GOP debate –> Rubio and Cruz ganged up to land some blows on Donald Trump during last night’s shoutfest. The New York Times has a transcript and Politifact has some fact checks. Maggie Haberman writes in her summary for The New York Times that “it was like watching opposition research books turn, page by page, as they hit Mr. Trump over the lawsuit he is facing related to Trump University, his hiring of foreign workers on guest visas for a Florida property, his donations to the Clinton Foundation, and his comments about wanting to be ‘neutral’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Ben Jacobs and Tom Dart write for The Guardian: “It was the first time rival candidates have used a debate stage to go after the foundation of Trump’s campaign – his experience as a businessman, his assertion that he is the only candidate who can be relied upon to be a stalwart opponent of illegal immigration, and his fundamental belief in ‘winning.'” But, of course, concludes Haberman, “it is unclear if this will do anything to stop Mr. Trump’s march toward a large delegate lead.”
AND: At Vox, Matt Yglesias picks some unconventional winners and losers, Planned Parenthood among them: “‘I would defund it because I’m pro-life,’ Trump said, ‘but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.’ It was far and away the strongest defense of Planned Parenthood’s work that any Republican has offered in a long time, and it came from the guy who’s on top of the polls.”
Rubio’s no moderate –> At The Huffington Post, Jonathan Cohn beseeches us (i.e., the media) to recognize that, “Trump may be more offensive than Rubio, but he’s probably not more conservative. Rubio himself is trying to make this argument right now, in the hopes it undercuts Trump’s support before it’s too late to stop him. Rubio hasn’t always been the most candid of politicians. But, in this case, he’s right. In fact, while comparisons across historical eras are difficult, a candidate with Rubio’s record would probably be the most conservative Republican nominee for president in modern history. It’s one more sign of just how far the Republican Party has lurched to the extreme fringes of American politics, no matter who their nominee for president turns out to be.”
Journalistic malpractice –> Lee Fang at The Intercept: “Tune into television coverage of the presidential campaign and undoubtedly you will hear from various pundits described as ‘former campaign strategists’ and ‘political contributors’ explaining the latest developments of the race. But in many cases, these pundits — though introduced as neutral experts on campaigns or party politics — in fact have financial ties to the candidates they praise on the air.”
Just a reminder –> At Slate, Jamelle Bouie has this glimpse of the violence that bubbles just beneath the surface of Trump’s campaign events. “Trump continued as normal, but he was interrupted [by a protestor] again. This time, he could see the protesters as they were hauled out by security. And this time, he had a little more to say. ‘You know what they used to do to guys like that in a place like this?’ he asked the crowd. ‘He’d go out in a stretcher.’ His audience cheered. A moment later, he went further: ‘You know we’re not allowed to touch him? The police are touching him gently and he’s smiling and he’s having a good time. I’d like to punch him in the face.’ Again, the crowd went wild.”
AND: “David Duke, a white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, told his audience Wednesday that voting for anyone besides Donald Trump ‘is really treason to your heritage,'” reports Eliza Collins for Politico. AND: Allegra Kirkland writes at TPM, “A white supremacist super PAC is rolling out a fresh robocall campaign this week in Vermont and Minnesota telling voters, ‘Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.'”
Should they be worried? –> A Bloomberg Businessweek cover story by Peter Coy looks at the lack of response from big business to the wave of populist anger against it so apparent in this year’s election: “You might have expected business to mount a vigorous defense. But corporate America has responded to the charges with murmurs. In this gladiators’ match, one side simply hasn’t shown up. Many chief executive officers believe that after the election is over and the noise of the campaign dies down, it will be business as usual for business.”
AND: At The Hill, Megan Wilson notes that some lobbyists are giving to Trump, Sanders and Cruz, the candidates that bash them the most on the campaign trail — although of the three, Sanders by far has pulled in the least.
Worried about a Trump presidency? –> At The Washington Post’s Plum Line blog, Paul Waldman reminds us that America’s demographics are not in the GOP’s favor, and it’s getting worse for the party each year.
American innovation –> Super PACs can accept and spend unlimited sums, but have to disclose their donors. So this election, “super PACs and their backers are proving increasingly adept at skirting the federal disclosure rules, particularly through the use of limited liability companies, or LLCs — a type of business entity that leaves no paper trail and gives political players cover to hide their identities,” Eliza Newlin-Carney writes for The American Prospect.
The worst –> Joby Warrick at The Washington Post: “The massive leak that vented millions of pounds of natural gas from a Los Angeles storage facility now appears to have been the worst accidental discharge of greenhouse gases in U.S. history, scientists concluded in an analysis released Thursday. The 112-day leak at the Aliso Canyon facility released about 5 billion cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere.”
Accountability –> Like New York State and California, Maryland may be readying an investigation into Exxon and its efforts to mislead the public on climate change. “In response to a petition calling for an investigation of ExxonMobil, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said his office will ‘hold accountable any individuals and corporations who have intentionally contributed’ to climate change,” David Hasemyer writes at InsideClimate News. “Some environmental activists and elected officials from other states said his wording suggested he is poised to take on the oil giant.”
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