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

Image: Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the 2015 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting award in Washington
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the 2015 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting award in Washington March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsJOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters

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/ Source: NBC News
By Mark Murray

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. All of the foreign-policy action, The bombing campaign in Iraq against ISIS. The bombing campaign in Yemen. The Iran talks. Even John Bolton’s call for the U.S. to bomb Iran. If you didn’t think 2016 was turning into a foreign-policy-themed election, think again.

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2. The U.S.-Israel spat getting worse. For the second week in a row, we’re reminded that Israel is going to be an issue in 2016 – so an additional emphasis on foreign affairs.

3. Scott Walker’s immigration flip-flops. They’ve potentially given Walker’s GOP opponents an opening on what’s still the most explosive issue among Republicans – immigration or “amnesty.” The question: Can any of his rivals take advantage of the flip-flops? There isn’t a lot of purity on this issue from many of the GOP’s 2016ers.

4. Liberals turning their attention from persuading Warren to run (which isn’t happening) to influencing a Hillary Clinton bid (which is). It’s the latest sign that there won’t be much of a Democratic primary – if one at all.

What Didn’t Matter As Much

1. Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement. He’s been walking, talking and acting like a presidential candidate over the past year. Monday’s announcement (seems like an eternity ago, right?) just made it official – and it also made him the first major candidate to officially declare a bid.

2. Cruz being born in Canada. Yes, he was born in Canada. Yes, as NBC’s Carrie Dann wrote, he’s mostly likely eligible to be president (since his mother was a U.S. citizen). And, yes, Barack Obama would have been eligible, too, if he were born in Kenya (which he wasn’t).

3. All of the speculation on Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential ambitions. One, he’s probably not running. Two, even if he does, here’s this from NBC’s Perry Bacon: “Influential Republicans are so far not enthusiastic about the potential presidential candidacy of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, not actively discouraging from him running but not urging him to do so either.”

4. Hillary Clinton’s talk about having a “new beginning” with the political press corps. That’s probably not happening.