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Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee’s candidacy — from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business — foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Trump more than anything else.

Roughly two in three Americans say they think Trump is unqualified to lead the nation; are anxious about the idea of him as president; believe his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; and see his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican American heritage as racist.

A slimmer majority say they disapprove of the way Clinton has handled questions about her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state, and half of Americans are anxious about the prospect of a Clinton presidency, underscoring the historic unpopularity of the two major-party candidates.

[Democrats see danger signs in states where Clinton has not fully engaged]

In fact, so strong is many Americans’ opposition to Clinton and desire for a change in Washington that even some registering their disapproval of Trump say that as of now they feel compelled to vote for him.

Nevertheless, in a head-to-head general election matchup, Clinton leads Trump 51 percent to 39 percent among registered voters nationwide, the poll found. This is Clinton’s largest lead in Post-ABC polling since last fall and a dramatic reversal from last month’s survey, which found the race nearly even, with Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 44 percent.

[May poll: Election 2016 shapes up as a contest of negatives]

As the hard-fought general election gets underway, Trump’s political standing is on dangerous ground. Fifty-six percent of the public at large say the celebrity business mogul stands against their beliefs, while 64 percent say he does not have the necessary credentials to be president. Fifty-six percent feel strongly that he is unqualified.

Nearly one-third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump is unqualified for office, and 18 percent say he does not represent their beliefs, exposing deep fissures in the GOP base as Trump struggles to unite conservatives going into next month’s national convention in Cleveland.

Then there are the Americans who plan to vote for him despite their disapproval. For instance, 18 percent of people who found Trump’s comments about the judge racist, 15 percent of those who think his comments generally are biased against women, minorities or Muslims, and 11 percent of those who think he is unqualified say they support Trump over Clinton.

Trump enjoys a big lead with those who want a new direction for the country, 64 percent to Clinton’s 26 percent. After eight years of President Obama, a majority of Americans, 56 percent, say they want to elect a president who can set the nation in a new direction. Forty-seven percent say they feel so strongly.

The poll, conducted in the immediate aftermath of a massacre in Orlando that was perpetrated by a man who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, showed Obama’s approval rating at 56 percent — its highest level in Post polling since May 2011, after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Obama is more popular now than Republicans George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush in the waning months of their presidencies. Although Obama’s approval rating has not reached the level of former Democratic president Bill Clinton’s in 2000, his standing suggests that he could be a relatively effective surrogate for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

The survey of 1,001 randomly selected adults found a slight uptick in the share of people who identify as Democrats, from 33 percent in May’s poll to 36 percent this month. Self-described Republicans accounted for 24 percent of those polled this month, ticking down from 25 percent in May, while independents made up 33 percent. This shift in party identification, however, accounts for less than half of Clinton’s gains in the new poll.

In May, Trump was more competitive with Clinton because he had just secured the Republican nomination and the party’s electorate was coalescing around his candidacy. Clinton’s unfavorable ratings among registered voters tied their record high last month, matching Trump’s at 57 percent and weighing her down.

But that dynamic reversed over the past month, with Democrats unifying behind Clinton and Republicans expressing fresh doubts about Trump. While 88 percent of Democrats or Democrat-leaning independents say they support Clinton, a smaller 79 percent of Republican-leaning voters back Trump.

And there is evidence in the poll that the emergence of Trump as the Republican Party’s standard bearer has pushed some GOP voters out of the fold. Just 69 percent of self-identified Republicans who supported a candidate other than Trump in the primary say they now support Trump; 13 percent say they back Clinton, while 11 percent volunteer “neither.”

There is also little evidence that Trump is winning over Democratic primary voters. On the campaign trail in recent weeks, Trump has made direct appeals to disaffected supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But the poll finds that just 8 percent of voters who backed Sanders in the primaries say they support Trump, down from 20 percent in May.

A 61 percent majority of all Americans say Clinton is qualified to serve, while Clinton maintains a 2-to-1 advantage on which candidate has the best personality and temperament to be president.

The poll finds that 66 percent saying Trump’s controversial comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; 68 percent say Trump’s criticisms of Judge Gonzalo Curiel were racist; and 85 percent say the comments were inappropriate.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 36 percent say Trump’s comments show he is unfairly biased toward certain groups while 39 percent say the Curiel comments were racist and 71 percent say they were inappropriate.

With such broad public disapproval of Trump’s controversial comments, Republican elected officials have awkwardly tiptoed around their likely nominee. Trump has chastised fellow party leaders when they have distanced themselves or denounced his comments.

The poll found that 62 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents want GOP leaders to speak out against Trump when they disagree with his views, while 35 percent think they should avoid criticizing him.

The June 12 shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people and the gunman, tested both Clinton and Trump, who took divergent approaches with their responses, both temperamentally and substantively.

[Trump pushes expanded ban on Muslims and other foreigners]

By a margin of 18 percentage points, more Americans say Clinton had the better overall response than Trump, though a significant share, 26 percent, had no preference. The survey found no increase in support for temporarily banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the United States, one of Trump’s signature proposals. Forty-three percent of Americans support the Muslim ban while 52 percent oppose it.

Clinton’s support has risen significantly among male registered voters, jumping 11 percentage points since May to tie with Trump’s at 45 percent. Trump’s support fell by 11 percentage points among men overall and by 10 percentage points among white men specifically, a bloc with which he still enjoys a substantial advantage over Clinton.

Although Trump leads Clinton among white voters overall, 50 percent to 40 percent, he trails her badly among nonwhite voters, 77 percent to 15 percent. His is the smallest Republican advantage with whites for a Republican presidential candidate since 1996, when Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in a rout.

Clinton leads Trump among voters of all age groups, but the poll shows her with her greatest advantage, 54 percent to 34 percent, among those ages 18 to 39.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted June 20-23 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults reached on cellular and landline phones. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

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(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Four gun control proposals failed in Senate votes Monday — not a good sign for those who want to tighten our nation’s gun laws after Orlando.

But there may be one last chance for some sort of deal to emerge. It comes from one of the Senate’s most moderate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine, who will officially unveil her proposal Tuesday afternoon. We’re unclear how much support it will have, but at the very least, it looks like both sides in a very divided Senate are willing to hear her out.

Here’s what we know about the Collins compromise — and why she’s proposing it.

What’s in it?

Right now, anyone on the FBI’s various terrorist watch lists can legally buy a gun. Senate Republicans and Democrats both agree that suspected terrorists shouldn’t be able to do that, but they’re split on whether to let the attorney general ban people from buying guns before or after the courts have a chance to weigh in.

Instead of preventing people on the various FBI’s terrorist watch lists from buying a gun as Democrats want, Collins’s proposal would allow the attorney general to prevent people on two specific lists from buying a weapon. (It’s unclear exactly many lists there are — for obvious reasons.)

The FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist reportedly had over 800,000 names on it in 2014. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub June 12, was once one of those names. Here’s what you need to know about the Watchlist. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Both lists deal with a person’s rights at the airport. If you’re on the no-fly list, you can’t board an airplane. If you’re on the selectee list, you get extra security screening when you try to board a plane. (Orlando killer Omar Mateen was on the selectee list for a time.) And if you fit the criteria for being on those lists — but for some reason the FBI never put you on it — the attorney general could also ban you from buying a gun.

Under Collins’s proposal, the attorney general doesn’t have to go to court first to prove you’re a suspected terrorist (as Republicans want). But if you are on these lists and are denied your right to buy a gun, you can challenge it afterward. And if you win, the government has to pay your legal costs.

[Ex-cop urges ‘lone wolf patriots’ to attack Black Lives Matter activists at GOP convention]

Why these lists? Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said it’s because they’re the most serious of the FBI’s watch lists. “There are no Bubbas on this list,” he told reporters Monday. “If you’re on this list, it’s not because you went to a tea party rally or you’ve got a political ax for the president or you’re a liberal. You’re on this list because you’re doing things that unnerve the FBI to the point that you can’t fly on an airplane.”

