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Manic Monday Markup 3/7/16…

The Wolverine:

We begin today in Michigan, which votes on Tuesday and while it may not be decisive for either party’s nominating contest, it could reframe or reaffirm the path of both races.

Yesterday former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, competing for the Democratic nomination, debated in Flint, Michigan, the community suffering from a lead-poisoned water due to actions taken by its governor-appointed emergency manager. Flint was the focus of much of the early part of the debate, but pundits and political tip sheets have declared Clinton the winner.

While arguably nothing either did in Flint alters the dynamic of the race, that would translate into a loss for Sanders as he trails Clinton in the delegate count despite winning three out of four states that voted over the weekend. Sanders has bet big on Michigan, but polling shows him down against Clinton.

Plus our analysis about how Sanders may have been losing the Elizabeth Warren vote even if he was winning the Elizabeth Warren primary all along.

But Clinton is not in the clear either. While unlikely to lead to actual trouble, a conflict-loving media gobbled up news a former Clinton staffer had been granted immunity to speak candidly about her “homebrew” server.

On the Republican side, real estate tycoon and provocateur Donald Trump is feeling the squeeze after Texas Senator Ted Cruz took a handful of states since Super Tuesday. Even the states Trump won were too closer for comfort. A solid win in Michigan would re-cement Trump’s frontrunner status, while anything less would seem to indicate the concerted attacks from the Republican establishment have begun to draw blood.

Hopes that Florida Senator Marco Rubio could fill the anti-Trump void have only shrunk further. He has only won a single state and seems at risk of losing his own, a devastating blow for almost any candidate.

However, the most likely beneficiary is Cruz, who, on his best days, is only reviled by most Republicans. Cruz appears to be even taking shot at Rubio in the Sunshine State by investing in campaign offices, although it may be a head fake.

…And the World:

The summit between the European Union and Turkey to stem the tide of migrants is deadlocked.

From The New York Times: Trump around the world. His critiques of the US compared to its trading partners recalls concerns about Japan two generations ago. Mexico’s president compares the Donald’s tone to that of Hitler & Mussolini.

More wreckage from the lost Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 appears on a French island in the Indian Ocean.

The US claims it killed 150 fighters affiliated with Islamist Group al-Shabab in Somalia.

The former president of Brazil is detained and his home searched amid the country’s widening corruption probes.

The Feds:

Nancy Reagan, the second wife of Ronald Reagan and his First Lady, died yesterday. The cause was heart failure. While her time in the White House was among the most controversial for a presidential spouse, her death was marked with touching remembrances. Some also noted the protector role she played for her husband, particularly his image.

Nancy Reagan was 94.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York who had been contemplating a run for president, backs off for fear of giving Trump a pathway to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Republican Governor Rick Synder of Michigan was unmoved by the blame Clinton and Sanders heaped upon him in his state last night. He will not resign, but he faces the threat of a recall.

Republican pick a familiar face to run against Democratic Chuck Schumer. Wendy Long will seek to dethrone the three-term incumbent four years after getting liquidated by Schumer’s Democratic colleague Kirsten Gillibrand.

The State of Things:

Victorious (sorta) in his quest to take control of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, Governor Charlie Baker and allies of national Republican committeeman Ron Kaufman have locked committeewoman Chanel Prunier in their sights. The Mass GOP Civil War Continues.

Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pan marijuana legalization in an Op-Ed.

Senator Eric Lesser’s rail study received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Opponents of placing the Western Massachusetts Alcohol Correction Center on Maple Street have filed suit and are seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge.

MBTA fare hike is approved.

Democratic Hampden Sheriff Candidate Jack Griffin kicks off his campaign on Friday.

The Fourth Estatements:

Journalists confront the reality of reporting from Flint, Michigan. Is the water safe?

It’s Working:

Federal mediators intervene after unionized workers at Stop & Shop authorize a strike amid tense negotiations.

City Slickers:

In Springfield cultural potpourri: the Museums at the Quadrangle name a new director. Meanwhile Senate Tourism Chair Eric Lesser leads a walk through the city’s cultural district, joined by the director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Springfield City Council meeting tonight includes a lengthy agenda. Our report later tonight.

Twitter Chatter:

The Presidential race on both sides is only heating up even if each nominating contests’ temperature is in flux. On the Democratic side, a lot of attention has gone toward Sanders getting hit with Clinton’s charge that he failed to support the auto bailout. That’s Kryptonite for anybody in Michigan and Clinton hung a whole necklace of it around Sanders’s neck even if the charge did not tell the whole story (Sanders supported bailing out the auto industry but voted against the vehicle ultimately responsible for doing it, TARP). For political junkies, the move offered an opportunity to also see how campaign warfare works and the discipline required. Today we award the tweet prize to MSNBC report Alex Seitz-Wald who noted that Clinton’s camp telegraphed nothing about her plans to parry Sanders’s attack on trade policy with the bailout vote.

We also award the tweet prize to CNN reporter Dan Merica for noting the comments of Sanders’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver, who called Clinton a regional candidate based on her predominant success in the south. It was a mischaracterization of her wins so far, but it, too, offers a fascinating look at the way campaigns try to manage unfavorable situations. In short, how they spin.