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  • Two allies of Mr. Mattis sent emails to associates on Friday notifying them that the retired general had closed the door on a campaign. William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, said Mr. Mattis had decided “after much consideration” not to proceed.

     

  • Joel Searby, a Republican strategist involved in laying the groundwork for a potential Mattis campaign, wrote in a separate email that Mr. Mattis had “decided definitively not to pursue a run for president.”

     

  • In private, Mr. Mattis, 65, was receptive to political overtures: During a visit to Washington last Friday, he met with a small group of strategists supportive of his entry into the race and discussed the election, according to people familiar with the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the private session.

     

  • "I haven't seen any data on that, but I'm just getting a feeling that he's going to put a couple of Midwestern states in play."

  • when Trump is challenged by a woman, he lashes back harshly, often by attacking her looks, calling her crazy, or making some other kind of sexist remark.

  • “I recognize that the media is all eager to talk about an alliance. There is no alliance,” Mr. Cruz said. “Kasich and I made a determination where to focus our energies, where to focus our assets, where to focus our resources.”

     

  • “John Kasich made the decision, in his own political self-interest, to withdraw from Indiana and to go compete elsewhere,” Mr. Cruz said, while continuing to campaign in the state six days before its primary. “And that was a perfectly reasonable decision.”

     

  • Mr. Cruz did not answer questions about whether he was similarly pulling out of Oregon, which votes on May 17, or Oregon, which votes on June 7.

     

  • Mr. Cruz’s announcement was prompted by the same countervailing forces that pushed him to strike the nonaggression pact with Mr. Kasich on Sunday: Mr. Cruz’s polling in Indiana showed him down double-digits in Indiana last week, according to two Republicans familiar with the findings. He has edged closer to Mr. Trump in nightly surveys this week, but remains behind.

  • What is striking, though, is that Mr. Cruz decided to tap Mrs. Fiorina even after his own surveys indicated she would offer only a modest boost. In Indiana and subsequent states, Mr. Cruz’s campaign tested the impact if Mr. Cruz named Mrs. Fiorina as his running mate and found it was only worth “a couple of points,” said a Republican briefed on the polling results. “Voters like her. They don’t love her,” said this Republican, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the decision-making.

         
     

  • I really would like to blame Trump. But everything he is doing is with TV news’ full acquiescence. Trump doesn’t force the networks to show his rallies live rather than do real reporting. Nor does he force anyone to accept his phone calls rather than demand that he do a face-to-face interview that would be a greater risk for him. TV news has largely given Trump editorial control. It is driven by a hunger for ratings—and the people who run the networks and the news channels are only too happy to make that Faustian bargain. Which is why you’ll see endless variations of this banner, one I saw all three cable networks put up in a single day: “Breaking news: Trump speaks for first time since Wisconsin loss.” In all these scenes, the TV reporter just stands there, off camera, essentially useless. The order doesn’t need to be stated. It’s understood in the newsroom: Air the Trump rallies live and uninterrupted. He may say something crazy; he often does, and it’s always great television.

     

  • “Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

     

    Boehner described other Republican candidates as friends. In particular, the former speaker said he has played golf with Donald Trump for years and that they were “texting buddies.”

  • The former Speaker said he would not, however, vote for Cruz.

  • Why would Paul Manafort so consistently do the bidding of oligarchs loyal to Vladimir Putin?

  • The list of humiliations go on and on and on. President Obama watches helplessly as North Korea increases its aggression and expands further and further with its nuclear reach. Our president has allowed China to continue its economic assault on American jobs and wealth, refusing to enforce trade deals and apply leverage on China necessary to rein in North Korea. We have the leverage. We have the power over China, economic power, and people don’t understand it. And with that economic power, we can rein in and we can get them to do what they have to do with North Korea, which is totally out of control.

     

  • "To our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again, America is going to be reliable again," Trump said. "It's going to be a great and reliable ally again."

  • First, a fact-check: On a basic level, Trump is wrong. As The Washington Post notes, Trump has beaten his Republican rivals among women in the primary so far, by around 10 points overall; he outperformed that mark Tuesday. But that seems to be mostly a factor of his large lead in the race. To say that women particularly like him would be a vast overstatement. Poll after poll has shown that female voters really don’t like Trump. Gallup found this month that 70 percent of women have an unfavorable view of him. In March, Reuters and Ipsos found that half of American women have a “very unfavorable” view of Trump. Suffolk and USA Today recently found him at 66 percent unfavorable among women. (Unsurprisingly, he does better among Republican women than women overall.)

