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Morning Reads: As Rallies Grow More Violent, Trump Threatens Sanders

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: As Rallies Grow More Violent, Trump Threatens Sanders

Demonstrators taunt supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as they leave a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago which was postponed on March 11, 2016. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Another Tuesday –> The primaries this Tuesday will likely determine whether or not the GOP will see a contested convention in July. If Donald Trump can win both Ohio and Florida — which, for the GOP, are winner-take-all delegate contests — he probably will have little trouble locking up the nomination. “But if Trump doesn’t win both states,” Ben Ginsberg writes in Politico, “the GOP is likely to find itself in Cleveland with no candidate above the 1,237-delegate majority needed to claim the nomination. If that happens, the Republican Party’s own rules lock in a quagmire in Cleveland — and likely a multi-ballot, no-holds-barred convention.”

AND: In an attempt to play keep away, Marco Rubio is encouraging his Ohio supporters to cast their votes for John Kasich. But Kasich isn’t returning the favor in Florida.

Devolution –> The campaign trail this weekend was chaotic. On Friday, at a Trump rally in St. Louis, protesters kept the candidate from speaking several times; later that day, in Chicago, the campaign announced that the candidate would not show up at a rally after protesters turned out by the thousands. On Saturday, police attacked protesters outside a Trump rally in Kansas City with pepper spray.

On Sunday morning, Trump threatened Bernie Sanders supporters in a tweet: “Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!” And on Meet the Press, he said he was considering paying the legal fees of the 78-year-old man who sucker punched a black protester at a rally last week. Sanders denied Trump’s allegations and called Trump “a pathological liar.”

At The Washington Post, long-time political reporter Dan Balz writes that the campaign is in a downward spiral. AND: Matt Yglesias at Vox: “There have been clear signs all year that this was the direction the Trump phenomenon was heading, but I assumed that as he got closer to the Republican nomination Trump would tone down his extreme behavior in order to demonstrate his acceptability to mainstream voters. In fact, he has done the opposite. It’s a surprising decision that has truly scary implications for how he might behave were he to actually win the presidency.”

Feeling the Bern… for Trump? –> The Guardian examines the phenomenon of Sanders supporters who say they would vote for Trump if Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic Party’s candidate. Ed Pilkington and Mona Chalabi write that, in reply to a call-out issued by the newspaper, some 500 Bernie/Trump supporters “explained their unconventional position by expressing a variety of passionately held views on their shared commitment for protecting workers and against new wars, on their zeal for an alternative to the establishment, and on their desire to support anyone but Hillary Clinton.”

Don’t get smug –> As if anticipating that Guardian story, William Greider writes at The Nation: “The GOP crack-up is an irresistible spectacle — men in nice suits talking dirty and bopping one another with profane verbal assaults. We the people find ourselves laughing involuntarily. Some of us also tremble for the future of the republic. But Democrats should resist the temptation to indulge in schadenfreude, because they’re flirting with their own version of crack-up. The Dems are stalked by very similar contradictions, and face the same storm of popular disgust among once-loyal constituencies.”

Out of step –> Noam Scheiber writes at The New York Times that as America grows more populist, the Supreme Court continues to grow more pro-business — and that Obama’s newest pick for the Court, whoever it may be, is unlikely to reverse that trend.

Irony –> Republican US Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina was forced to cast a provisional ballot in his state’s primary “after going to a polling place without an acceptable form of identification,” reports the Raleigh News and Observer. If the voter ID law pushed by members of Burr’s party at the state level had been in force without amendment, Burr might not have been able to vote at all. But an amendment to the law allows voters to fill out a “reasonable impediment” form when they can’t find their ID or for a variety of reasons are unable to attain one; that’s what Burr did. That amendment was staunchly opposed by the right-wing groups behind the voter ID law.

Odd couple –> Bernie Sanders says he is pals with Jim Inhofe, the climate-denying, arch conservative from Oklahoma who brought a snowball onto the US Senate floor. “You find the fact that just because you have very significant political differences doesn’t mean to say you can’t develop friendships with good people,” Sanders said.

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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