OFF TO THE RACES: 8 in 10 Latinos have an unfavorable view of Trump
A new Washington Post-Univision News poll shows that eight in 10 Hispanic voters have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, while Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by a 2-1 margin with Latinos.
The Washington Post: "Strategists who have been through past nomination battles say that Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich collectively have until March 15 to turn the race away from the New York billionaire. Each has a must-win test looming in his home state between now and then. But those victories alone might not be sufficient to block Trump’s path."
NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell: "Now that Donald Trump has won three primaries by convincing margins, there are at least some cracks in the wall of opposition to his candidacy within some segments of the Republican Party establishment. As Trump racks up delegates and makes it more difficult for the four remaining challengers to catch him in the race for delegates, some major GOP donors are questioning the purpose and efficacy of efforts to derail Trump's candidacy."
POLITICO, previewing tonight's debate: "The final Republican presidential debate before the Super Tuesday contests has the potential to be an epic display of anger and rhetorical aggression, with Rubio and Cruz going after one another on everything from policy to character as each struggles to emerge as the single alternative to Donald Trump."
And from the AP: " With Donald Trump's grasp on the Republican presidential nomination tightening, the billionaire businessman's rivals get one more chance to challenge the GOP front-runner on the debate stage before next week's slate of Super Tuesday contests. The situation is likely more dire for the other GOP candidates than they'd like voters to believe. Yet Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have so far shown little willingness to take on the former reality television star when the national spotlight shines brightest. That could change Thursday night in Houston."
The New York Times: "Panicked Republicans question whether Mr. Trump will be able to unite a Republican-controlled Congress that would normally be expected to promote and promulgate his agenda, an internal crisis nearly unheard-of in a generation of American politics. On nearly every significant issue, Mr. Trump stands in opposition to Republican orthodoxy and his party’s policy prescriptions — the very ideas that Mr. Ryan has done more than anyone else to form, refine or promote over the last decade."
Could the RNC have leverage over Trump? POLITICO: "Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has begun stating in private meetings that the party has sway over its at times unwelcome front-runner because it has tools Trump will need to use to win a general election — voter data and field, digital and media operations that a nominee typically inherits from the party infrastructure. Dangling access to these resources, Priebus thinks he can help steer Trump toward partywide policy goals and away from the inflammatory rhetoric that Republican officials see as divisive and dangerous, especially outside of the primary, according to two Republican sources who have spoken with the RNC chairman.”
CARSON: The Atlantic writes that Carson may be starting to suspect that he's been had by his own finance staff.
CRUZ: From the Wall Street Journal: "Texas has 155 delegates up for grabs in its Republican primary next week, but for Sen. Ted Cruz, the stakes in his home state are immeasurable. A victory by front-runner Donald Trump in Tuesday’s contest would knock the wind out of Mr. Cruz’s bid for the nomination."
RUBIO: From NBC's Alex Jaffe: "In an abrupt about-face in strategy, Marco Rubio on Wednesday night attacked Donald Trump on policy by name from the stump, drawing the battle lines for a certain showdown with the GOP front-runner on the eve of Thursday's debate. At an energetic rally in Houston, Rubio targeted Trump on Obamacare and Israel, charging Trump "thinks parts of Obamacare are pretty good" and that he's refused to come to Israel's defense."
SANDERS: He may be able to catch up to Hillary Clinton in as many as five Super Tuesday states, writes POLITICO.
TRUMP: From the New York Times: "In his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Trump has stoked his crowds by promising to bring back jobs that have been snatched by illegal immigrants or outsourced by corporations, and voters worried about immigration have been his strongest backers. But he has also pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago since 2010, according to the United States Department of Labor, while hundreds of domestic applicants failed to get the same jobs."
The Washington Post editorial board: "THE UNTHINKABLE is starting to look like the inevitable: Absent an extraordinary effort from people who understand the menace he represents, Donald Trump is likely to be the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. At this stage, even an extraordinary effort might fall short. But history will not look kindly on GOP leaders who fail to do everything in their power to prevent a bullying demagogue from becoming their standard-bearer."
And Karl Rove, in the Wall Street Journal: "There is still time for the non-Trump GOP majority to coalesce around a single candidate, but not much. Things can remain somewhat divided on March 1 as long as the majority is largely unified on March 8 and fully behind a single candidate on the Ides of March. If not, the hopes of the party’s non-Trump majority will suffer the same fate as Caesar."
In an ironic twist that Harry Reid must be appreciating today, Mitt Romney is warning there might be a "bombshell" in Trump's tax returns.