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The Week in 2016: What Mattered (And What Didn't)

A look back at the past week in the 2016 presidential contest, making sense of the developments and events that mattered – and those that didn't.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves from the stage as he reacts to exit poll figures in Israel's parliamentary elections late on March 17, 2015 in the city of Tel Aviv. Netanyahu claimed victory in elections as exit polls put him neck-and-neck with centre-left rivals after a late fightback in his bid for a third straight term. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZJACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty ImagesJACK GUEZ / AFP - Getty Images

In today's rapid-fire political news cycle, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the different news out there. So here's a look back at the past week in the 2016 presidential contest, making sense of the developments and events that we think mattered – and those that didn't.

What Mattered

1. The fallout from Netanyahu’s big victory in Israel: Netanyahu’s win – and more importantly, the way he won (disavowing the two-state solution, declaring that Arab Israelis were voting in droves) – ensures that Israel will be an issue in 2016. See this NYT headline: “Israel Election Result Complicates Life for Clinton.” See also Marco Rubio’s Senate speech on Thursday.

2. The CNN poll showing that Email-gate hasn’t really hurt Hillary Clinton’s numbers: We’ve been telling you that the email story was unlikely to hurt her support, especially among Democrats. And this week’s CNN poll confirmed that. But we’ve also been telling you that the story’s biggest consequence is giving Republicans an excuse to investigate her tenure as secretary of state.

3. The Clinton Foundation-donors story isn’t going away: On Thursday, Reuters reported that – despite Hillary Clinton’s promise to President Obama to disclose all donors to the Clinton Foundation – the foundation’s health-care program stopped making disclosures in 2010. And the Wall Street Journal said that while the Clinton Foundation said it wouldn’t receive money from foreign governments while Hillary was secretary of state, that didn’t stop foreign individuals and companies from contributing.

4. Michigan Republicans changing – err, rigging – how electoral votes are awarded in the state: Talk about a consequential move if this bill in Michigan passes. As Dave Weigel pointed out, Obama won the state by nearly 450,000 votes in 2012, capturing all of its 16 electoral votes. But under this proposal – awarding electoral votes by congressional district, plus two additional votes for the statewide winner – Romney would have won nine of the 16 electoral votes.

What Didn’t Matter As Much

1. The campaign staffers who are getting fired for their tweets: It’s striking that oppo researchers and the political press are now targeting not just candidates – but also staff. However, will we forget about these individual stories a week or two from now? Likely yes.

2. The call for Al Gore to run for president – again: The article advocating this, by Vox’s Ezra Klein, is maybe the final sign that there isn’t going to be a truly competitive Democratic race. Gore isn’t happening (his allies even said so). Neither is Elizabeth Warren.

3. The news that Rand Paul is announcing his presidential bid on April 7: As political scientist Jonathan Bernstein observes, Paul essentially has been running for president for YEARS now.

4. Donald Trump forming an exploratory committee and visiting New Hampshire: Enough said.