OFF TO THE RACES: Trump way ahead in Nevada, per poll
The GOP state of play in Nevada, from a new CNN/ORC poll: Trump up big, with Rubio and Cruz fighting for second place. And on the Dem side: "Overall, 48% of likely caucus attendees say they support Clinton, 47% Sanders. Both candidates carry their demographic strong points from prior states into Nevada, with Clinton holding an edge among women, while Sanders tops the former secretary of state among voters under age 55. One exception emerges though: Although the pool of potential caucusgoers in Nevada is more racially diverse than those who participated in Iowa or New Hampshire, the racial divide among likely caucusgoers isn't nearly as stark as among voters in South Carolina, with both white and non-white voters about evenly divided between the two candidates."
The Wall Street Journal looks at South Carolina's mixed economic results from free trade. "The emotional scars run deep, and they help explain why the Republican Party this election year is caught between an outward-looking business wing that is open to immigration, free trade and Export-Import Bank financing—and an inward-looking blue-collar base that has lost faith in the traditional GOP business agenda."
BUSH: He's taking heat for a tweet about -- packing heat.
Is he winning the Google war in South Carolina?
CLINTON: She's making an aggressive pitch to black pastors before the SC primary, the AP notes.
CRUZ: The Washington Post looks back at Cruz's 2013 shutdown effort to gut Obamacare -- and how it's defined the ups and downs of his presidential run.
The AP looks at his tax plan: "A new analysis of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz's tax plan concluded that it would add trillions to the federal deficit while providing huge tax cuts to the nation's wealthiest earners. The analysis issued Tuesday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found Cruz's plan would cost $8.6 trillion over in the first 10 years, not including interest on the national debt."
RUBIO: Benjy Sarlin reports on Rubio's attempts for a "gritty reboot" in South Carolina.
SANDERS: Sanders surrogate Killer Mike is defending himself after taking heat for quoting a feminist activist who said "A uterus doesn't qualify you to be president of the United States. You have to have policy that's reflective of social justice."
TRUMP: With the real estate mogul up big in South Carolina, the Washington Post writes that some Republicans are getting very nervous. "[T]the madness has not been lost on the middle-of-the-road Republicans here, the folks who show up at rallies for Bush, Marco Rubio or John Kasich. Normally proud of the fact that their state picks presidents, as they like to say, this is now a group filled with existential dread."
But as the New York Times notes, his supporters love him all the more even when he defies party dogma.
OBAMA AGENDA: Obama vs. GOP on SCOTUS fight
It's yet more of Barack Obama vs. the GOP on the Supreme Court fight. " President Obama on Tuesday challenged Republicans to offer a plausible rationale for refusing to consider a Supreme Court candidate to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, and he pledged to nominate someone with an “outstanding legal mind” who cares about democracy and the rule of law," writes the New York Times.
More from the Times: "Most strategists in both parties view the appointment process as a prime opportunity to galvanize their core supporters in the presidential and congressional elections. With partisan preferences increasingly cemented in the American public and a declining share of swing voters, elections are increasingly won through mobilizing party members rather than trying to persuade independent-minded or skeptical voters. That is why most politicians are reluctant to do anything that defies or demoralizes their respective voter bases."
Might he look west for Scalia's replacement? Msnbc.com's Irin Carmon takes a look.