One more thing: Collins’s proposal also would require the FBI to notify law enforcement if someone who had been on the terrorist watch lists in the past five years buys a gun. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t buy a gun, but at least law enforcement would know when someone who was once considered suspect did.

Why is this a compromise?

Collins’s proposal isn’t exactly what Democrats want (they don’t like the idea of working with just two terrorist watch lists) or what Republicans want (they don’t like the idea of barring a person from buying a gun first, then offering legal recourse later).

“Her alternative is not enough to close the loophole that creates this terror gap,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday, according to The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian.

What are its chances?

Unclear. As with any real attempt at compromise, neither side seems thrilled with the outcome. But neither side is a hard no either.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that he’s waiting to see if Collins’s proposal could “drum up the 20 votes or so” from Republicans to get the estimated 60 votes it needs to actually pass. (A Republican version of the terrorist watch list proposal failed 53 to 47 on Monday, and a Democratic version failed 47 to 53.)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was withholding judgment until the bill was actually released.

So far, leading gun control groups and the National Rifle Association have been silent on it, too.

It seems like the only ones talking about Collins’s proposal are moderate lawmakers in both parties:

Maybe some movement on guns in Senate
Collins R
Heitkamp D
Ayotte R
Heinrich D
Flake R
King I
Graham R
Kaine D
Set to announce bill 1:45

— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) June 21, 2016

Senator Collins and I have drafted legislation that we believe can gain support of both parties and pass the Senate. It’s a real solution

— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) June 20, 2016

Huge caveat here: We’re only talking about the proposal’s prognosis in one chamber. Over in the more conservative House of Representatives, Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated he may not support restricting gun purchases to people on any terror watch list.

Unless Ryan’s position changes, it’s very hard to see how this proposal — even if it passes the Senate — becomes law.

What does this all mean in the context of gun control?

That passing any new gun control laws is still really, really difficult. And that any potential compromise will have to be narrow enough to squeak through without upsetting the powers that be on either side of the debate.

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(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Four gun control proposals failed in Senate votes Monday — not a good sign for those who want to tighten our nation’s gun laws after Orlando.

But there may be one last chance for some sort of deal to emerge. It comes from one of the Senate’s most moderate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine, who will officially unveil her proposal Tuesday afternoon. We’re unclear how much support it will have, but at the very least, it looks like both sides in a very divided Senate are willing to hear her out.

Here’s what we know about the Collins compromise — and why she’s proposing it.

What’s in it?

Right now, anyone on the FBI’s various terrorist watch lists can legally buy a gun. Senate Republicans and Democrats both agree that suspected terrorists shouldn’t be able to do that, but they’re split on whether to let the attorney general ban people from buying guns before or after the courts have a chance to weigh in.

Instead of preventing people on the various FBI’s terrorist watch lists from buying a gun as Democrats want, Collins’s proposal would allow the attorney general to prevent people on two specific lists from buying a weapon. (It’s unclear exactly many lists there are — for obvious reasons.)

The FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist reportedly had over 800,000 names on it in 2014. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub June 12, was once one of those names. Here’s what you need to know about the Watchlist. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Both lists deal with a person’s rights at the airport. If you’re on the no-fly list, you can’t board an airplane. If you’re on the selectee list, you get extra security screening when you try to board a plane. (Orlando killer Omar Mateen was on the selectee list for a time.) And if you fit the criteria for being on those lists — but for some reason the FBI never put you on it — the attorney general could also ban you from buying a gun.

Under Collins’s proposal, the attorney general doesn’t have to go to court first to prove you’re a suspected terrorist (as Republicans want). But if you are on these lists and are denied your right to buy a gun, you can challenge it afterward. And if you win, the government has to pay your legal costs.

[Ex-cop urges ‘lone wolf patriots’ to attack Black Lives Matter activists at GOP convention]

Why these lists? Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said it’s because they’re the most serious of the FBI’s watch lists. “There are no Bubbas on this list,” he told reporters Monday. “If you’re on this list, it’s not because you went to a tea party rally or you’ve got a political ax for the president or you’re a liberal. You’re on this list because you’re doing things that unnerve the FBI to the point that you can’t fly on an airplane.”

One more thing: Collins’s proposal also would require the FBI to notify law enforcement if someone who had been on the terrorist watch lists in the past five years buys a gun. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t buy a gun, but at least law enforcement would know when someone who was once considered suspect did.

Why is this a compromise?

Collins’s proposal isn’t exactly what Democrats want (they don’t like the idea of working with just two terrorist watch lists) or what Republicans want (they don’t like the idea of barring a person from buying a gun first, then offering legal recourse later).

“Her alternative is not enough to close the loophole that creates this terror gap,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday, according to The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian.

What are its chances?

Unclear. As with any real attempt at compromise, neither side seems thrilled with the outcome. But neither side is a hard no either.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that he’s waiting to see if Collins’s proposal could “drum up the 20 votes or so” from Republicans to get the estimated 60 votes it needs to actually pass. (A Republican version of the terrorist watch list proposal failed 53 to 47 on Monday, and a Democratic version failed 47 to 53.)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was withholding judgment until the bill was actually released.

So far, leading gun control groups and the National Rifle Association have been silent on it, too.

It seems like the only ones talking about Collins’s proposal are moderate lawmakers in both parties:

Maybe some movement on guns in Senate
Collins R
Heitkamp D
Ayotte R
Heinrich D
Flake R
King I
Graham R
Kaine D
Set to announce bill 1:45

— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) June 21, 2016

Senator Collins and I have drafted legislation that we believe can gain support of both parties and pass the Senate. It’s a real solution

— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) June 20, 2016

Huge caveat here: We’re only talking about the proposal’s prognosis in one chamber. Over in the more conservative House of Representatives, Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated he may not support restricting gun purchases to people on any terror watch list.

Unless Ryan’s position changes, it’s very hard to see how this proposal — even if it passes the Senate — becomes law.

What does this all mean in the context of gun control?

That passing any new gun control laws is still really, really difficult. And that any potential compromise will have to be narrow enough to squeak through without upsetting the powers that be on either side of the debate.

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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The U.S. Treasury has decided to put African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 bill, replacing former president Andrew Jackson, who will be moved to the back of the bill, Treasury officials said Wednesday. Former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton will remain on the front of the new $10 bill, officials said, after the Treasury department encountered fierce opposition to its initial plan to remove the founding father to make way for a woman to appear on the paper currency.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will announce decisions regarding several bills on Wednesday, officials said. The Treasury Department hopes to release the design concept for the new bills by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the United States.

Citing unnamed sources, CNN reported April 16 that the soonest the new $20 bill would be issued is 2030. The news prompted a backlash on Twitter, with supporters of the campaign to put a woman on a bill arguing that women had waited long enough. However, a Treasury spokesman called the speculation that the new $20 would not appear until 2030 “baseless,” saying that Treasury is working with other government departments to expedite the process, and it’s too early to say when the release date will be.

Lew announced in June 2015 that the Treasury was considering removing Hamilton from the $10 bill, to allow a woman to appear on the front of a paper note for the first time since Martha Washington was taken off the $1 silver certificate. The $10 bill was already slated for a redesign in 2020. The bills are regularly reworked to prevent counterfeiting.

The Treasury was moved in part by a viral campaign in early 2015 to put a woman’s portrait on the new $20 bill in 2020, to mark the centennial of women’s suffrage. The group “Women on $20s” received more than 600,000 online and in-person votes for a choice of 15 American women, including Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt. Tubman received the most votes.

