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Morning Reads: Trump Wins Nevada, and GOP Moneymen Waffle on Whether to Take Him On

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

Morning Reads: Trump Wins Nevada, and GOP Moneymen Waffle on Whether to Take Him On

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a rally at the South Point Hotel & Casino on February 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nevada caucuses –> Trump won them, handily. Lynn Vavrek at The New York Times looks at Trump voters’ intolerance — “the attitudes of Mr. Trump’s supporters on things that he has not talked very much about on the campaign trail. He has said nothing about a ban on gays in the United States, the outcome of the Civil War or white supremacy. Yet on all of these topics, Mr. Trump’s supporters appear to stand out from the rest of Republican primary voters… Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with the freeing of slaves in Southern states after the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.”

Holding back –> The Koch brothers’ network, after spending $400 million last year, has reportedly slowed its spending, waiting for the Republican field to begin to narrow to Trump and one other candidate. Kenneth Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf report for Politico that many megadonors may continue to hold their fire, worried that Trump will turn his vitriol on them. Yesterday, Vogel and Arnsdorf noted that Sheldon Adelson, one of the most influential conservative megadonors, also has been curiously absent from this year’s primary race.

ALSO: Politico’s Katie Glueck: “Two of Ted Cruz’s top backers say that it’s time for him to stop going after Marco Rubio — and that he should turn his attention to taking on Donald Trump instead.” (At the Sunlight Foundation, Libby Watson has a rundown of the big money behind Cruz.)

BUT: “A close examination of Republican voter data shows that the ‘winnowing’ theory has four serious flaws,” writes Sahil Kapur at BloombergPolitics, noting — as Trump did himself  — that as more and more candidates drop out, some of their supporters likely will get behind Trump instead.

A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires –> Marc Short, the top DC political advisor to the Koch brothers’ network of right-wing rich guys, is joining Marco Rubio’s campaign. “It’s not an actual endorsement by the Kochs, but nabbing Short is a big deal for Rubio. For the past few years, Short has served as the president of Freedom Partners, the nerve center of the Kochs’ sprawling political operation,” Russ Choma writes for Mother Jones. “Freedom Partners has a lot of strengths, but the two biggest are arguably money and data. The group is organized as a membership-based organization, with Koch network donors kicking in a minimum of $100,000 per year—and many contributing much more than that. The group raised and spent at least $250 million during the 2012 election and almost $130 million in 2014. As the man at the forefront of the Kochs’ vast political fundraising operation, Short may have the best Rolodex of donors in the world.”

Bernie in for the long haul –> Greg Sargent at The Washington Post: “It’s perfectly plausible — though far from certain — that by mid-March, after the voting in another two dozen states or so, Hillary Clinton will have accumulated an advantage over Bernie Sanders in delegates that is all but insurmountable. But even if that does happen, the Democratic contest probably won’t end there. Because it may be in Sanders’s interests to take this all the way to the Democratic convention this summer. And it’s likely that he’ll have the means to do so, as well.”

Digging in –> Lauren Fox and Tierney Sneed at TPM: “Key Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee emerged from a closed door meeting in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Tuesday united in their determination not to consider any nominee to replace Antonin Scalia until the next president takes office. Tuesday was the first full day the Senate was back in session since Scalia’s death Feb. 13.”

The fight to kill solar –> The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg reports from sunny Nevada, one front in the nationwide battle between clean-tech advocates and energy industry monopolists who want to block rooftop solar. Though in some states the anti-solar forces are the traditional ideological enemies of a cleaner economy, like the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity or the American Legislative Exchange Council, this battle “pits Elon Musk, the electric car billionaire and cofounder of SolarCity, against Warren Buffett, owner of the state’s monopoly electricity provider NV Energy.”

Not the first time –> Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept: “Apple has objected to or otherwise challenged at least 12 government requests to help extract data from locked iPhones since September, bolstering its argument that its current battle about a terrorist’s phone is not as unique as the Justice Department has maintained.”

If at first you don’t succeed… –> At NPR, Bill Chappell reports, “U.S. operation of the Guantanamo Bay military detention center in Cuba is ‘contrary to our values’ and is seen as ‘a stain on our broader record’ of upholding the highest rules of law, President Obama said Tuesday as he announced plans to close the facility.” But his plan, devised by the Pentagon, “comes months after lawmakers from both parties approved legislation that prohibits the president from moving detainees onto U.S. soil.”

“Can you sell marijuana pipes to help fund Bernie Sanders?” –> The legality is “hazy, at best,” writes Michael Beckel at the Center for Public Integrity. Beckel, you’re harshing our mellow.

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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