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Nevada State Capitol in 1875
The titan of Nevada politics has a big finale in mind: Swing his entire state back to the D column.
The returns from last night’s Nevada caucuses cast doubt on three assumptions that are widely held and often repeated by Republican elites in Washington, who are perhaps too eager to assure one another that Donald Trump still cannot actually win the nomination.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican and former federal judge, is among candidates being considered by President Barack Obama for appointment to the Supreme Court, a source close to the process said on Wednesday, as Obama sought to overcome Senate Republican resistance to any nominee.
It wasn't supposed to be like this: the day of the Nevada caucuses, and Marco Rubio fighting to come in second place. For months, his campaign had viewed Nevada as its firewall—the state that would deliver a win if the three states preceding it had failed to do so. As Mother Jones reported in January:
Nevada Republican party staffers have been hosting caucus training sessions for months. Republican campaign volunteers have been knocking on doors and calling voters since last summer. The candidates themselves have been collecting endorsements and holding events across the state since last spring.
Sheldon Adelson means not only to pick the Republican nominee, but to dictate his thoughts. Perhaps the most important subtext to Tuesday's contest is who emerges as the leading alternative to the toxic Donald Trump or the rising hard-right appeal of Ted Cruz. And as to this, there is no single factor more important than the verdict of Sheldon Adelson.
Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, who announced today that he will not run for reëlection in 2016, leaves an imposing legacy—the transformation of the federal judiciary. When Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he had a long agenda—mending a collapsing economy, transforming health care, and ending two wars, to name just the top items. Nominating judges to the federal judiciary was low on the list. The President filled two quick vacancies on the Supreme Court with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. As for the dozens of vacancies on the federal circuit and district courts, Obama’s attention was fleeting. He didn’t even submit nominees to fill many judicial vacancies, including on the D.C. Circuit, which is generally regarded as the second most important court in the country.
Though Senate Democrats technically won't choose Reid's replacement until after the November 2016 elections, this is an early move to consolidate support around Schumer and prevent a potential divisive contest within the party. Back in 2010, when many expected Reid to lose reelection, intrigue between Durbin and Schumer about who would succeed Reid was the talk of DC for months. (Weirdly enough, Durbin and Schumer were housemates at the time, and had been for decades.) But Schumer has taken increasingly prominent roles in the Democratic caucus since then, consolidating what already looked like an advantage. Durbin's early endorsement of Schumer is a concession to what's long been the conventional wisdom in Washington: that Schumer had the votes locked up.
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