“Women on 20s,” a campaign started earlier this year that has since inspired bills in the House and the Senate, is trying to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on $20 bills. (WomenOn20s.org)

But the Treasury’s announcement drew a backlash from supporters of Hamilton, who, as an aide to George Washington and the first secretary of the treasury, helped erect the U.S. economic and banking system. Hamilton has gained notoriety in recent years due to the success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway play, which earlier this week won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The debate sparked a grass-roots movement to instead remove Jackson, a slave owner whose divisive presidency included removing several Native American tribes from their lands in the South, from the $20 bill. Some point out that Jackson also opposed paper currency, in favor of gold and silver.

Supporters greeted the choice of Tubman, who helped bring dozens of slaves to freedom in her lifetime through the network of abolitionists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. “A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman,” Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter.

A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman: https://t.co/YcsZC4ZrKg -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 20, 2016

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who introduced legislation last year in support of the campaign to put a woman on the $20, released a statement saying that the move would send a powerful message about the important role women have played in U.S. history. “Women have waited long enough, and I will urge the Treasury Department to look at every possible option to expedite the release date of this new bill,” she said.

Ben Bernanke, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve and a proponent of keeping Hamilton on the currency, applauded the news in a blog post. “Tubman is an excellent and deserving choice, and no one has a better claim to be represented on the currency than Hamilton, who did so much to help establish the American economic system we know today,” he wrote.

This post has been updated.

See also:

As Treasury rethinks the $10 bill, an online victory could turn into defeat

This group wants to banish Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill

Could the Broadway smash ‘Hamilton’ help keep a woman’s face off the front of the $10 bill?

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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The U.S. Treasury has decided to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the new $10 bill, after encountering fierce opposition to its plans to replace the founding father with a woman, Treasury officials said Tuesday. The Treasury will feature the portrait of African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, which now features former president Andrew Jackson, officials said.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will announce decisions regarding several bills on Wednesday, officials said.

Last summer, Lew announced that the Treasury was considering removing Hamilton from the $10 bill, to allow a woman to appear on the front of the currency for the first time since Martha Washington was taken off the $1 silver certificate.

The Treasury was moved in part by a viral campaign in early 2015 to put a woman’s portrait on the new $20 bill in 2020, to mark the 100 year anniversary of women’s right to vote. The group “Women on $20s” received more than 600,000 online and in person votes a choice of 15 different women. Tubman received the most votes.

“Women on 20s,” a campaign started earlier this year that has since inspired bills in the House and the Senate, is trying to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on $20 bills. (WomenOn20s.org)

Treasury announced plans in June 2015 to honor a woman on the $10 bill, which was already slated for a redesign in 2020. The bills are regularly reworked to stop counterfeiting.

The campaign drew a backlash from supporters of Hamilton, who, as an aide to George Washington and the first secretary of the Treasury, helped erect the U.S. economic and banking system. Hamilton has gained notoriety in recent years due to the success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway play.

The debate sparked a grassroots movement to remove Jackson, a slave owner whose divisive presidency included removing several Native American tribes from their lands in the South, from the $20 bill. Some point out that Jackson also opposed paper currency in favor of gold and silver.

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Story highlights

  • Attacks on popular Gov. Scott Walker are hurting Trump with GOP voters
  • The Wisconsin “establishment” is popular in inside the state
“Your governor came out, he was expected to win and we sent him packing like a little boy,” Trump said during an interview with radio host Michael Koolidge last Tuesday, on the same morning Walker announced he would back Trump rival Ted Cruz.
Trump’s decision to repeatedly attack Walker has angered large portions of the party base and left many political analysts dumbfounded. Despite his early exit from the national contest, the governor remains an immensely popular figure among Wisconsin Republicans, with eight-in-ten approving of the job he’s done as governor.
“I don’t think Donald Trump respects the voters of Wisconsin,” Brandon Scholz, a long-time Republican strategist and lobbyist in the state, said on Monday. “He’s clueless.”
Where Trump has generally found success blustering into states as varied as Michigan and Arizona, quickly winning over disaffected Republicans with his anti-establishment message and raucous political theater, Wisconsin has proven a tougher nut to crack. Hardened by more than five years of pitched battles over labor rights and a 2011 recall election, Trump’s rhetoric is being met here with more skeptical ears.
And a GOP voter base which, unlike so many others, holds its state leaders — people like Walker, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin native RNC chairman Reince Priebus — in high regard.
If taking shots at Walker, as Trump did during an event in Janesville last week, was part of his strategy for the state, Scholz added, then it represents a terrible miscalculation.
“Maybe in his mind and some others this is a political tactic, that they can get people engaged and thinking that there’s a lot of anti-Walker Republicans — which there aren’t, he’s got an 80% approval rating — then maybe (Trump) can, as he does in other places, get his earned media that way,” he said. “But it’s backfired, it’s backfired terribly.”
Scholz, who is unaligned in 2016, also questioned Trump’s decision last week to visit the city, home to popular House Speaker Ryan.
“You don’t poke Ryan in the eye,” he said, noting the speaker’s rare popularity with both very conservative and moderate Republicans. “That’s just stupid.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding their strategy.

Revenge of the establishment?

The most recent horse race numbers show Cruz surging, with a 10-point lead in the respected Marquette Law School poll. Trump, meanwhile, is stuck on 30% support among likely GOP voters, the same as in February, when then-fellow candidates Marco Rubio and Ben Carson were still in the race.
Among those backing Cruz is Tim Felski, a 52-year-old bus driver, who concedes that, on paper at least, he fits the bill for what one might expect in a Trump supporter — white, middle-aged, middle-income and a lifelong Republican.
But Trump, he said on Sunday, is “too out there for me. Too fanatical, too loose with the lips, just doesn’t do it for me.”

“I don’t want somebody like that, who I just don’t know what he’s going to do from day-to-day,” said Felski, an active Milwaukee County Republican and friend of Walker’s going back to their undergrad days at Marquette University. “He seems like he’s more into this for egoistical reasons and not because he wants to run the nation in the best way possible.”
Now, Trump’s decision not to play ball with Republican leaders in a state where the party controls all three branches of government is poised to hurt him with the grassroots.
“He has never worked elites in the state,” said Barry Burden, the director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center. “He has no endorsements, essentially, from any state legislators. He’s tried to talk to conservative talk radio earlier this week, and that was a failure.”

Conservative radio takes on Trump

Wisconsin’s right-wing radio hosts have been among Trump’s most eager and organized opponents. Last week, the real estate mogul walked into a buzzsaw when he went on the air with Charlie Sykes, a host on WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee and vocal member of the “Never Trump” movement.
“Nobody snapped him up and said, ‘Hey, by the way, this guy’s hashtag Never Trump?'” Brandon Scholz asked incredulously, pointing to the incident as still more evidence to underline the campaign’s lack of knowledge about the state.
Jerry Bader, another top talker on Wisconsin’s radio scene, told CNN’s Michael Smerconish this weekend that he viewed Trump’s recent abortion flap — the candidate lurched from talk of punishing women who seek the procedure to a vaguer promise to reverse the current law through judicial appointments — as a strong signal that the leading Republican presidential candidate lacked real conservative credentials.
“The beef with Donald Trump is he’s not real, he’s not pro-life. He has no idea what the pro-life answer should be,” Bader said. “He is trying to figure out what a conservative should sound like. That’s why he blows in the wind, that’s why there’s no substance there. That’s our beef with him, besides his boorish, childish, playground behavior.”

