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Morning Reads: Democrats Court African-American Votes; Obama Offers Words But Not Action on Money in Politics

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

Morning Reads: Democrats Court African-American Votes; Obama Offers Words But Not Action on Money in Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) meets with Reverend Al Sharpton at Sylvia's Restaurant on February 10, 2016 in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The meeting comes after a strong victory for Senator Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Developing –> Notorious Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested late last night by federal agents as he arrived in Portland, Oregon, en route to visit the few remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve. Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan organized the occupation and already are in custody; those still on the reserve yesterday indicated they would surrender to authorities today but Cliven Bundy’s arrest may change all that.

Debate tonight –> Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will have another close encounter, this one on PBS at 9 p.m. ET. It will be streaming online.

Bye! –> Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina are out of the race.

Not a solution –> Yesterday, Obama gave a speech to the Illinois State Assembly in Springfield, exactly nine years after he announced his presidential candidacy from the statehouse steps. “We have to reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics that makes people feel like the system is rigged,” he said. But, as Jon Schwarz notes at The Intercept, he stopped short of announcing any of several executive actions he could use to fight back against that influence.

The black vote –> The next two states to hold presidential nominating contests — Nevada and South Carolina — are far more diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire, a fact that many commentators assumed would hurt Bernie Sanders. Dan Balz, David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin cover the story at The Washington Post. The Congressional Black Caucus is scheduled to endorse Clinton later today, reports the Post’s Paul Kane.

BUT: On Wednesday, author Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and perhaps the leading proponent of reparations for slavery, told Democracy Now! he would cast his ballot for Bernie Sanders, even though the senator has said he does not think he would support reparations. “Forgive me for expecting more of Senator Sanders than I expect of Senator Clinton, but I do,” Coates said. AND: Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, wrote a column in The Nation arguing that, “From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted — and Hillary Clinton supported — decimated black America.”

At Mother Jones, Pema Levy provides some context.

MEANWHILE: “Allies of Hillary Clinton are forming a new $25 million political organization aimed at expanding voter protection efforts and driving turnout and registration among Latino and black voters essential to her Democratic presidential campaign,” Ken Thomas reports for the AP.

The dog whistle –> At Vox, Sean McElwee and Jason McDaniel review some political science studies demonstrating that racial resentment did a lot to determine voters’ support for the tea party — and, now that the tea party has faded away, that support has moved to Trump.

Trump knows what he’s tapped into –> The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent thinks one statement by Donald Trump on Morning Joe yesterday morning sums up the campaign, and explains the outsider appeal shared by ideological opposites Trump and Sanders that has Washington and the political media so baffled. Trump: “We’re being ripped off by everybody. And I guess that’s the thing that Bernie Sanders and myself have in common… The only thing he does know, and he’s right about, is that we’re being ripped off; he says that constantly; and I guess he and I are the only two that really say that.”

ALSO: Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are perhaps closer to Trump than they disclose. In that same interview, Trump thanked them for their “support” and said “it was great” to see them on primary night. A source told CNN’s Tom Kludt that the hosts stopped by Trump’s hotel room after his New Hampshire win. Kludt writes that the show is “is far friendlier territory for Trump than MSNBC’s other more left-leaning shows. And it’s true that Scarborough and company have been bullish on Trump’s chances.”

“Political Reporters Know Nothing” –> Hamilton Nolan at Gawker: “Usually, professional political reporters follow candidates around to events and talk to a statistically insignificant sample of voters and hear from paid operatives and then — from this set of data that may well be wildly misleading — concoct conclusions about what is or will be happening in the race… it is why people employed as mainstream political reporters are invited onto television and taken seriously as experts, even though — to use only the most recent example — last night’s primary was won by two candidates that no mainstream political reporters took seriously one year ago.”

Dangerous politicking –> At The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer reports that the Supreme Court decision to block Obama’s Clean Power Plan could imperil the Paris climate agreement: “Without the proposal of the plan, the United States couldn’t have secured the Paris Agreement, the first international treaty to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions, last December. And without the adoption of the plan, the United States almost certainly won’t be able to comply with that document.”

BUT: Mark Chediak at Bloomberg: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision putting on hold President Barack Obama’s most aggressive plan to curb power-plant emissions won’t save coal from a shrinking market, or stop some states and utilities from moving forward with their own measures.”

Today’s Morning Reads was compiled 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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