South Carolina primary –> Saturday night was a big one for Republicans. Donald Trump trounced his rivals in South Carolina and Jeb Bush stepped out of the race. The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson writes that Bush, who “never walked onto a debate stage without looking mildly surprised to find serious competitors up there, didn’t mention Trump” in his concession speech. “His departure is a testament to the futility of pretending that Trump couldn’t possibly be the Republican nominee, or the President.”
The race now has narrowed to Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and John Kasich. Mitt Romney reportedly will endorse Rubio, who, McKay Coppins writes for Buzzfeed, looks to be the new establishment standard-bearer.
MEANWHILE: Ultrawealthy donors have been waiting for the field of palatable (i.e., non-Trump) candidates to narrow before picking which one to back. Michelle Conlin and Grant Smith report for for Reuters that, “Within minutes of Jeb Bush dropping out of the presidential race Saturday night, some of his donors were preparing to throw their financial support behind Marco Rubio, who has emerged as the strongest candidate among the establishment wing of the party.” According to Thomas Kaplan at The New York Times, John Kasich also picked up a few billionaires of his own.
AND: Tarini Parti reports for Buzzfeed that Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is a former staffer for the Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity, and tried to hire away other Koch network insiders to join the Trump campaign: “In some states, Lewandowski was successful, but in many key states that could decide the GOP nominee in the coming weeks, his recruitment efforts failed. At least half a dozen current Koch network staffers in states with upcoming primaries turned down offers, in addition to a few former top staffers who previously worked for the group for several years. One top Americans for Prosperity staffer in a March primary state who was approached said Lewandowski made a strong case, insisting that ‘(Trump) was for real. He’s going to go all the way.’ ”
ALSO: D.D. Guttenplan writes at The Nation: “Democrats can take little comfort from South Carolina’s result. Marco Rubio may be a fraud with a résumé thinner than Ted Cruz’s smile, but when he’s standing next to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the first things most voters will notice are his youth and energy. As for Trump, perhaps the laws of political gravity are merely in temporary suspension, and policy will soon matter more than celebrity once again. I’m not holding my breath, though.”
Nevada caucuses –> Hillary Clinton garnered more delegates in a relatively close Nevada caucus against Bernie Sanders. Both sides claim to have won a greater percentage of the Latino vote, but David Lauter writes at the Los Angeles Times that there’s conflicting data: “The issue matters to both sides because the Clinton campaign has consistently argued that her supporters better represent the ethnic and racial diversity of the Democratic Party. The Sanders campaign says that although the Vermont senator started out with a core of white liberal supporters, he has gained ground among minority voters as more get to know him.”
AND: A nasty episode occurred when some Sanders supporters shouted down legendary civil rights activist Delores Huerta, who was offering to translate for Spanish-speaking caucus-goers at one site in Nevada. Huerta is a Clinton supporter, and Sanders backers assumed she would be biased; Huerta then claimed online that the Sanders supporters were demanding an English-only caucus. “The plain truth about what happened is that no one seems to have described events quite accurately,” writes Janell Ross for The Washington Post.
AND: At The New York Times, Jill Filipovic explains how the experience of sexism in the workplace may explain the age divide among women supporting Hillary Clinton. ALSO: At New York magazine, Rebecca Traister makes the case that single women have become the most potent force in America.
Illegal gerrymandering –> A federal court ruled earlier this month that North Carolina had drawn two of its congressional districts in a “hyperpartisan” way that would diminish black voters’ political voice. The Supreme Court this weekend declined to change that decision, meaning the state will have to draw new districts for the 2016 election. Richard Fausset reports for The New York Times.
The latest rampage –> A mass shooting in Kalamazoo this weekend claimed the lives of six people. Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post writes that, by the definition of the crowd-sourced Mass Shooting Tracker (four or more shot and killed, including the shooter), the mass shooting is already the 42nd this year, and we’re not even through February.
Fracking earthquakes –> “Just hours after the third-largest earthquake ever to hit Oklahoma struck near the town of Fairview last week,” regulators introduced a measure aimed at reducing the number of earthquakes caused by fracking in the state, Zahra Hirji writes at InsideClimate News. But it’s not clear it will go far enough. “While the aggressive initiative drew praise for demanding widespread reductions, it stops short of spanning the entire state or halting the disposal activity altogether, drastic efforts some say are needed to best address the issue.”
Futile –> The New Yorker attempts to copy edit Donald Trump’s written statement on the Pope.
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