Wisconsin’s long memory

Questions surrounding Trump’s demeanor and attitude toward GOP leadership — the same that worry the political class nationally — were on display Sunday at Buck Bradley’s Saloon in Milwaukee, where residents of the more conservative suburbs streamed in and out ahead of sporting events at the nearby BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Tending the upstairs bar that afternoon, Juston Edwards, 32, a Janesville native who recently received an MBA in finance, suggested that Wisconsin voters have a longer memory than others — likely to Trump’s detriment.
“People here are engaged, so they get upset, the conservatives do, when you attack the governor,” he said, making reference to Trump’s lukewarm comments about Walker during the 2011 public sector union fight.
“He’s done so much for the tea party movement, he’s done so much for the party, he’s done so much to put conservative values to the test — taxes, cutting the budget, cutting waste — he’s done exactly everything that they wanted him to do,” Edwards said. “So when you have a guy like Trump who criticizes all that, people get upset.”

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By Scott Bauer | AP,

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, in his first joint appearance with former presidential rival Ted Cruz, implored hundreds of Republican Party activists and insiders on Friday to back the Texas senator, saying a win for him next week will change momentum in the race and unite the party.

Cruz, who called Walker a “rock star,” hugged the two-term governor as he took the stage at an event just four days before Wisconsin’s primary. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaking on behalf of Donald Trump, also attended the Milwaukee County GOP dinner.

Cruz won Walker’s endorsement Monday, giving him a boost as he looks to win Wisconsin and its 42 delegates. Walker planned to campaign with Cruz across the state Sunday.

Cruz noted that Walker is one of five former Republican presidential candidates who are now backing his campaign. The others are Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham.

“That is the very real manifestation of the unity we need across this country,” he said. “If we are divided, we will lose the primary and hand the general election to Hillary Clinton.”

Cruz said nominating Trump would be a “train wreck.”

“That’s actually not fair to train wrecks,” Cruz said. “Nominating Donald Trump elects Hillary Clinton.”

In his speech at the same event, Kasich cast himself as an independent-minded Republican, saying he understands the frustration felt by Trump backers.

“The Republican Party has been my vehicle and not my master,” Kasich said. “I’ve never wanted to be a professional politician — in fact, I don’t even like politics.”

Kasich, whose only primary victory has come in his home state of Ohio, is hoping to survive the primary season and win the nomination at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.

“We are going to have a contested convention,” said former four-term Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson when he introduced Kasich, noting that Abraham Lincoln won the nomination 156 years ago going into the convention as the underdog.

Palin called for Republicans to unify behind Trump’s candidacy. She said he is the only candidate who understands that “common sense is an endangered species in Washington.” She also touted Trump as the only candidate who has created private-sector jobs, saying, “He builds big things.”

There were some chuckles in the crowd when Palin said Trump is the only one who “talks rationally” about foreign policy and national security.

It’s been a rough week for Trump in Wisconsin. He’s had to defend his campaign manager after he was charged with an altercation with a female reporter, backtracked from comments that women should be punished for having abortions, stumbled through three interviews with unfriendly conservative Wisconsin talk radio hosts and watched Cruz leapfrog him in public polling.

The anti-Trump forces have been working to stop the billionaire businessman in Wisconsin, a state that will help determine whether he can emerge from the primaries with enough delegates to avoid a contested convention. Wisconsin awards 18 delegates to the statewide winner, and divides 24 delegates among the winner in each eight congressional districts.

If Cruz sweeps all the delegates in Wisconsin, Trump will need to win 57 percent of the remaining delegates in other states to collect the 1,237 he needs to clinch the nomination. So far, he has won 48 percent of all delegates awarded.

___

Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sbauerAP and find more of his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/scott-bauer

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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A live radio feed of Scott Walker’s endorsement of Ted Cruz played before Cruz’s rally at the arts center in Brookfield, Wis., yesterday. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

THE BIG IDEA:

When Scott Walker called into a Milwaukee AM radio station yesterday to endorse Ted Cruz, the Wisconsin governor carefully avoided taking direct shots at Donald Trump.

Radio host Charlie Sykes, a Cruz supporter who had a testy interview with Trump the day before, tried to bait Walker into going after the front-runner. He asked him about The Donald’s nasty attacks on Heidi Cruz. The governor blamed “the media” for the spat and then pivoted back to praising Cruz.

Sykes, who has been one of Walker’s biggest boosters since he was Milwaukee County executive, then asked about Trump’s attacks on the governor’s economic record. Even then, Walker demurred. “Those are the talking points, unfortunately, of the left,” he said.

It was quite a contrast to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, who went out of their way when backing Cruz to say that Trump is a toxic force who must be stopped for the good of the party.

Scott Walker (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

The difference with Mitt and Jeb is that Walker has future political ambitions, including running for reelection as governor in 2018 and maybe running for president again in 2020.

Walker’s popularity took a big hit during his presidential campaign last year. He’s spent the past six months traveling the state trying to show that he is primarily focused on parochial issues. He may not run for a third term in two years if his overall approval rating stays mired in the high 30s.

Among Republicans, the governor’s approval rating remains in the high 70s, according to recent public polling. But he risks alienating some of his base– Trump supporters in western Wisconsin and the pivotal Fox Valley – if he antagonizes him too much.

Gubernatorial endorsements have had historically little sway this year. Walker does not want to look like he has no juice in his home state, and he probably would have stayed on the sidelines if he had concluded Cruz could not prevail next week. But he believes the Texan has momentum and that his support might put him over the top. In that case, he’d look like a kingmaker – and could potentially be on Cruz’s short list for VP.

The 48-year-old is also a total political animal. Genuinely, he is still a grassroots activist and junkie at heart. He couldn’t help but come out for someone. And he is eager to appear with Cruz at some point in the coming days. Their camps are working out logistics.

Trump holds a town hall yesterday in Janesville. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

— All that said, wearing kid gloves didn’t stop Trump from attacking Walker: The front-runner blamed the governor for losing manufacturing jobs and for a declining labor force participation rate. “He’s not doing a great job,” Trump said in Janesville. “He certainly can’t endorse me after what I did to him in the race.” He added that, if he wins Wisconsin, the race for the nomination “is going to be pretty much over.”

To show how sensitive Walker is to being attacked by Trump, he responded in real time to these attacks. One again, though, he merely defended his own record and opted not to counter-punch:

In 2015, 36 states had worse unemployment rates than in 2007. 4 states were same. WI was 1 of just 10 with better rate.

— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) March 29, 2016

Latest jobs report shows Wisconsin added 8,000 private sector jobs in January. Up 35,300 jobs over the year.

— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) March 29, 2016

Walker, like Cruz, also has praised Trump in the past. The governor gave the billionaire a plaque for cutting checks to help him survive the 2012 recall effort. (Trump joked last night that he’ll try to bring the token of appreciation with him on his next trip to the Badger State…) So if he hit too hard, he’d open himself up to being criticized as a hypocrite.

Not to mention, Walker went to Trump Tower just 13 months ago — in February 2015 — to seek out his support for his own presidential campaign. The two had a friendly 45-minute sit-down. (No one thought Trump would actually get into the race at that point.) The billionaire called me immediately after that meeting and heaped praise on Walker.

Endorsing Cruz just one week out from the April 5th primary also means Walker will bear the brunt of Trump’s ire for fewer news cycles than if he had come out weeks ago.

The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes argues that the governor does not need to go too negative on Trump because “there is a certain level of sophistication” among voters in Wisconsin. “Even if Walker didn’t make that argument as explicitly as he might have, I think that argument is there,” Hayes said in an interview for a podcast.

Cruz speaks to a crowd in Brookfield immediately after Walker’s announcement. (Reuters/Ben Brewer)

Shots fired—

1. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who supports Kasich, was dismissive of Walker’s endorsement. “I don’t know what’s so surprising about it,” he told Dave Weigel before Walker made it official. “I’m sure Ted Cruz is going to help him pay off his campaign debt, and I think he wants to be a player in Ted Cruz’s campaign. I can understand where the governor is coming from. I don’t think it’s going to mean much.”

2. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which has been a consistent pain in Walker’s side throughout his career, endorsed Kasich yesterday. The editorial contrasted the two. “What impresses us most about Kasich is his independence,” the editorial board explained. “Unlike Gov. Walker … Kasich decided to take the additional Medicaid funding that came as part of the Affordable Care Act. … Kasich has repeatedly done what he thought was right for his state and changed course when he had to. Case in point: Kasich and Walker both were elected in 2011. Both signed bills to limit collective bargaining for public workers that year. But Ohio voters promptly overturned their law by a wide margin in a referendum that November. Kasich noted that ‘we got whupped’ and quickly pivoted, finding ways to work with unions instead of crushing them.”

To be sure, the incumbent governor’s endorsement matters a heck of a lot more in a GOP primary than the Journal Sentinel’s. Walker backing Cruz, instead of a fellow Midwestern governor, is undoubtedly a blow to Kasich’s hopes. (Cruz’s super PAC announced plans last night to spend $500,000 attacking Kasich in the Badger State before next Tuesday.) Knowing he cannot win outright at this point, the Ohioan’s strategy now is to win a couple of the congressional districts so he ends up with a bunch of delegates. (Weigel explains how that works.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Trump, Cruz and Kasich each came to the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee for a CNN town hall. (Tannen Maury/EPA)

— Each of the three remaining Republican candidates backed away from his earlier pledge to support the eventual nominee during a CNN town hall last night: “Trump, Cruz, and Kasich were each given a chance during the night to say, definitively, that they would support the party nominee. All three declined … ‘No, I don’t anymore,’ Trump said, adding that he would instead ‘wait to see’ who emerges as the nominee before promising his support, recanting the pledge he previously signed with the RNC. ‘I have been treated very unfairly,’ said Trump. Cruz also declined to pledge support for the nominee: ‘I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and family,’ he said. And Kasich said he would ‘see what happens’ in the race before he could answer the question.” (Jose A. DelReal and Sean Sullivan)

Cruz again accused Trump of planting a National Enquirer report alleging he had five affairs: “The story quoted one person: Roger Stone. Stone has been Donald Trump’s chief political adviser, he’s been his hatchet man. The head of the National Enquirer, a guy named David Pecker, is good friends with Donald.”

The Texas senator defended his calls to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods following the Brussels attacks: He said there is a difference between Islam and Islamism, “a political and theoretical philosophy commanding its adherents to wage violent jihad.” (CNN)

Trump, who appeared at the town hall despite threats not to do so earlier in the day, defended retweeting a side-by-side picture of his wife and Cruz’s. “I thought it was a nice picture of Heidi,” he said. 

The billionaire also said he thinks the top roles of the federal government are security, health care and education. Then, a moment later, he called for eliminating the federal Department of Education.

Kasich, for his part, dismissed rumors that he is coordinating with Cruz’s campaign. “No, no, I’m not involved in all that process stuff,” said the Ohio governor. “Campaigns always talk … but I haven’t seen Ted since the last debate.”

If you missed it, here’s a 3-minute recap of the event from our video team:

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. The U.S. told the families of U.S. troops and diplomats to leave Turkey, citing rising security concerns about the Islamic State. Officials said travel in the area has been reduced to “mission critical” only. (Dan Lamothe)
  2. House Republicans unveiled legislation allowing Puerto Rico to restructure some of its $70 billion in debt. Under the “discussion draft,” the commonwealth would not declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy, but instead enter into a court-supervised debt restructuring program. (Mike DeBonis)
  3. Janet Yellen said the Fed should move “cautiously” in raising interest rates amidst a weak global economy, expressing confidence that the U.S. recovery remains on track. (Ylan Q. Mui)
  4. Brazil’s largest party abandoned President Dilma Rousseff’s governing coalition, moving the widely unpopular leader closer to impeachment for allegations of corruption and widespread fiscal irregularities. (Dom Phillips)

  5. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is defending its decision to include two items related to Bill Cosby without mentioning the accusations of rape against him. (Peggy McGlone)

  6. Terminix agreed to pay $10 million for illegally using a toxic chemical in their pest control services, sickening and nearly killing a Delaware family. (USA Today)
  7. The Mississippi House passed a bill allowing the use of firing squads for state executions in cases where lethal injection is either not available or “has become too costly.” The governor has voiced support for the measure. (Guns.com)
  8. A nurse was forced to surrender her license after snapping illicit photos of unconscious patients’ body parts and sending them to coworkers. The 27-year-old nurse will not go to jail or be convicted of a felony as part of a plea deal. (Peter Holley)
  9. Five former members of the University of Virginia swim team settled a hazing-related lawsuit. The upperclassmen allegedly bullied incoming freshman for several hours in 2014, threatening sodomy and forcing them to consume live goldfish during the initiation rites. (T. Rees Shapiro)
  10. A woman in Everett, Wash., discovered a newborn discarded in the trash compactor at an apartment complex. Authorities said they expect the baby to survive. (Peter Holley)
  11. A 4-year-old girl was decapitated at a train station in broad daylight. She was on her bicycle next to her mother in Taipei when a psychotic man grabbed her from behind, and using a cleaver, chopped her head off. (Elahe Izadi)

  12. The Archdiocese of New York is auctioning off a Popemobile used by Francis when he visited the city earlier this year. Bidding has reached $130,000 – “over $100,000 more than the car’s listing price.” (New York Times)

Trump in Wisconsin (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

— Trump continued to vigorously defend his campaign manager after he was charged with) battery in Florida. Corey Lewandowski, 42, faces one misdemeanor count related to grabbing Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a press conference (Lewandowski said he was innocent of the charges). In an interview with Sean Hannity last night, the candidate said he saw “virtually nothing” in surveillance tape footage released by police and again went after the victim. “She said he threw her to the ground … what ground? Her face expression didn’t even change.” The GOP front-runner asserted once again that Fields grabbed him first, saying she “had something in her hand – it looked like it could have been a pen, but who knows. So she grabs me, he maybe brushes her aside … We’re going to destroy his life for that? I don’t think so.”

Fields canceled a scheduled appearance on Fox, telling host Megyn Kelly that she felt “very much under attack” but stands by her story.

“In the past, campaign staffers have been fired for far less,” David A. Fahrenthold and Wesley Lowery note on the front page of today’s Post. “It was an extreme example of Trump’s approach to campaigning, one apparently based on the idea that the only mistake in politics is to apologize. In this case, that approach seems to have backfired: By refusing to admit any fault, Trump and Lewandowski appeared to have transformed the grab of an arm into a weeks-long controversy, a criminal charge and a TV-ready illustration of how they have disregarded the truth.”

Coming attraction: Lewandowski’s court appearance is scheduled for May 4. “A spokesman for the Jupiter Police Department said Lewandowski was not handcuffed and did not have a mug shot taken. After being informed that he would be charged, police said, Lewandowski voluntarily went to police headquarters.”

Headline du jour: “Lewandowski’s Lawyer Resigned U.S. Attorney Job After Being Accused of Biting Stripper Named Tiffany.” ( Slate)

Cruz said the incident helps “clarify for the voters what the Trump campaign is all about.” At CNN’s town hall, he said: “It shouldn’t be complicated that members of the campaign staff should not be physically assaulting the press.” (Sean Sullivan)

Hillary Clinton praised Fields for pursuing charges, saying she “deserves a lot of credit for following through on the way she was manhandled.’” The former Secretary of State stopped short of calling for Lewandowski’s firing: “Every candidate has to be responsible for what happens in their campaign … and what Trump has been doing over these last months is inciting violent and aggressive behavior.” (Abby Phillip)

The Post’s Editorial Board says Trump’s defense of his manager “shows his lack of judgment“: “The brazen willingness to overlook fact and evidence, and the ease with which he countenances the smearing of a victim — these are not compatible with a presidential temperament.”

