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Wednesday, March 2, 2016
254 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!!!
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- SUPER TUESDAY: Clinton, Trump Cement Leads with Big Wins; Sanders, Cruz, Rubio Escape with Something With more states voting and delegates at stake than on any other day on the election calendar, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ended Super Tuesday as the night’s clear winners: cementing their frontrunner statuses with seven wins each, even if they didn’t deliver knockout blows to finish their rivals completely.
- On the Republican side, Trump won seven out of eleven contests, the victor in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia down south and Massachusetts and Vermont in the east. Ted Cruz managed to pick off three wins: Alaska, Oklahoma, and his home state of Texas. Finally, Marco Rubio won his first state of the 2016 race: Minnesota.
- According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump expanded his delegate lead after Super Tuesday, gaining 203 delegates for a total of 285 vs. Ted Cruz’s 161 delegates (144 gained) and Marco Rubio’s 87 delegates (71 gained). John Kasich also gained 19 delegates, bringing his total to 25: Kasich scored in single digits nearly across the board, except for his second-place finishes in Massachusetts and Vermont. Ben Carson now has eight delegates, after adding three on Tuesday (he scored in single digits everywhere except for Alabama and Alaska).
- With a few precincts yet to be reported in most states, nearly 200 delegates have yet to be allocated.
- On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton notched seven victories to Bernie Sanders’ four. Sanders triumphed in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and in his home state of Vermont. Clinton’s wins came in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The Democratic pledged delegate count, according to the Associated Press, now stands at 544 for Clinton (453 gained) to 349 for Sanders (284 gained).
- Meanwhile, after falling short of notching landslides in all four early states, Hillary Clinton made up for it Tuesday. Clinton’s landslide wins among minorities in the South made her likelihood of becoming the Democratic nominee even higher, even as Sanders is unlikely to get out, especially after his four impressive victories. However, Clinton can look to Massachusetts, a liberal state Sanders has hoped to win, as an example of her success outside of the South.
- But Clinton looked past Bernie Sanders to a different opponent Tuesday night, directly taking on Donald Trump’s famed slogan. “We know we’ve got work to do. But that work, that work is not to make American great again,” she said. “We have to make America whole. We have to fill in – fill in what's been hollowed out.”
- But Sanders took solace in the fact that he still came away with delegates, saying: “This is not a general election. It’s not winner take all. By the end of tonight, we are going to win many hundreds of delegates.” Sanders also assured supporters that his campaign, fueled by a fundraising machine, will continue on in the remaining 35 states.
- “Let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace to every one of those states,” Sanders said.
- Meanwhile, Trump’s decisive wins came among all pockets of Republican voters, beating Ted Cruz in his supposed “Southern firewall” and Marco Rubio among moderates in Virginia. While Trump’s seven victories were the story of the night, and allowed him to expand on his delegate lead, his four losses are enough for Cruz and Rubio (who have now both scored victories) to keep going.
- At a press conference at his Florida estate, which looked more like a White House briefing than a standard candidate victory speech, Trump declared: “This has been an amazing evening.” Flanked by former rival-turned-endorser Chris Christie, Trump criticized his remaining opponents, but also fired back at Hillary Clinton’s shot in her own speech.
- “Making America great again will be better than making America whole again,” Trump said, a sign of a matchup to come. Trump also seemed to look past the Republican base to Independents, calling himself a “common-sense conservative”.
- Meanwhile, both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio sought to emerge as the anti-Trump alternative in Tuesday night addresses. “I ask for you to prayerfully consider coming together,” Cruz said. “Uniting.” Rubio also took on the “underdog” label, speaking to his home state of Florida ahead of its March 15 primary, saying: “This is a community of underdogs. This is a state of underdogs. This is a country of underdogs, but we will win.”
- On both sides, this was a good night for the frontrunners, and both emerge with momentum and auras of inevitability for the contests ahead. But as they took opportunities to go after each other, they haven’t knocked out their rivals yet, who are behind in delegates after Super Tuesday losses, but still willing to drag out this primary fight all the way to the conventions.
- High Court, Minus Scalia, to Hear Major Abortion Case The U.S. Supreme Court hears the most consequential abortion case since Roe v. Wade on Wednesday. Oral arguments will go on before only eight justices, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia opened the possibility of a deadlocked court.
- The case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a suit brought by a group of abortion clinics against a Texas law requiring abortions “to be performed only in an ambulatory surgical center by a doctor with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital,” according to Politico.
- A ruling in favor of the abortion clinics could change how states can regulate abortion. But perhaps a more likely scenario: a 4-4 ruling allows the lower 5th Circuit’s decision to stand, meaning the Texas law is upheld – answering questions only in the circuit’s three states, with the Supreme Court passing on the opportunity to set a national precedent. However, in a 4-4 scenario, the Court can also opt to postpone the case, and hear it again when a ninth justice has been added. And then, of course, there’s the scenario pro-choice activists hope for and pro-life activists fear: Justice Anthony Kennedy, known for his independent streak, joins with the four liberal justices to bring a 5-3 decision against the Texas law.
- The conservative side of the High Court is now left without its intellectual leader, and as the eight remaining justices prepare to hear a key case on a controversial topic, Scalia’s loss will be felt profoundly in the lack of certainty as to how this case will end up.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule President Obama has two events on his public schedule today, both to honor different groups of people:
- At 12:10pm, the President will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office, receiving the credentials of the newly-minted Ambassadors of Malta, Andorra, Italy, and Canada to the United States. This traditional ceremony of a foreign Ambassador’s credentials being presented to the President marks the official start of an Ambassador’s service.
- At 3:10pm, Obama will hold an East Room event to honor the Alabama Crimson Tide for their 2015-2016 College Football Playoff National Championship title.
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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