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Morning Reads: Democrats Zero In on the Flint Disaster and the Plight of Rust Belt Cities

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

Morning Reads: Democrats Zero In on the Flint Disaster

Journalists watch Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate on televisions in the media room at the University of Michigan in Flint, Michigan, March 6, 2016. (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

Debate in Flint –> At Vox, Libby Nelson and Dara Lind declare three winners of Sunday’s Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, much of which focused on the city’s water crisis and the region’s economic problems: the two candidates, and the city of Flint itself. MORE on last night’s debate from Jonathan Cohn at The Huffington Post, Jeet Heer at New Republic and Lauren Gambino at The Guardian.

“Super Saturday,” and Sunday too –> On what television networks are now calling “Super Saturday,” voters cast ballots in several states. Sanders, Clinton, Cruz and Trump all picked up delegates — but Rubio did not, leading to several calls by GOP elites for the party to cut Rubio loose and — quick, before its too late! — rally behind Cruz. On Sunday, however, Rubio won Puerto Rico and Sanders won Maine. The National Review’s Rich Lowry sees Cruz’s success as a sign that Trump can be stopped.

Democratic campaign chugs along… –> Although Sanders wins in Nebraska and Kansas don’t change the delegate math much, “We think we have an excellent chance to do well out on the West Coast in California, state of Washington, Oregon,” the candidate told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We think we have an excellent chance to do well in large states like New York. We think we’re going to surprise people here in Michigan.” Michigan’s primary is tomorrow. AND: Even as Sanders’ possible path to the nomination narrows, his campaign keeps pulling in cash, write Anne Gearan and Matea Gold at The Washington Post.

…while the GOP continues its gradual implosion –> John Nichols at The Nation: “The only prospect more daunting to savvy Republicans than that of a November ticket headed by Donald Trump is that of a November ticket headed by Ted Cruz. Every bit as extreme as Trump on the issues, equally combative and at least as ethically challenged, Cruz is Trump with an extra helping of meanness.” AND: With the Rubio campaign flagging and the Kasich campaign more symbol than reality, the “Never Trump” movement is in need of a champion. John Cassidy at The New Yorker writes, “The dump-Trump movement has a clear and convincing message — he’s a dangerous charlatan — but it doesn’t have a candidate.” AND: The Washington Post’s Dan Balz has an interesting longread on the rise of Trump, and the role played by the establishment that now denounces him.

“I voted for Trump to destroy the GOP” –> Former Reagan administration policy advisor (and recent BillMoyers.com essayist) Bruce Bartlett at CNBC: “I believe that only when the GOP suffers a massive defeat will it purge itself of the crazies and forces of intolerance that have taken control of it. Then, and only then, can the GOP become a center-right governing party that deserves to occupy the White House. The death of today’s Republican Party is, therefore, necessary to its survival, in my opinion. And Donald Trump can make it happen, which is why I voted for him.”

Trump’s what they want –> At The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, Tobias Konitzer and David Rothschild dig into data and find that Trump isn’t hoodwinking the Republican electorate. Rather, “the GOP establishment is out of touch with its base. Trump actually represents Republicans better if you examine beliefs issue by issue.”

Ben Carson officially suspended his campaign –> Chas Danner writes at New York magazine that the doctor will now become national chairman of My Faith Votes, a group dedicated to getting Christians to the polls.

Resurgence of DIY abortion –> As the Supreme Court considers Texas’ restrictive abortion law, economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes in a New York Times op-ed that more women are trying to figure out how to perform an abortion without a doctor. Stephens-Davidowitz noticed a striking correlation between how restrictive a state’s abortion laws are and Internet searches for phrases like “how to self-abort.” (DIY abortions are, of course, extremely dangerous and life-threatening.) AND: Another restrictive law in Louisiana, which would leave the state with only one abortion doctor, was blocked by the Supreme Court on Friday.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet –> Kathy Chen and David Stanway at Reuters report that China has set a cap on energy consumption for the first time — which functions as a de facto cap on coal. Consumption has been falling in China, yet, at the same time, as a new Greenpeace report details, Beijing approved 210 new coal power plants for the nation — a fact indicating disagreement and disorganization within the government as it simultaneously tries to adapt to a changing economy and rein in pollution. Brad Plumer has more at Vox.

RIP Nancy Reagan –> “Liberals should be somewhat happy that she was the First Lady during the Reagan administration,” Heather “Digby” Parton writes, “because it’s widely assumed that it was her influence on the president to take up glasnost which led to the thaw in the cold war that soon brought it to a close.” Lou Cannon’s New York Times obituary of Mrs. Reagan is worth a read; he covered the Reagan White House for The Washington Post and has written extensively on the family and its legacy.

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