The police released this video showing very clearly that Lewandowski grabbed Fields — clear proof that he lied:

Victory press conference was over.
Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges? pic.twitter.com/qbW2RjkINX

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2016

Why is this reporter touching me as I leave news conference? What is in her hand?? pic.twitter.com/HQB8dl0fhn

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2016

Fields responded on Twitter:

Because my story never changed. Seriously, just stop lying. https://t.co/1fz9cBHOuT

— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) March 29, 2016

— Culture of violence? A 15-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed by a Trump supporter outside his rally in Janesville last night after she complained about being fondled (see below video) . Police say they are looking for two suspects for sexual assault and pepper-spraying.

Watch a disturbing 1-minute video here (with the warning that there is profanity):

THE SCALIA EFFECT:

Mark Kirk, who holds Obama’s old Senate seat, became the first Republican senator to meet with Merrick Garland. The moderate, who faces an almost impossible reelection battle, said there is a need for a “rational, adult, open-minded consideration.” (Mike DeBonis)

The reality of an ideologically divided, evenly split, one-man-down Supreme Court became apparent Tuesday,” Robert Barnes reports. The justices deadlocked on a major organized-labor case and tried to avoid a second stalemate by floating their own policy compromise on the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate … The actions underscored how [Antonin] Scalia’s death has upended business as usual at the Supreme Court, [and] provided a preview of the kind of tentative decisions that may be all the eight-member court can muster as it faces a docket filled with election-year controversies.” 

To be sure, the deadlock in the union case is a huge win for liberals. Without Scalia, the court could not overturn a precedent saying that unions can automatically collect fees from nonmembers. Before the justice’s sudden death, striking down the precedent seemed inevitable.

— Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she was “perplexed” by Mitch McConnell blocking Garland from getting a confirmation hearing. She said both Clinton and Trump would likely appoint more liberal – or in Trump’s case, controversial – picks. (Greg Sargent)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

— The man accused of brandishing a gun in the Capitol Visitor Center has a troubled past. From Dan Morse and Justin Jouvenal: “Nineteen months [ago], Larry Dawson sat before a panel in Nashville trying to explain why God called him to send sexually suggestive letters to a 15-year-old girl. At issue was whether the Tennessee Board of Funeral Directors should grant him a license … given that he once said he considered the girl to be the Virgin Mary and wanted her to have his baby. ‘As my faith was tested,’ Dawson said, ‘I kind of got into some problems.’ In the past, Dawson has worked as a pastor, car salesman, school bus driver and security guard — a history that is drawing attention after [Monday’s chaos]. At the 2014 hearing, members grilled Dawson about his record of criminal charges. ‘Anytime a minister is being led by God and he gives you a direct command to do something, it’s not up to you to do it or not to do it,’ Dawson said. The board denied Dawson’s request for a license.”

— MedStar Health patients were being turned away or treated without important computer records yesterday as the health-care giant worked to restore online systems crippled by a virus. By last night, staff could read — but not update — thousands of patient records in its central database, though other systems remained dark. From John Woodrow Cox: “MedStar officials have refused to characterize the attack as ‘ransomware,’ a virus used to hold systems hostage until victims pay for a key to regain access. But a number of employees reported seeing a pop-up message on their computer screens seeking payment in bitcoins, an Internet currency. One woman who works at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center sent The Washington Post an image of the ransom note, which demanded that the $5 billion health-care provider pay 45 bitcoins — equivalent to about $19,000 — in exchange for the digital key that would release the data.

— Pakistani officials launched a major offensive against suspected Islamist terrorists in Punjab province, where a suicide bomber killed more than 70 on Easter. More than 200 suspected militants were arrested in raids. Officials said they would continue monitoring thousands of religious schools in the region for suspicious activity, Annie Gowen and Shaiq Hussain

The scene at the hospital in Lahore: “Beside hospital cots, parents sat trying to soothe their shocked and confused children. Two of the children lay on beds beneath signs that said ‘unknown,’ because their parents were missing in the blast and staff had not yet connected with any relatives.”

MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:

Hillary Clinton campaigns yesterday at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church in Milwaukee. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

— Clinton held a campaign event to advocate for gun control in Milwaukee, appearing with the mother of Sandra Bland, whose daughter died in police custody after a routine traffic stop. “The leading cause of death of young African American men is homicide,” Clinton said during the emotional event. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.” (Abby Phillip)

— After being called chicken for several news cycles, Hillary’s spokesman said she is “perfectly willing” to debate Sanders in New York before the April 19 primary “if they can find a mutually agreeable date.” (Bloomberg)

A top Clinton aide said the campaign does not want her to debate Sanders because he’s been too negative. Chris Cillizza explains why this spin is “ridiculous”: “Ads aside, Sanders has totally avoided talking about Clinton’s private email server and the FBI and State Department investigations into it. In a genuinely negative or nasty campaign, Sanders would have spent most days this year slamming Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy for her initial decision to set up the private email and for her subsequent insistence that the server never needed to be turned over to a third party investigator … Meanwhile back here on Planet Earth, it’s clear why Clinton’s team isn’t super interested in debating Sanders in New York — or maybe anywhere else. She is winning the delegate race. And, barring some sort of catastrophe, she will continue to win it.”

— A new ad from the Clinton campaign, to air in New York through the primary, uses Trump as a foil. “It juxtaposes images of the state’s diversity against Clinton’s condemnation of Trump’s rhetoric,” Abby previews from NYC. “While Trump isn’t named, the ad prominently features a ‘Trump: coming 2016’ sign, similar to the ones that adorn his real estate projects. ‘New York. Twenty million people strong,’ Clinton says in the ad. ‘No, we don’t all look the same. We don’t all sound the same, either. But when we pull together, we do the biggest things in the world.’ As images of Muslim women in American flag headscarves, Spanish-speaking shop-tenders and New York City firefighters roll in the background, Clinton criticizes Trump’s proposals to build a wall at the Mexican border and ban all Muslims from entering the United States. At one point, video of a recent Trump rally where a black protestor was punched by a Trump supporter is also shown.” Watch:

— The Sanders campaign released two spots that call for breaking up the big banks:

THE FIGHT FOR DELEGATES:

— Sanders received unlikely backing from Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat who is “anti-abortion, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-gun control, in favor of the death penalty and a fiscal conservative.” The superdelegate endorsed Bernie because his district voted that way last month. “I’m voting my district,” Peterson said. “I’m going to vote for Bernie.” (Mic)

But, but, but: “David Wasserman, who tracks the delegate math for the Cook Political Report, calculates that even if you awarded Sanders all of the super-delegates in the states he has won so far, it would still not be enough to overcome Clinton’s lead among super-delegates,” per Greg Sargent. “That’s because many of the states that Sanders won are caucus states — with fewer super-delegates — while many of the states Clinton won have far more super-delegates.”

— Marco Rubio, trying to force a contested convention in order to stop Trump, sent letters to Republican officials in the states where he won a combined 171 delegates saying that he wants to hold onto them through the first ballot. “Alaska had already divvied up Rubio’s five delegates to Trump and Ted Cruz. However, since the actual people have not been selected yet, the state party said the delegates will go back to Rubio,” the AP reports. “In Oklahoma, state party Chairwoman Pam Pollard said she received a letter from Rubio saying he has not released his 12 delegates from that state. Selecting the people who will be delegates at the national convention is a tedious process governed by rules that vary from state to state. … In Minnesota, for example, Rubio won the state but his 17 delegates will go to the convention as free agents, free to support the candidate of their choice, said Chris Fields, deputy chair of the Minnesota GOP.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Widely ridiculed for saying she’d rather vote for Trump than Clinton, actress Susan Sarandon walked back her comments:

LOL that I would ever vote Trump. https://t.co/pnENMgmbvm

— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) March 29, 2016

GOP operatives in D.C. expressed disbelief about Trump’s defense of his manager:

This is embarrassing even for Trump. I mean, just when you think he can’t cross yet another line, he keeps doing it.

