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

by Mark Murray /
People wave a multicolored flag outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on June 26, 2015 after its historic decision on gay marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. The nation's highest court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, said the US Constitution requires all states to carry out and recognize marriage between people of the same sex. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOVMLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images
People wave a multicolored flag outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on June 26, 2015 after its historic decision on gay marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. The nation's highest court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, said the US Constitution requires all states to carry out and recognize marriage between people of the same sex. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOVMLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty ImagesMLADEN ANTONOV / AFP - Getty Images

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In today's rapid-fire political news cycle, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the different news out there - especially after a very busy week in American politics. 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 Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Decision: Friday’s 5-4 decision legalizing gay marriage across the country will reverberate in the GOP presidential race, especially with nearly six-10 Republicans opposing it, according to this week’s NBC/WSJ poll. And the reactions from the GOP contenders have differed – some are angry and defiant, some have accepted it, and some are a mix of the two.

2. The Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision: This mattered for what it DIDN’T do – throw the health system (and economy) into potential chaos. Republicans, in particular, can breathe a sigh of relief that they don’t have to worry about that outcome’s aftermath and blame. And the ’16 candidates don’t have to change their rhetoric regarding the law, either.

3. Obama at 48 Percent Approval: Yes, Obama had a pretty good week. But maybe more importantly, he's had a pretty good last few months – reflected by his 48 percent approval rating in the latest NBC/WSJ poll. And if you don’t think presidential approval matters, just look back to 2014 (when Obama’s approval was in the low 40s) or 2008 (when George W. Bush’s was in the 20s).

4. Team O'Malley vs. Sanders: This week, a pro-Martin O’Malley Super PAC starting attacking Bernie Sanders for some of his views on guns. The reason why: O’Malley has to take down Sanders to be the top Democratic alternative to Hillary – which probably isn’t too displeasing to the campaign team in Brooklyn.

What Didn’t Matter As Much

1. Trump's Poll Position: Sure, new polls this week showed Donald Trump in double digits – and second place – nationally and in New Hampshire. But keep this in mind: Two-thirds of GOP voters say they couldn’t support him.

2. The Confederate Flag Debate: Talk about change happening at such a fast pace. But when it comes to 2016, do realize that the presidential candidates (D and R) are on the same side here – well, except maybe for one person: Jim Webb.

3. The Trade Debate: We’re on the record saying that Obama’s trade agenda being back on track puts Hillary Clinton on the spot – she now has to take a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Yet maybe we missed it or maybe it got drowned out by this week’s other events, but the anti-trade voices inside the Democratic Party aren’t as loud today as we thought they would be.

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