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Morning Reads: GOP Shifts to #NeverClinton; Climate Change-Fueled Wildfire Scorches Western Canada

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

Morning Reads: Climate Change-Fueled Fire Ignites in Canada

A plume of smoke hangs in the air as forest fires rage on in the distance in Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 4, 2016. (COLE BURSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Climate change ignites in Canada –> The worst wildfire in Alberta’s history has forced nearly the entire population of Fort McMurray, a town of 80,000 in the north of the province and the heart of tar sands country, to evacuate. Eric Holthaus writes for Slate: “The images from the scene are horrific. As people left the city, they heard explosions and often drove within a few feet of open flames. A gas station blew up. Radio stations were abandoned. Buildings burned… One thing that is certain is that this fire has a clear link to climate change.”

Brian Kahn at Climate Central: “The wildfire is the latest in a lengthening lineage of early wildfires in the northern reaches of the globe that are indicative of a changing climate. As the planet continues to warm, these types of fires will likely only become more common and intense as spring snowpack disappears and temperatures warm.”

“The Trump freakout goes to 11” –> Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination. Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after a major defeat in Indiana’s primary, and yesterday John Kasich did the same. “It’s morning in Donald Trump’s America,” Politico’s Nolan D. McCaskill writes. “And the Republican Party is nursing a severe hangover. Shell-shocked Republicans on Wednesday struggled to come to terms with Trump as their nominee, with many refusing to fall in line behind the real estate mogul and others only begrudgingly saying they’ll support their party’s candidate, without using the T-word.”

On the other hand, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus tweeted,  “@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton.”

But: Jordan Rudner reports for the Texas Tribune that the last two Republican presidents, Bush 41 and 43, have no plans to endorse Trump. And: Hillary Clinton already is releasing a general election attack ad against her presumptive opponent — though the spot attacks Trump using only the words of his fellow Republicans.

So now what? –> Jamelle Bouie writes at Slate that there will never be a President Trump: “Unless he wins unprecedented shares of black and Latino voters, or, barring any improvement with nonwhite voters, unless he wins unprecedented shares of white voters, he loses. And he has to do this while running as the most unpopular nominee in 30 years of polling. He has to do it while running against a Democratic Party operating at full strength, with popular surrogates (including a former president) crisscrossing the country against his campaign. He has to do it with a divided Republican Party. He has to do it while somehow tempering his deep-seated misogyny and racism. All this, again, in a growing economy with a well-liked president — solid conditions for a Democratic candidate.”

But: Jeff Sharlet points out at Esquire, “No candidate like Trump has ever gotten nearly this far. George Wallace: A regional candidate who didn’t come close. Barry Goldwater? More of a movement man than a spawner of a movement. Trump is a spawner of movements… We’re in uncharted territory of the American Right.” And: As Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani note at The Intercept, pundits have a bad habit of being wrong this election cycle, and, in particular, being wrong by underestimating Trump.

Legalized bribery –> Jeff Toobin writes at The New Yorker that the Supreme Court may be on the verge of extending the precedent set by its 2010 Citizens United decision, and going so far that actual quid pro quo bribery — politicians getting cash in return for favors — could become legal. The first such case was argued last week,  brought by former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who’s facing prison time for corruption.

Feds take on North Carolina’s bathroom bill –> The Department of Justice warned North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory that if he continues supporting his state’s law requiring transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender at birth, North Carolina will lose millions in federal funding. The DOJ considers the law in violation of the LBJ-era Civil Rights Act. McCrory has until next week to indicate that he will not enforce the law, despite backing it publicly. Jim Morrill reports for the Charlotte Observer.

He drinks the water –> President Obama sought to reassure the people of Flint, Michigan, yesterday. In a visit to the city, plagued by lead-contaminated water,  he said, via NPR: “You should be angry, but channel that anger. You should be hurt, but don’t sink into despair. And most of all, do not somehow communicate to our children here in this city that they’re going to be saddled with problems for the rest of their lives because they will not.” He sipped from a glass of filtered city water and got a standing ovation. Republican Governor Rick Snyder, also speaking yesterday, was met with boos and heckling.

Point of order –> Charlie Savage at The New York Times: “A 28-year-old Army officer on Wednesday sued President Obama over the legality of the war against the Islamic State, setting up a test of Mr. Obama’s disputed claim that he needs no new legal authority from Congress to order the military to wage that deepening mission.” The administration argues that the post-9/11 authorization Congress gave President Bush to go after Al Qaeda applies to Syria as part of the war against terrorism.

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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