In it, but not of it. TPM DC

When Republicans announced this week that they would not even hold hearings for President Barack Obama's eventual nominee to the Supreme Court, Democrats were floored.

They weren’t expecting the political battle royale Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) challenged them to, but publicly and privately they say that they think McConnell has overreached and given them a political opening.

A Democratic leadership aide called the situation “a win, win, win, win, win for us."

"All we have to do is not screw this up," the aide said.

The biggest test for Democrats, and the source of the most uncertainty, is sustaining the message all the way until November. With no confirmation hearings, high-profile courtesy calls for the nominee to pay to GOP senators, or any of the other media-heavy trappings of the normal confirmation process, keeping the story afloat will be their challenge. But that effort is already underway.

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Donald Trump said just hours after news broke that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died that the Senate should "delay, delay, delay" the confirmation of Obama's nominee to replace him on the court. Now, Democrats are saying that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is following the Republican presidential frontrunner's lead when it comes to blocking Obama's pick.

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Updated at 2:33 p.m. ET

Key Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee emerged from a closed door meeting in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office Tuesday united in their determination not to consider any nominee to replace Antonin Scalia until the next president takes office.

Tuesday was the first full day the Senate was back in session since Scalia's death Feb. 13.

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Republicans keep calling their refusal to even consider President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court in an election year a “tradition.” But it is really just the opposite.

The current situation is unprecedented, and not just by virtue of the level of the obstruction Senate Republicans are proposing. It is a happenstance of history but in the modern era, a Supreme Court seat has almost never come open in an election year while the Senate is controlled by the opposite party of the president.

(The one time it did happen, in 1956, President Eisenhower recess-nominated a Democrat, William Brennan.)

While the Senate has the raw power to simply refuse to consider a Supreme Court nominee, the chance to do so in the final year of an opposing president's term has simply not come up.

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Can anyone catch him now?

Donald Trump is projected to win the South Carolina primary Saturday night, his second statewide win this month and a troubling sign for Republican leaders who originally hoped Trumpmentum would be a passing fad.

As the Republican primary remains crowded, with Govs. Jeb Bush and John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio continuing to battle it out to win the establishment money and electoral support, Trump has consistently broken out among an electorate hungry for a "say-it-like-it-is" Washington outsider.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders in Saturday’s Nevada caucus Saturday, a crucial win for the former first lady as she seeks to prove that she has a broader appeal in diverse electorates than the democratic socialist from Vermont.

“Americans are right to be angry, but we are also hungry for real solutions," Clinton said Saturday night during her victory speech.

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