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Wake Up To Politics - February 29, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016
1 Days until Super Tuesday
259 Days Until Election Day 2016 I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    2016 Central

  • Clinton Routs Sanders in South Carolina Hillary Clinton soundly defeated Bernie Sanders in the South Carolina Democratic primary Saturday, handing her a second consecutive win.
  • In speeches Saturday, both contenders looked ahead to Super Tuesday this week, when eleven states will vote in the Democratic primary. “Tomorrow, this campaign goes national,” Clinton declared in her victory speech. Sanders, meanwhile, acknowledged his loss (“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose), but signaled optimism about the road ahead, saying: “On Tuesday, over 800 delegates are at stake and I intend to win many, many of them.”
  • Clinton emerged with nearly three-fourths of the Palmetto State vote, taking 73.5% to Sanders’ 26%. The vote totals translated to 39 pledged delegates for Clinton and 14 for Sanders, bringing the national delegate count to 90 for Clinton and 65 for Sanders (excluding superdelegates).
  • Clinton’s victory was assured by her support among African-American voters, who made up 61% of the Democratic electorate in the state. According to exit polls, Clinton won the black vote – 84% to 16% – by an even higher margin than Barack Obama did in the 2008 South Carolina Democratic primary (against Clinton). Obama won 78% of African-Americans in the state, to Clinton’s 19%.
  • Her landslide victory in South Carolina gave Clinton renewed frontrunner status, after her inevitability was threatened by narrow wins in Iowa and Nevada and a crushing defeat in New Hampshire. After the first four contests of the Democratic race, Clinton has momentum going into Tuesday’s slate of primaries.
  • Like South Carolina, many of the Super Tuesday states are located in the Deep South and have heavily diverse populations. This makeup will allow Clinton to deploy a gameplan similar to her successful South Carolina strategy, which was to essentially hug Obama tightly and reinforce her status as his former Secretary of State.
  • While the map does work in Clinton’s favor, Team Sanders is confident that enough Super Tuesday victories will keep their path to the nomination intact. Specifically, the Vermont senator is looking to wins in Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Vermont – which would keep the delegate count fairly equal.
  • Super Tuesday is “super” for a reason: that one day has the potential to shake up the narrative of an election, with 878 delegates on the table. To put that in perspective: so far, just 4% of the 4,136 Democratic delegates have been awarded. More than 20% will be at stake on Tuesday.
  • Armed with Endorsements, Trump “Becoming Mainstream” Donald Trump’s outsider presidential campaign became slightly more “establishment” in the past week, as he received a series of endorsements from a stream of elected officials.
  • In a matter of days, he notched support from two U.S. Congressman, one U.S. Senator, and two state Governors – after months without the backing of an endorser in any of those categories.
  • This stream of endorsements began last Wednesday, after Trump’s Nevada win, with his first two congressional endorsements: Reps. Chris Collins (NY) and Duncan Hunter (CA). Collins had previously backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who suspended his campaign last week.
  • On Friday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined the “Trump Train,” a stunning turn of events in a race that included Christie just weeks ago. The surprise endorsement was made at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, where Christie said: “Donald is a leader. He is a successful person that, like me, isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Our system is broken and it won’t be fixed from the inside. I am proud to offer my endorsement of his candidacy for President.” Christie, who had attacked Trump in debates while a candidate, is a longtime member of the Republican establishment, with broad support among many moderate donors. Christie’s endorsement was followed by Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who announced his support for Trump later Friday.
  • The icing on the cake for Trump came Sunday, when Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions joined Trump at a rally and announced his support for the businessman’s campaign. Sessions’ endorsement came as a true shock, and a blow to Ted Cruz, who often cites Sessions as an ally in his fight against immigration reform and is still yet to count support from any of his Senate colleagues.
  • Sessions is beloved among conservative grassroots voters, as one of the first officials to align with the Tea Party. Cruz needs Tea Partiers and evangelicals to win the nomination, and Sessions’ endorsement could have brought both.
  • Instead, the Alabaman went to Trump, saying: “Trump alone has rejected the donor class, defending America’s jobs and wages from open borders, uncontrolled immigration and the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership that will cede U.S. authority to foreign powers. Trump’s trade and immigration plans will revitalize our shrinking middle class, keeping jobs and wealth and income inside the United States of America. Trump understands that a nation must always place the interests of its own people first.”
  • Buoyed by support from a list of top elected officials, Trump joked about the endorsements on the campaign trail Sunday, giving himself a label many would have viewed impossible mere months ago. “I hate to say it, I’m becoming mainstream,” he joked. “I’m getting all these endorsements.”
  • Today on the Trail Presidential candidates are scattered all over the map today, as they campaign in Super Tuesday states.
  • Donald Trump will hit Virginia and then Georgia for rallies. Ben Carson will hold a town hall in Kentucky and attend a forum in Virginia. John Kasich will hold town halls in Vermont and then Massachusetts. Ted Cruz will hold three rallies in Texas with Gov. Greg Abbott and former Gov. Rick Perry. Marco Rubio will hit four states, holding rallies in Tennessee (with Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Lamar Alexander), Georgia, Arkansas (with Gov. Asa Hutchinson), and Oklahoma.
  • On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders will hold rallies in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Milton, Massachusetts. Hillary Clinton will also campaign in Massachusetts, holding two Get Out the Vote events.

Capiolt Hill News

  • Senate: Today The upper chamber will convene at 3pm today, for two hours of morning business before turning to legislation. At 5pm, the Senate will begin debate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), holding a test vote at 5:30 to cut off debate.
  • CARA, penned by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), authorizes “funding for programs to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse, in addition to increasing the availability of naloxone, a drug to treat overdose,” according to The Hill. However, the legislation would not appropriate any specific funds for those purposes, although an amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) would.
  • Shaheen’s amendment, which would appropriate $600 million in emergency funds to assist communities hurt by the addiction epidemic, threatens to block the bipartisan bill, with many Democrats signaling they will only vote for CARA with Shaheen’s amendment attached.

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question Vice President Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga at the Academy Awards on Sunday, making him the second sitting vice president to speak at an Oscars ceremony. Who was the other?
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light