— Brian Walsh (@brianjameswalsh) March 30, 2016

But the left had a field day:

How did Lyin’ Lewandowski not realize there’d be surveillance footage when Trump owns the place? Dumb!

— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) March 29, 2016

From Obama’s 2008 manager:

A Presidential campaign manager’s job is to manage the circus. Not become one.

— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) March 29, 2016

This is an occasion when Republicans might say, “Hey, maybe it isn’t okay that 35% of our base is fine with battery on a female reporter.”

— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) March 29, 2016

So did the media:

Trump is an extremely effective reality-TV performer.

His temperament is also horrifying as potential commander in chief.

— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) March 30, 2016

“I’ve fired many people, especially on the Apprentice,” Trump says. “She wasn’t yanked down”

— Michael Tackett (@tackettdc) March 30, 2016

Hard to imagine if there is room for Trump’s numbers to fall among general election women, but berating Fields might do it.

— Cathleen Decker (@cathleendecker) March 30, 2016

Nothing happened. She’s a liar.
It happened, but it wasn’t that bad.
Okay, but he wasn’t arrested.
*She* attacked *me.*

— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) March 30, 2016

Trump asked if he will press charges after saying that @MichelleFields grabbed *him*: “I don’t know, maybe I should.”

— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) March 30, 2016

Katrina Pierson says in light of this presidential campaigns “should change the rules about how much access reporters get”

— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) March 29, 2016

Maybe the weirdest thing about Trump’s denial is that condoning assault on a journalist would probably play great w/ his base

— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) March 29, 2016

A lot of people mocked Trump for suggesting that Fields’s pen could have been a bomb:

Wonder if Trump calling pens dangerous will be the pretense for ending White House press conferences.

— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 30, 2016

Worst Tuesday in Washington pic.twitter.com/BdQBtIwnZe

— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) March 30, 2016

Clinton tasted beer on the campaign trail:

Hillary Clinton pours a beer – and drinks it – at Pearl Street Brewery. pic.twitter.com/DBLawygbub

— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) March 29, 2016

Mary Bono slammed Cruz after he invoked her late husband, Sonny Bono:

Seems like a good time for a twist on a famous old line: “I knew Sonny Bono, and you are no Sonny Bono”. https://t.co/gt6UJBZLtD

— Honorable Mary Bono (@MaryBonoUSA) March 30, 2016

There was a major scrum facing Garland outside his meeting with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.):

There is a little bit of interest in Kirk’s meeting with Garland pic.twitter.com/PaRO9RzrNc

— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 29, 2016

The Sanders campaign has a new logo to use:

.@BernieSanders camp has come up with a #BirdieSanders sticker — > pic.twitter.com/wNAVHTl8st

— Teddy Davis (@TeddyDavisCNN) March 30, 2016

The “Birdie Sanders” meme is taking off:

May the odds be ever in your favor. #BirdieSanders pic.twitter.com/IfcTCE1vo8

— Leilani Münter (@LeilaniMunter) March 26, 2016

Here’s another shot of Ivanka Trump’s new baby (along with husband Jared and daughter Arabella):

Finally, an obligatory picture of the Tidal Basin framed by cherry blossoms:

(Did you know? There are 12 varieties of cherry blossom trees in D.C.)

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Paul Ryan’s Hometown Bans LGBT Discrimination,” from HuffPost: “The city of Janesville, Wisconsin, approved an ordinance that protects LBGT individuals from discrimination, giving the hometown of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) broader protections than those at the state and national level. The measure also specifically would allow transgender people to use a public restroom based on the gender they identify with, rather than the gender on their birth certificate … Ryan’s office said it had ‘no comment’ on the local ordinance.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“It’s MY culture – Woman Gets In White Student’s Face For Having Dreadlocks,” from the Daily Caller: A video showing a woman at SFSU badgering a student for ‘cultural appropriation’ has gone viral after being posted on YouTube. The woman can be heard telling the student, a white male, he can’t wear dreadlocks because ‘it’s [her] culture’ and threatens to cut them off with scissors. The woman is identified in the YouTube as a ‘campus employee’ … After the student attempts to extricate himself from the woman’s grasp — ‘you have no right to tell me what I can wear on my head… stop touching me’ — she pulls him back and says, ‘if you put your hands on me, you’re gonna learn.’”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Candidates are split between New York and Wisconsin. Here’s the rundown:

  • Clinton: Harlem, N.Y.
  • Sanders: Kenosha, Madison, Onalaska, Wis.
  • Trump: De Pere, Appleton, Wis.
  • Cruz: Madison, Wis.
  • Kasich: Howard Beach, N.Y.

At the White House: President Obama holds an Easter prayer breakfast, then meets with Secretary of State John Kerry.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are not in session.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

Quarterback Tim Tebow opened the door to running for office down the road: “I don’t know at this time in my life,” the 28-year-old told Fox News. “If there’s a chance you can make a difference some day in something, then that would be intriguing.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

— Clear skies and mild temps make for a pleasant Wednesday. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “High pressure provides blue skies and bright sunshine, giving a nice lift to temperatures that start the morning in the 30s to near 40. By lunchtime we’re in the 50s with afternoon highs reaching the low-to-mid 60s.”

— The Wizards lost to the Warriors 102-94.

— The Loudoun school board last night voted down a controversial rezoning plan that critics said would have segregated the county’s poor, Hispanic children. “After emotional comments from parents and threats of legal action, the board voted 7-2 for a plan that represented a compromise between those who support economic integration and those who wanted children to attend schools closest to them,” Moriah Balingit reports. “The board was tasked with redrawing boundaries to ease overcrowding. ‘Why are we treating over 1,300 at-risk students differently than the other 4,700 students in Leesburg?’ said Stephanie DeWan, who has three children at Evergreen Mills Elementary. ‘Not all students are being treated equally or fairly.’”

— Maryland Senate candidates Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen sparred over super PACs during a debate. From Rachel Weiner: Van Hollen has a big fundraising advantage, but Emily’s List is pouring money into the race to help Edwards. So he attacked her for refusing to sign a pledge barring super PAC involvement in the contest. She responded that the National Association of Realtors has spent money to help him. Emily’s List does not lobby members of Congress, she noted, but the realtors’ group does, and it contributes heavily to Republican as well as Democratic candidates. ‘They don’t expect anything in return,” Edwards said of Emily’s List. “What do the realtors expect from you?’”

— D.C. police arrested a suspect in connection with Saturday’s fatal shooting of a 15-year-old at the Deanwood Metro station. THe boy was gunned down in front of his mother and sisters on his way to get a haircut for Easter. (Peter Hermann and Keith L. Alexander)

— A violent robbery was reported on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Northeast Washington. It is the second such incident this month. The victim, who was beaten by a group of assailants near 5th and T, was treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries. (Martin Weil)

— Authorities discovered a body in a lake behind the Manassas Comfort Suites. Police have not yet named the victim and said an autopsy is still being performed. (Victoria St. Martin)

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Watch the German satire video that made Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan so mad he formally summoned the German ambassador (don’t worry, it’s got subtitles!):

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Check out Trump’s comments on Lewandowski, then and now:

Sanders joked about what could be in Clinton’s private speeches:

“The WGN morning team took matters into their own hands. Instead of quietly scanning (and deleting) dozens of hateful emails, tweets and Facebook posts, they read them out loud during the newscast. And, of course, the women of WGN endured the most viciously personal attacks,” Angela Fritz notes. Watch:

The EgyptAir hijacker surrendered:

Samantha Bee skewered Republicans for refusing to give Garland a hearing:

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Miss Wisconsin 2005, choking up, told Trump during his event in Janesville that she’s dying of terminal cancer and thanked him for sending her a hand-written note. Here’s the full 3-minute exchange: 

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Here’s The Post’s tribute to Patty Duke, who passed away yesterday:

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One week before Florida’s delegate-rich primary, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Sunshine State, according to a new Washington Post-Univision News poll.

