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Morning Reads: Cruz and Kasich Join Forces to Fight Trump; Virginia Restores the Vote to 200,000

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

Morning Reads: Cruz and Kasich Join Forces to Fight Trump

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich puts on a pair of boxing gloves given to him by a supporter during a campaign town hall meeting in the ballroom at a Crowne Plaza hotel April 19, 2016 in Annapolis, MD. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

#NeverTrump goes for a team effort –> It’s the eleventh hour, but the two Republican candidates not named Trump finally have decided to join forces against him. Katie Glueck writes for Politico: “Ted Cruz and John Kasich are ceding states to each other as part of a broader effort to stop Donald Trump, an abrupt change in strategy that the campaigns announced Sunday night.” Until recently, the Cruz campaign had been trying its hardest to ignore Kasich.

The AP’s Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas describe the deal as “an extraordinary compact that may be unprecedented in modern American politics. Under the arrangement, the Kasich campaign will give Cruz ‘a clear path in Indiana.’ In return, the Cruz campaign will ‘clear the path’ for Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico… the shift offers increasingly desperate Trump foes a glimmer of hope in their long and frustrating fight to halt the former reality television star’s unlikely rise.”

Trump’s response: “This horrible act of desperation, from two campaigns who have totally failed, makes me even more determined, for the good of the Republican Party and our country, to prevail!”

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island hold primaries tomorrow, followed by Indiana on May 3.

Reenfranchisement –> Joshua Holland at The Nation: “On Friday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, flanked by veteran civil-rights leaders, announced what he called a ‘landmark’ restoration of voting rights for convicted felons. The policy will immediately restore the right to vote — as well as the right to run for public office, serve on a jury or become a notary public — to 206,000 Virginians who have served their time and completed their parole or probation.”

And, at The New York Times’ Upshot blog, Nate Cohn writes, “The state will be one of the central battlegrounds this November, and it is widely believed that ex-felons will vote heavily for Democrats… but the electoral effect of felon re-enfranchisement is likely to be modest. The best-case scenario for Democrats might be that they improve their popular vote margin by a half-point. That’s a big deal, but only in a close election.”

Hell freezes over, or something –> Michael Barbaro for The New York Times: “Charles G. Koch, the billionaire industrialist, suggested in an interview Sunday that he was open to supporting Hillary Clinton for president and said it was possible she would make a better president than her Republican rivals.” Talk is cheap, of course, and Clinton immediately said on Twitter she did not want his support, but, Barbaro writes, “Mr. Koch sounded at times baffled and disappointed by the language and ideas of several Republican presidential candidates.”

Give early, give often, give a lot –> The second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon vs. FEC decision is this month. The Brennan Center for Justice’s Ian Vandewalker reflects on how the ruling has changed the campaign finance landscape: “So far in this election cycle, the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has collected at least 22 checks of $244,200 each. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has raised at least eight checks made out for $353,400 each. These are just the biggest of dozens of six-figure contributions that Ryan, Clinton, and other prominent politicians have accepted. What all those checks have in common — besides being drawn on very large bank accounts — is that they would have been above the legal limit two years ago.”

More troops in Syria –> Last week, the Obama administration announced that 200 more troops were on their way to Iraq. Today, the president announced that 250 special forces soldiers are headed for Syria “to build on successes against Islamic State,” Roberta Rampton reports for Reuters. “… The decision, announced by Obama in Germany at the end of a six-day foreign tour, [appears to reflect] growing confidence in the ability of U.S.-backed forces to claw back territory from the hardline Sunni Islamist group.”

Retraction –> Rep Peter King (R-NY) will not commit suicide by eating cyanide if Ted Cruz becomes the Republican nominee, he clarified last week. “I have to tell you that some people call my office and say they were not gonna vote for Cruz, but if it would get me to take the cyanide they will. So, you never know exactly how people are gonna react,” he told a Long Island radio program.

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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