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Morning Reads: President Trump. It Could Really Happen.

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

Morning Reads: President Trump. It Could Really Happen.

Supporters cheer while waiting for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak at a caucus-night watch party at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on February 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Next debate –> The Republican candidates face off in Houston tonight at a debate hosted by CNN, Telemundo and the Salem Media Group. Starting time: 8:30 pm, ET.

“King Trump” –> Matt Taibbi has a long, entertaining and frightening read on Donald Trump at Rolling Stone. (In case you forgot, Taibbi is the journalist who in 2009 described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”)

Taibbi writes that what “tweedy Buckleyites at places like the [National] Review don’t get is that most people don’t give a damn about ‘conservative principles.’ Yes, millions of people responded to that rhetoric for years. But that wasn’t because of the principle itself, but because it was always coupled with the more effective politics of resentment: Big-government liberals are to blame for your problems.”

ALSO: Trump won his first congressional endorsement, upstate New York Republican Chris Collins. He was formerly a Jeb supporter, Jerry Zremski reports for The Buffalo News. Collins was followed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who will also support Trump. Politico: “‘I don’t think Trump wants my endorsement,’ Hunter said, while also remarking that he has not heard from the candidate himself. ‘And that’s one reason why I like him,’ he added. Trump said earlier Wednesday that ‘endorsements mean very little.'”

And ICYMI: In yesterday’s New York Times: “Mr. Trump has embraced his roots as a New Yorker as being crucial to his presidential bid, and in so doing, the Republican candidate has given the impression as he crossed the country that he is a force to reckon with in the city of his birth,” write Susanne Craig and David Chen. But the reporters find that image is much inflated. It is hard “to discern his imprint as a classic power broker, someone who is feared and can make things happen with a phone call or a quiet aside with the right person at the right time.”

From the pages of a paperback –> At the time of his death, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia apparently was on a hunting trip with the International Order of St. Hubertus, “an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s.” Amy Brittain and Sari Horowitz at The Washington Post write that members of the “male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto ‘Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,’ which means ‘Honoring God by honoring His creatures.'”

Unusual choice –> President Obama is considering Brian Sandoval, Nevada’s moderate Republican governor and a former federal court judge, as his nominee to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court, Mike DeBonis and Juliet Eilperin report for The Washington Post. In theory, Sandoval might be approved by Senate Republicans, although almost all of them have promised to oppose any Obama nominee. But many of Sandoval’s positions are not in line with Obama’s, or the Democratic Party base. For example, although Sandoval says he backs abortion rights, his “checkered history on reproductive freedom should raise some serious flags — it certainly has for us,” Ilyse Hogue of the pro-choice group NARAL said.

Sandoval’s position on democracy issues also is questionable: Last year, MSNBC’s Zachary Roth reported that the governor was a supporter of voter ID laws, and that his state might implement one in the near future, even though the 2015 effort to pass such legislation failed.

Shareholders take a stand –> Ernest Sheyder reports for Reuters: “New York State’s comptroller and four other Exxon Mobil shareholders asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week to force the oil producer to include a climate change resolution in its annual shareholder proxy, according to a filing seen by Reuters. The move, the first since the Paris climate accord, ratchets up the tension between the world’s largest publicly traded oil company and a growing chorus of investors concerned that climate change or legislation designed to curb it will harm Exxon’s ability to operate profitably.”

AND: Energy company Arch Coal, which recently filed for bankruptcy, was secretly funding a right-wing organization that is perhaps best known for seeking to make public climate scientists’ emails, reports Nick Surgey at the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch: “The Arch funding is revealed just months after Alpha Natural Resources, another coal company facing bankruptcy, was identified by The Intercept as providing funding to a group closely connected to E&E Legal, the Free Market Law Clinic, as well as funding directly to E&E Legal’s lawyer, Chris Horner. The two organizations share staff and fellows, often working together to bring lawsuits.”

In search of the Bernie Bro –> Data scientists Rebekah Tromble and Dirk Hovy tried to parse just who is leveling sexist attacks against Hillary Clinton on Twitter. At The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” blog they write that “…While we do find some evidence of Bernie Bros’ bad behavior, abuse against Clinton by Sanders supporters — both male and female — seems relatively limited. Clinton certainly faces a barrage of negativity and a heavy dose of sexism on Twitter. But that mostly appears to come from the right.”

Clarence Thomas hasn’t asked a question from the bench in eight years –> And that’s not a good thing, writes Jeffrey Toobin at The New Yorker.

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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