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Morning Reads: Nevada GOP Voters Caucus, Will Trump’s Blue-Collar Support Keep Growing?

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

Morning Reads: Nevada GOP Voters Caucus

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs after speaking at a rally at the South Point Hotel & Casino on February 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump is campaigning in Nevada for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of the state's Feb. 23 Republican caucuses. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nevada GOP caucuses –> Donald Trump is predicted to win and Nate Silver writes at FiveThirtyEight that Trump may do so even if voter turnout is low. Kyle Cheney reports at Politico that some in the GOP are urging John Kasich to get out of the race, arguing that his presence complicates Marco Rubio’s efforts to take down Trump.

AND: At The Nation, John Nichols predicts Donald Trump’s populist economic message will help his campaign gather even more steam in the midwestern primaries ahead and, if he’s the GOP nominee, in the November election: “It’s in the industrialized swing states where Trump’s promise to protect jobs and change trade policies could resonate among blue-collar workers. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka acknowledges that workers are ‘talking to me about Donald Trump.’ Union leaders fret about internal surveys that show the billionaire is attracting greater support than is usually afforded Republicans.”

One way to unload some cash –> Jeb Bush’s campaign spent some $130 million over the course of its nine-month-long self-immolation. “It may go down as one of the least successful campaign spending binges in history,” write Nicholas Confessore and Sarah Cohen for The New York Times. AND: Fingers are pointing at Mike Murphy, who directed Bush’s Right to Rise super PAC, writes Maeve Reston at CNN. He may or may not have made $14 million in the process.

BUT: Jim Newell writes at Slate: “Why did Murphy have all of this money in the first place? Because rich people gave it to him. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, there are no federal, state, or municipal laws that required these people to donate five- to eight-figure sums to Jeb Bush’s super PAC. So before these donors blame Murphy for blowing their money, perhaps they should blame themselves for not doing the requisite investment research. These donors were the ones who decided to open up their wallets for the Jeb campaign without requiring the candidate—who last ran for political office in 2002—to prove himself.”

Ceasefire 2.0 –> ABC News: “For the second time this month, the U.S. and Russia are attempting to broker a cease-fire inside Syria. In a joint statement released today, the two countries announced their agreement for a ‘cessation of hostilities’ beginning this Saturday… The agreed-upon terms follow a previous commitment to cease hostilities by last Friday that failed to come to fruition. Terrorist groups ISIS and al-Nusra would be excluded from the truce.”

Scalia’s legacy –> With the Supreme Court justice’s funeral now over, the fond remembrances have given way to more pointed critiques. Jeffrey Toobin at The New Yorker says that Scalia “devoted his professional life to making the United States a less fair, less tolerant, and less admirable democracy. Fortunately, he mostly failed.” Election law scholar Rick Hasen writes for Reuters: “Republican presidential candidates such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) have pledged to appoint a justice like Antonin Scalia to the U.S. Supreme Court, if given the opportunity. Yet Scalia’s record on issues related to American democracy and elections was dismal — even when judged against the standards of the conservative Roberts court. Placing a few more Scalias on the Supreme Court would likely put America’s current participatory democracy at risk.”

Too close for comfort –> Harry Shearer of public radio’s Le Show seems to have gotten hold of an audio recording of behind-the-scenes chatter between the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Donald Trump. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were already under scrutiny for being too close to the Republican frontrunner, and this tape won’t do anything to dispel that. Mediaite and Gawker both have write-ups; Mediaite’s Alex Griswold summarizes: “Trump and the MSNBC hosts chat amiably about a variety of topics, including politics, the primaries, golf, Morning Joe’s coverage of Trump’s campaign, and their fellow journalists. On at least one occasion, the duo appear to discuss questions for the next segment within earshot of Trump.” The candidate is heard to say, “Nothing too hard, Mika.”

Democracy can get complicated –> The Election Assistance Commission (EAC), under acting executive director Brian Newby, is allowing Georgia, Kansas and Alabama to require those registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship — documents many voters don’t actually have. But the League of Women Voters is challenging that decision, and, yesterday, the Justice Department backed the League. It’s highly unusual for one government agency to effectively challenge another, and in fact, under most circumstances the DOJ would have been tasked with defending the EAC. Josh Gerstein reports for Politico.

More voting laws before the court –> The Christian Science Monitor reports that a federal court has agreed to hear a challenge to Virginia’s voter ID law. AND: After the boundaries of North Carolina’s voting districts were struck down by a federal court, the state hastily redrew district maps. But these maps might have problems, too. Craig Jarvis reports for the Raleigh News & Observer.

The issue candidates aren’t discussing –> Because of climate change, seas are rising faster than at any point in the last 2,800 years, scientists announced yesterday. Justin Gillis at The New York Times writes, “The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.”

AND: Because of Exxon’s reported role in funding climate denial and deliberately confusing the science around climate change, more than 100 scientists are calling on the American Geophysical Union to turn down money from the energy giant. Zahra Hirji reports for InsideClimate News.

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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