — that climate change may not be manmade, and can’t be dealt with — is becoming increasingly absurd and dangerous. At New York magazine, Jonathan Chait writes that the failure of the GOP to come up with any solution, as illustrated at Thursday’s debate when Marco Rubio shrugged off a plea from the Republican mayor of soon-to-be-an-underwater-park Miami, betrays a “deep intellectual rot at its core.”
Right-wing meltdown –> When Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski allegedly grabbed Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields by the arm and dragged her away from the candidate when she tried to ask a question, management at Breitbart, a famously pro-Trump news source, did little to stand by her. The website even published a story that shed doubt on Fields’ accusations, positing that the man who grabbed her was not the campaign manager, but a security guard who looked like him, despite strong evidence to the contrary. At Buzzfeed, Rosie Gray reports that the site’s senior editor-at-large ordered staffers to stop defending Fields. Now, staffers are leaving the site in droves.
Hard-right, anti-immigrant party wins in Germany –> Zack Beauchamp at Vox: “Germany held regional elections on Sunday in three states, and the results were shocking. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which ran on a xenophobic, anti-immigrant platform, won 12.5 percent in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, 15 percent in Baden-Württemberg, and 24 percent in Saxony-Anhalt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democratic Party, by contrast, lost considerable vote shares… The big takeaway from the election is the obvious one: A disturbingly far-right party is surging in the eurozone’s most important country.”
Latest sneaky abortion law –> Bob Cesca writes for Salon that while most of America has been fixated by the spectacle of the primary season, Indiana has passed a new restrictive abortion law: “The new Indiana bill is in keeping with a series of laws that don’t outright ban abortion, but which makes it really, really difficult to have a safe and legal abortion.”
How Sanders operates –> The New York Times looks at how, over decades in Congress, Sanders has slowly gotten what he wants — not through generating original legislation outright, but by attaching policies he wants in exchange for his vote on bills the Democrats are trying to pass. Jennifer Steinhauer reports, “In spite of persistent carping that Mr. Sanders is nothing but a quixotic crusader — during their first debate, Hillary Clinton cracked, ‘I’m a progressive, but I’m a progressive who likes to get things done’ — he has often been an effective, albeit modest, legislator.”
How Trump operates –> “Today, Donald J. Trump Collection shirts — as well as eyeglasses, perfume, cuff links and suits — are made in Bangladesh, China, Honduras and other low-wage countries. Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a vice president at his company and frequent campaign surrogate, markets hundreds of additional products under her own line of jewelry and clothing. Many are made in China,” Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger report for The Washington Post. They write that such deals are “relevant today as the billionaire businessman wages a populist presidential campaign in which he accuses companies of killing U.S. jobs by moving manufacturing overseas to take advantage of cheap labor and lax workplace regulations.”
AND: At The Intercept, Zaid Jilani notes that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has endorsed Trump. In 2013, she called off an investigation into the Trump Institute of Boca Raton, an operation similar to the now notorious Trump University, after receiving a large campaign donation from the candidate.
Getting ready –> Kriston Capps reports for CityLab, “In advance of the Republican National Convention in July, Cleveland is looking to boost its police department’s power by purchasing 2,000 sets of riot gear. The violence that attended Friday’s rally for Donald Trump in Chicago doesn’t explain why, either. Cleveland put its plans in motion before that eruption between protesters and Trump supporters.”
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