New Hampshire primary –> Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders easily won the state and the only mild surprises were the better-than-expected showing of John Kasich, who came in second on the Republican side, and the rapid decline of Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz, who came in first in the Iowa caucuses, came in third, and Chris Christie has gone back to New Jersey instead of battleground state South Carolina to think things over. As Kevin Drum notes at Mother Jones, Christie “bet the farm on New Hampshire and now the mortgage is due. He’s toast.” And The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake notes that Sanders, assumed to be the underdog in the next few nominating contests, has a real shot at Nevada, where caucuses take place on February 20.
Tax law meaningless –> The IRS has given its stamp of approval to Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) led by Karl Rove. Unlike super PACs, 501(c)(4) nonprofits are, by law, barred from putting the majority of their resources toward politics, and, in return, are tax exempt and permitted to keep their donors hidden. Rove’s group quite clearly has spent most of the $330 million it has raised on politics, but the IRS decided to look the other way, Robert Maguire reports for the OpenSecrets blog. Kenneth Vogel writes for Politico that this likely will send a strong signal to other secretive groups that they can be more aggressive in their campaign spending.
On hold –> The Supreme Court has halted the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan until after lawsuits filled by fossil fuel interests and Republicans work their way through the legal system. But, as Jonathan Chait writes at New York magazine: “The 5–4 decision, which ran along familiar partisan lines, does not kill the administration’s power plan. More importantly, it also does not stop international action to reduce greenhouse gasses, which was negotiated at December’s international summit in Paris and which has been proceeding at a breakneck pace since. (Investment in green-energy sources has soared.) But it does indicate that the five Republican-appointed justices are giving strong consideration to blocking the administration’s rules.”
Why do those young folk think Bernie’s cool? –> A number of publications have spilled ink in the last few days pondering the 74-year-old’s appeal to young Americans. Molly Ball writes at The Atlantic: “The kids are, frankly, getting screwed. They are graduating (or not) with insane, world-historical levels of student debt; the youth-unemployment rate is sky-high; jobs are scarce; and smarmy politicians are lining up to inform them that they won’t have Social Security or pensions when they get old. And then the older generation that has sucked the national economy dry turns around and calls them spoiled and entitled and lazy.”
AND: At New Republic, Elizabeth Bruenig looks at some factors that she thinks might underlie the decision of many women millennials to support Sanders.
So much for the free and independent press –> Gawker’s J.K. Trotter obtained emails showing that in 2009 a Hillary Clinton spokesperson demanded that, in exchange for an advance copy of a speech given at the Council on Foreign Relations, a reporter give Clinton’s remarks favorable coverage, and even use specific words. Philippe Reines wrote to The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder with the following conditions: “1) You in your own voice describe them as ‘muscular’ 2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from Holbrooke to Mitchell to Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something 3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!” Apparently, Ambinder, and Politico’s Mike Allen, who may have gotten a similar email, did just that.
Reenfranchised –> Tens of thousands of recently released Maryland felons could vote for the first time later this year, Erin Cox reports for the Baltimore Sun: “The legislature on Tuesday narrowly overturned Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill to extend voting rights to felons before they complete probation and parole. The reversal both dealt a political blow to the Republican governor, who lobbied to prevent the bill from becoming law, and set the stage for an estimated 20,000 former inmates to cast ballots in Baltimore’s primary election for mayor and City Council this spring.” According to The Sentencing Project, the majority of US states still deny the vote to felons while they are on probation, and some disenfranchise convicted felons for life.
“Jeb?” –> Comedian Samantha Bee’s new program, Full Frontal, has a great segment in which a Werner Herzog-like narrator captures the existential despair of Bush’s plodding campaign.
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