OFF TO THE RACES: About last night
From NBC's Amanda Sakuma: " Donald Trump won the Nevada Republican caucuses by a near-landslide early Wednesday, his third straight victory with high-stakes "Super Tuesday" just days away. "We weren't expected to win too much and now we're winning, winning, winning," Trump said at his victory rally late Tuesday. "And soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning." Florida Sen. Marco Rubio claimed the crucial second-place slot, edging out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. As of 2:45 a.m. ET, NBC News had allocated 22 of Nevada's 30 delegates — with 12 going to Trump and 5 each for Rubio and Cruz."
Here's how he did it, according to our exit poll desk.
Voters in Nevada were older - and angrier - than those in previous contests.
The New York Times lede: "For Mr. Trump, the outcome in Nevada is another sign of his campaign's durability and the breadth of his appeal: He has now handily won primary elections in New England and in the South, and a caucus fight in the far West. He won over independent voters in New Hampshire and evangelicals in South Carolina, and prevailed in Nevada, where Mormon voters and rural activists wield influence."
The Washington Post notes "Cruz worked Nevada harder than any other candidate, flying immediately to the state after South Carolina's primary Saturday and making nine crowded campaign stops. Yet a message seemingly tailored to Nevada's libertarian-leaning Republicans — with a particular focus on the federal control of land in the state — did not appear to resonate as Cruz might have hoped."
The biggest test for Trump now is Super Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal: "The March 1 Super Tuesday primaries cut deeply through the Bible Belt, featuring many of the most conservative and religious states in the nation. Mr. Trump is leading in polls in nearly all the states voting that day. He is most vulnerable in Texas, where home-state Sen. Ted Cruz is ahead. Since none of the states is winner-take-all, Mr. Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have a chance to pile up delegates under rules that split them proportionally."
"In their efforts to derail Donald Trump from the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are all facing enormous pressure in their home state primaries, which account for about a fourth of the delegates up for grabs in the next three weeks," notes the AP.
POLITICO writes: "As Donald Trump picks up momentum, the chances of a well-funded assault to block him from the Republican presidential nomination are dramatically dwindling, according to interviews with about a dozen donors and operatives who are appalled by the billionaire real estate showman's campaign. The party's elite donor class has mostly closed its checkbooks to groups dedicated to stopping Trump, while the outfits that have built massive reserves are increasingly deciding to forgo anti-Trump campaigns, despite widespread fears that he is making a mockery of conservatism and could undermine Republicans up and down the ballot."
The big picture, from the Wall Street Journal: "Donald Trump's primary wins and perch atop the polls with barely a week to go before a string of crucial contests has triggered frantic hand-wringing from his many critics in the Republican Party who worry time is running out to deny him the presidential nomination. The catch: Many of those detractors represent the very entrenched political interests Mr. Trump is running against, helping the front-runner amplify his message by campaigning against his critics."
RUBIO: The avalanche of endorsements may be too little, too late.
What's with the détente with Trump? He defended the decision on TODAY: "I don't have any voters begging me to attack anyone. I'm not in this race to attack any Republican...I didn't run for office to tear up other Republicans."
SANDERS: Bernie Sanders is Jewish -- but why doesn't he speak more about it on the trail? The New York Times takes a look.
TRUMP: The New York Times did a deep dive into his business record in New York City, finding that he's not as influential there as he may claim to be.
POLITICO's analysis: "The populist billionaire's rise to the pinnacle of Republican politics has upended what had been decades of relative GOP stability, a 40-year span in which most Republican presidential contests since 1976 neatly narrowed to an establishment-embraced front-runner and a conservative insurgent alternative."
OBAMA AGENDA: No hearings, no votes, no meetings
About that Supreme Court pick: Mitch McConnell is promising that there "will not be action taken" on the choice, whoever it is.
Asked about the court pick, Justice Samuel Alito said "We don't choose our colleagues. Presidents choose. I have enough trouble with the questions that I have to decide."
On Scotusblog.com(!), President Obama laid out his criteria for a pick, including "a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook." MORE: " It's the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people's lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times. That, I believe, is an essential element for arriving at just decisions and fair outcomes."