    Do women dislike Clinton, as Trump said? They don’t exactly love her, it’s true. Gallup found her at a net negative-3 among women. (Her standing among women has tumbled over the last year in Gallup’s numbers.) Other polls are rosier. George Washington University found 51 percent of women have a positive view versus 47 percent negative. Suffolk found her at 42 favorable and 48 negative.

  • None of this was assured, or necessarily all that likely, when we surveyed the race a few weeks ago. Trump was coming off one of his worst results of the campaign in the Wisconsin primary, along with a disastrous series of results in state and local Republican delegate-selection conventions (those will still hurt him if the Republican convention goes to multiple ballots). While the Northeast had long appeared to be a reasonably strong region for Trump, the polls two weeks ago suggested it was a tossup whether he’d get to 50 percent of the vote in Connecticut; instead he won it easily with 58 percent of the vote. It looked as though he’d probably lose a couple of congressional districts in the Washington suburbs in Maryland even if he won the state; instead, he swept all eight districts.

     

    In other words, something changed for the better for Trump in the past couple of weeks. At the time we issued those delegate projections, Trump had yet to get 50 percent of the vote in any state and both his national polls and statewide results seemed stagnant. Now he’s gotten over 50 percent in six states in a row. Whereas Trump had once been a safe bet to underperform or, at best, match his polling averages, he’s now beaten them in the last six states.

  • Having moved to a demographically favorable bloc of states is part of the equation, but not all of it. Compare Trump’s excellent result in Maryland (55 percent of the statewide vote) to his mediocre one in demographically similar Virginia on Super Tuesday (35 percent). Pennsylvania, where Trump got 57 percent of the vote on Tuesday, isn’t all that different from Illinois, where he got 39 percent on March 15. (The Pennsylvania result is especially important given that Trump also got favorable-seeming results among the 54 officially uncommitted delegates elected in the state on Tuesday night, which will give him a cushion if he falls a bit short of 1,237 pledged delegates.)

     

  • But recent turnout has been low as compared with earlier states. Whereas 25.6 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a Republican ballot in Wisconsin, according to Michael McDonald’s estimates, an average of only 9.9 percent of eligible voters have in the six northeastern states to vote over the past eight days.

1 more annotation...

  • Mr. Trump won at least 105 of the 118 pledged delegates Tuesday, with the potential to win even more if the final count broke his way.

  • Number one, they appreciate his honesty and integrity and they appreciate his sense of humor.

  • The decision to cancel the Virginia trip was made in a series of campaign calls Monday and Tuesday where the prospect of disruptive protests and the benefits of an appearance were discussed and debated, according to three people close to the Trump campaign.

  • Pence is hardly alone on the sidelines, of course. But the crowd of wet-fingered politicians trying to determine which way the wind is blowing doesn't matter. Pence does. If Donald Trump loses the May 3 Indiana primary, it is all but certain he will fall short of the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination on the first ballot. Indiana is now the Gates of Vienna for stopping the Trumpian takeover of the GOP.
  • To be fair, Pence is in a pickle because he's up for re-election in 2016, and the beleaguered Hoosier thinks he can't afford to alienate any Republican voters. Boo hoo.

  • Pence is surely aware of Trump's unfavorables. But what he may not have considered is that if Trump loses the general election in a landslide, the recriminations will be ferocious. The postmortems will undoubtedly focus on who had a chance to stop Trump when it was possible. Among the first in the dock: the Hamlet of the Hoosiers.

  • Now that Kasich and Cruz have cut a deal and Kasich is going to leave Indiana for Cruz, Mike Pence should endorse Cruz.

  • Kasich scrapped an event in Indiana slated for Tuesday, but is still planning on attending a fundraiser in the state. Their campaign staffs struck the deal; the two candidates have not spoken directly to one another about the strategy and don’t have plans to do so. There is not a binding contract either, of course, so each candidate could step away at his convenience.
  • But perhaps most importantly, if Kasich fails to coordinate effectively with Cruz (for example, if Kasich continues to tell Indiana constituents to vote for him despite saying he’s pulled out of the Indiana primary), it could confuse voters and make strategic voting more difficult. And while this alliance might be designed to more effectively marshal outside resources for both campaigns, the success of the partnership will ultimately hinge on whether enough voters coalesce around Cruz.

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