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Wake Up To Politics - March 15, 2016

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
238 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

  • Five States Head to the Polls in Another “Super Tuesday” The races for both the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations have the potential to be shaken up today, as five states head to the polls.
  • On the Democratic side, this is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ best chance to threaten former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s inevitability, with polls showing Sanders leading in three industrial Midwest states voting today: Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. Clinton, meanwhile, leads in Florida (the biggest prize of the night) and North Carolina.
  • In such a split verdict scenario, the momentum in the race could swing to Sanders, even as the delegate count would likely remain in Clinton’s favor. Sanders’ best shot at victory, Missouri, is the smallest prize today (84 Democratic delegates offered), compared to Florida (246) and North Carolina (121), where Clinton landslides are expected. Even if Sanders does eke out Illinois (182) and Ohio (159) wins, the margins are expected to be close, guaranteeing an essential tie in delegates.
  • On the Republican side, this day is momentous as the first time winner-take-all contests are scheduled, in Florida (99 Republican delegates offered) and Ohio (66). In both of these contests, favorite sons face fights for their political lives, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich leading polls in his home state, but Florida Sen. Marco Rubio trailing in his. However, if Kasich and/or Rubio are successful in winning their native contests, and Ted Cruz can rack up delegates in Illinois (69), Missouri (52), and North Carolina (72): this could be a big day in the Republican effort to block Donald Trump from nabbing the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination.
  • Or: Trump could sweep all or nearly all of tonight’s contests, a scenario that puts him on track to win the nomination. A Trump sweep was previewed by the first race of the day, the Northern Mariana Islands Republican caucuses, where polls are already closed. With 73% of the vote, Trump picked up all nine delegates offered in the commonwealth.
  • All eyes, however, are on Florida and Ohio, where the verdicts may have a large effect on the future of the race. Kasich has said if he does not win Ohio, he will drop out of the race. Rubio has made no such promise, but if he continues in the race after losing his home state, Rubio would do so very bloodied and embarrassed.
  • The most likely scenario on the Republican side is similar to that on the Democratic side: a split verdict. If the night yields no clear winner in either race, a long slog ahead is guaranteed. For Democrats, that means Sanders relies on his successful fundraising operation to continue picking off victories from Clinton until June. For Republicans, that means the race remains crowded, making Trump’s path to the convention even more difficult.
  • Preview: A Fiery Sanders Targets Missouri Report from a Bernie Sanders rally ST. CHARLES, Missouri – A huge crowd turned out for Bernie Sanders in a Republican pocket of St. Louis on Monday night, cheering as the Vermont senator offered his case against Hillary Clinton and asked Missourians for their votes in the primary the next day.
  • The Missouri rally was Sanders’ fourth of the day (hitting Ohio and North Carolina earlier Monday), and speakers at the event began to get confused. Civil rights activist and professor Jonathan Jackson, son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, introduced Sanders by speaking about the race “right here in Illinois”.
  • Sanders, however, did not seem off his game after the long day. “It looks like to me,” he declared, “Missouri is ready for a political revolution.”
  • In his address, the crowd roared as Sanders touched on a smorgasbord of progressive issues: a corrupt campaign finance system (“destroying American democracy”), voting rights (“If you don’t have the guts to run in a free and fair election, get out of politics”), a rigged economy (“That is crazy!”), the criminal justice system (“Police departments should not look like occupying armies”), the minimum wage (“15 bucks an hour”), and legalizing drugs (“We can argue about the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana is not heroin: that’s for sure”),.
  • Barely mentioning her by name, Sanders also spoke about his differences with Hillary Clinton. “You can tell a lot about a candidate by how that candidate raises money for their campaign,” he said, speaking about his campaign’s decision not to create a super PAC after “we thought about it for a tenth of a second”.
  • He then spoke about the speeches to Wall Street given by Clinton, calling on her to release the transcripts. “I am prepared right here tonight – this is a dramatic moment – to release all of the speeches I gave to Wall Street,” Sanders said sarcastically, making a “shh” gesture. “And here they are,” he yelled – thrusting his hands up in the air.
  • Sanders continued, noting policy differences on trade issues and the Iraq war
  • The Vermont senator, 74, also seemed to feed off of the energetic crowd, often pausing for the audience of thousands to boo, cheer, chant his name, and scream “no” or “yes” when appropriate. At one point, he noted a sign in the audience. “You’ve got a good sign there: ‘one year in jail costs more than one year in Yale.” Later, when speaking about criminal justice reform, he circled back: “That sign has got it exactly right.”
  • In the hour-long address, Sanders also referenced his unlikely path to viability in the Democratic race, and the threat he poses to his unnamed challenger. “Ten months ago, we started this campaign and we were at 3% in the polls. Ten months have come and gone, and the world has changed politically. There was once a candidate who was the anointed one, who was inevitable,” he said. “Today, she is not so inevitable.”
  • But – he noted, the Missouri primary will be key to the future of the race, repeatedly referring to turnout in the state as the difference between victory and loss. “There is going to be a very, very important election here in Missouri,” he said. “We will win this election if there is a large voter turnout. We will lose if there is a low voter turnout. What I am asking you now is to have this great state help lead the political revolution. Come out to vote,” he urged. Bring your friends and your neighbors.”
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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