Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Americans are celebrating St. Patrick's Day by going in search of a mythical jackpot at the end of a rainbow -- which John Kasich hopes is not actually a pot of gold but instead the number of delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination.
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'16 from 30,000
After Hillary Clinton's five-state sweep on Tuesday, we figured we would see more Democrats "berning" for Sanders to gracefully exit the race. By the NBC News count, Sanders now needs to win 65 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination. And a New York Times report that President Obama called on donors to coalesce behind Clinton certainly fanned those flames. (Though White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday reiterated that the president is neutral.)
But despite the smoke signals from some in the Democratic party, it seems unlikely the Vermont senator is going anywhere - at least in the near future. Advisers feel the campaign is heading into the plushest territory yet of the primary season and they can potentially string together a number of wins in Western States. Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said on MSNBC on Thursday that the victories will help win the support of superdelegates who have pledged to Clinton as well. That means -- if Sanders goes on a win streak that only marginally improves his chances to win the nomination -- things could get much messier in the Democratic primary as the pro-Clinton forces step up pressure for Sanders to get out of the race.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday pushed back on a New York Times report that said President Barack Obama privately told Democratic donors the party should begin to coalesce behind Hillary Clinton.
- NBC's Vaughn Hillyard has a good look at how the Cruz campaign is mapping out its possible paths to victory.
- Lindsey Graham will fundraise for Ted Cruz.
- Paul Ryan chastised Donald Trump for his comments about "riots" if he's denied the GOP nod.
- In today's Tales from the Trail: Reporters got an exclusive invite to the Trump Ball on Tuesday… or what others may refer to as an election night rally.
- And from First Read this AM: The Republican Party is confronting only bad choices.
FOR THE RECORD…
"I never said that I endorsed Ted Cruz."
- Caitlyn Jenner to E!
Bernie Sanders campaigns in Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.
John Kasich makes three stops in Utah.