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The Lid: What a Trump, Clinton Match-up Could Come Down To

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Mitt Romney will deliver an address about the state of the GOP presidential race tomorrow, at which he's widely expected to tell anti-establishment Republican voters to go to their room and think about what they've done.

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'16 from 30,000

With a good (but not sterling) night for Donald Trump in the books -- and some big contests looming later this month -- it's still a bit early to start calling him the presumptive nominee. (Mitt Romney certainly thinks Trumpmentum can be halted; the elder statesman is slated to give a speech critical of Trump's rhetoric tomorrow.) But definitely it's not too early to talk about the bigger general election picture if Trump is indeed the party's standard-bearer. And we've learned two big things about the race from the contests so far that can help inform that discussion. One is that there's no denying that the Donald phenomenon is good for GOP turnout. As our colleague Leigh Ann Caldwell calculated yesterday, Republican turnout this cycle has broken records in almost every single state. The other thing we've learned is about demographics on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton is seeing the kind of margins with African-Americans that Barack Obama enjoyed eight years ago -- and, although there's a slightly more muddled picture when it comes to Hispanics in the caucus states of Colorado and Nevada - her monster win with Texas Latinos Tuesday night provides some pretty compelling evidence that she's quite capable of shoring up those voters nationally. It's been said before, but with a Trump v. Clinton race, we'd be dealing with two candidates who are well-known and pretty decisively defined by their foes.

Here's the huge question mark: Does a candidate Trump bring in enough new voters to offset the built-in demographic advantage that Democrats are believed to have, based on the share of the minority vote increasing nationwide? And how big would the mobilization of minority voters against him be? Is there a universe in which a GOP candidate can lose the African American and Latino votes by margins worse than McCain or Romney and still remain competitive with a massive influx of once-disaffected white voters? And if that's the equation, doesn't the best organized campaign win?

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

"They won some caucus somewhere. Where was it, Minnesota or something?"

  • John Kasich responding to the criticism he is taking votes from Marco Rubio.

TOMORROW'S SKED

The GOP candidates (minus Ben Carson) gather for a debate in Detroit.

Bernie Sanders campaigns in Nebraska and Kansas.