Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…In what we assume is her preparation to be Donald Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Sarah Palin is getting a courtroom TV show. Legal experts are excited to read her first groundbreaking dissent in "Annoyed Roommate v. Friend Who Borrowed His Car and Totaled It."
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'16 from 30,000
One of us(!) sat in on a focus group of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents last night in St. Louis, Missouri. And our big takeaways might surprise you. Here's what we learned: 1) Yes,Trump is going to have to change his tune if he's going to solve the pretty significant problem he has with Republicans who still see him as unpresidential and crass. And even his fans think he needs to tone it down. 2) But that problem within his own party base has a lot less to do with Trump's qualifications, ideology or policy positions than it does with his tone. And even Trump's biggest supporters don't think he's *really* going to follow through on his most controversial plans. And 3) Even if he doesn't stop acting like "a jerk," as one critic put it, he's got one big advantage in his favor in a potential general election matchup: Hillary Clinton. Clinton's ability to galvanize the GOP base against her absolutely cannot be underestimated; these participants unhesitatingly described the Democratic frontrunner as "criminal" and even "evil." Only one of the 12 participants in the group said they absolutely couldn't vote for Trump, while the full dozen said there's no circumstance in which they'd cast a vote for Clinton. When you're considering general election matchups, there are lots of variables to consider, including the role of independents, crossover votes from disaffected non-college whites and mobilization of minority voters. But don't forget to factor in the unifying power of a Democrat that Republicans love, love, LOVE to hate.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Donald Trump has created a gaping chasm in the GOP base, a focus group of Republicans conducted near St. Louis revealed.
- Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi, responded to Donald Trump's threat to "spill the beans."
- With one eye on an ascendent Donald Trump and the other on Europe, still reeling from this week's terror attack, Hillary Clinton offered a firm defense of internationalism and American leadership Wednesday, MSNBC's Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
- Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz in an effort to unite the GOP against Trump.
- Paul Ryan called for political civility amidst the backdrop of the divisive presidential primary.
- In his first public appearance since suspending his presidential campaign last month, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley warned that the general election is not a "slam-dunk" for Democrats, NBC's Alex Jaffe writes.
- And in First Read this AM: Rivals were unable to slow down Trump and Clinton.
FOR THE RECORD…
"God bless the great state of New York!"
Ted Cruz, who once slammed Donald Trump for having "New York values."
Hillary Clinton is in California and will appear on Jimmy Kimmel while Bernie Sanders campaigns in Washington.
Ted Cruz is in Wisconsin.