Clinton leads Sanders (Vt.) 64 to 26 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in the state, buoyed by the state’s older electorate who trust her to handle a range of issues.

After a surprise loss in Tuesday’s Michigan primary and a win in Mississippi, the new survey suggests Clinton could continue to grow her delegate advantage in racially diverse Southern states.

So far, Clinton has accumulated almost twice as many delegates as Sanders, and she is more than halfway toward achieving the 2,382 needed to secure the nomination. Florida’s primary awards 246 delegates, making it the biggest prize of the five states voting Tuesday, and Democrats’ proportional awarding of delegates raises the stakes for Clinton to maximize her winning margin.

Sanders’s next opportunity to shift that dynamic is in Miami at Wednesday’s debate, sponsored by The Washington Post and Univision.

He faces an uphill battle. Florida’s older electorate benefits Clinton in a primary season that has divided sharply along generational lines all year.

The poll finds Clinton leading Sanders by 53 percentage points among Democrats age 65 and older, compared with a 26-point lead among those younger than 50. The survey was conducted by the independent Bendixen and Amandi International and the Tarrance Group, a Republican firm.

[How to watch the Washington Post-Univision debate]

Clinton holds a lopsided 72 to 16 percent lead among nonwhite Democrats in Florida, including a 68 to 21 percent lead among Hispanic voters, who were oversampled in the survey and weighted back to their appropriate share of the electorate. Among whites, Clinton leads by a smaller, though still substantial, 22 percentage points.

Eight years ago, Hispanic voters were a core part of Clinton’s victory in the state, supporting her by nearly 2 to 1 over Barack Obama, according to the network exit poll.

Mirroring exit polls in earlier states, the Post-Univision poll found a sizable gender gap in support for the Democratic nomination, with Clinton leading Sanders by 71 to 21 percent among women but by a narrower 55 to 32 percent among men.

Sanders has clear potential to make inroads. Fully 7 in 10 likely voters have a positive view of him, nearly as high as Clinton’s 76 percent, though far more see her in a “very favorable” light. By a 46 to 39 percent margin, more voters say that Sanders is more honest and trustworthy than Clinton.

Despite that, though, Sanders’s reputation is overwhelmed at this point by huge advantages for Clinton on other personal attributes and issues. More than 8 in 10 say that Clinton has a better chance of winning a general election, more than 6 in 10 prefer her personality and temperament, and a small majority says she would do more to bring change to Washington.

A 56 percent majority of Democratic voters in Florida think Clinton generally holds views closer to their own, compared with Sanders. When voters were asked about specific issues, they trusted Clinton by more than 2 to 1 to handle terrorism, immigration, the economy and health care.

This Washington Post-Univision poll was conducted on March 2 to 5 among a random sample of 449 likely voters in Florida’s March 15 Democratic primary, including interviews on land-line and cellular phones. The survey included an oversample of Hispanic likely voters, which were weighted back to an estimate of their share of the primary electorate. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus six percentage points for overall results; the error margin is nine points for results among the sample of 184 Hispanic likely voters.

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

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Powered by the same coalition that twice elected Barack Obama, Democrat Hillary Clinton holds a clear lead over Republican Donald Trump in a hypothetical matchup for the November election, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey shows that the former secretary of state is viewed more favorably than the New York billionaire on a series of issues and on a series of candidate attributes, although both rate poorly on the question of honesty.

Clinton leads Trump 50 percent to 41 percent among registered voters and has made steady progress against her potential rival over the past six months. Her margin over Trump has increased from three points last September to six points in December to the current nine points.

Clinton is assembling a potentially winning coalition of minorities, women, young voters and voters with college degrees. Trump is chosen by barely one-fifth of nonwhite voters—about the same percentage as Republican Mitt Romney received when he ran against Obama four years ago.

Clinton garners about the same low percentage of white voters as did Obama, but Trump receives a smaller share than Romney did in 2012. Nearly 1 in 10 white voters currently say they favor neither candidate or would not vote in November.

Clinton has a 21-point lead over Trump among women, while Trump has a five-point edge among men. Along educational lines, white voters are sharply divided . Trump carries voters without college degrees by 57 to 33 percent; Clinton wins those with college degrees by 52 to 37 percent.

The survey also highlighted a significant generational difference in candidate preferences. Trump and Clinton are virtually tied among voters age 40 and older. But those under age 40 favor Clinton by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

Clinton enjoys significantly stronger support among Democrats than Trump does among Republicans. It is probable that more Republicans would rally behind their nominee by the time of the election, as has been customary in recent contests, but the strong opposition to his candidacy inside the party could make the task of unifying the GOP more difficult than usual.

The other good news for Clinton in a possible general election matchup with Trump is the improvement in perceptions of Obama. His overall approval rating stands at 51 percent in the new poll, while his disapproval rating is 43 percent.

Obama has been at or just above 50 percent in both Post-ABC polls this year, and his disapproval rating is the lowest it has been since two months after his reelection in 2012. Democrats’ hopes for retaining the White House hinge in part on the president’s standing this fall.

Also, slightly more poll respondents said things have gotten better during Obama’s presidency than say they have gotten worse — 48 to 43 percent.

When Americans are asked who they believe would win if Clinton and Trump were the nominees, Clinton is the overwhelming choice, with 59 percent naming her compared with 36 percent choosing Trump. That is an increase of five points for Clinton since January.

About one-third of all Republicans (32 percent) doubt that Trump would defeat Clinton in November, up from 21 percent in January. Independent voters also are more bullish about Clinton’s chances against Trump than they were at the start of the year.

On four issues — the economy, terrorism, immigration and dealing with international crises — Clinton was rated better by Americans on every one, although by varying margins.

Trump does best on the economy, where Clinton’s advantage is just four points, 49 to 45 percent. Clinton’s advantage grows to 14 points on terrorism; 19 points on Trump’s signature issue of immigration; and 29 points on dealing with an overseas crisis. Almost a quarter of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they trust Clinton more than Trump on immigration.

Clinton, Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) were also tested on a series of four candidate attributes. Trump scored the lowest of the four, although on several of the attributes no one looked particularly good.

Just 27 percent of Americans rated Trump as honest and trustworthy. That compared with 37 percent for Clinton, 42 percent for Cruz and 47 percent for Rubio. The good news for Rubio is that he was the only one with a net positive rating, in part because 14 percent said they had no opinion.

Trump scored just as low on the question of whether a candidate “understands the problems of people like you.” Just 26 percent said yes. Clinton came the closest to breaking even, with 49 percent saying yes and 50 percent saying no. Just over 4 in 10 rated Cruz and Rubio positively on the empathy measure.

Clinton and Trump were miles apart on two other attributes — having the right kind of experience to be president and having the right kind of temperament and personality to be president.

By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans see Clinton as having the experience to serve in the Oval Office; by an almost 3-to-1 margin, Americans say Trump does not have the experience. On the issues of temperament and personality, 58 percent said Clinton has what it takes to serve effectively as president, while 25 percent think that of Trump.

Jobs and the economy continue to rate as the most important issues in the minds of Americans, although their importance has decreased significantly in the past four years. In the current survey, 28 percent cite jobs or the economy as the top issue. Four years ago, they were the choice of about half of all Americans.

Second in importance is immigration, cited by 11 percent, followed by issues of ethics, honesty and corruption in government at 8 percent.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted March 3 to 6 among a random national sample of 1,000 adults reached on landline and cellular phones. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; the error margin is four points among the sample of 864 registered voters.

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

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