News, Straight to the Point

Republican leaders are patting themselves on the back for the rollout of what they're portraying as their Obamacare replacement plan. The policy paper, which consists of a broad set of aspirations without any dollar amounts or legislative mechanics, promises to slow the growth of health care costs through caps on government programs and on the tax breaks currently offered on employer-provided health plans. It does not, however, make any guarantees of universal coverage, nor does it provide enough details to assess its impact on the federal deficit or how Republicans plan to pay for what they’re promising. Many of the proposals have been trotted out before and have their own downsides when looked at in a standalone fashion.

Here’s what you need to know about the "new" approach:

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A lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party challenging Arizona’s election practices is the latest front in the legal battle over voting rights since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.

The legal complaint gives a glimpse into the meticulous details involved in election planning, details that, when overlooked, could have major implications for voters on Election Day. It zeroes in on Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, where March's presidential preference election featured hours-long lines that made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many to vote.

Democrats say that many of the problems would have been prevented had the Supreme Court not taken a major swipe at the Voting Rights Act in 2013's Shelby County v. Holder decision. Due to that decision, Arizona was no longer required to submit any changes to its voting regulations for federal approval. Now Democrats are asking a federal judge in Phoenix to examine Maricopa's plans for carrying out its general election in November and make sure minority voters will not be disproportionately burdened by the system. It is also asking the judge to block state laws that Democrats say will also disenfranchise minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters.

Here are 5 points on how Dems say Arizona screwed up its election.

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Last Friday Ryan Johnson, Executive Director of The Fairness Project, joined TPM Prime members in The Hive to chat about income inequality, economic fairness, and the fight for a living minimum wage. The discussion covered everything from the efficacy of ballot initiatives in addressing these issues to the resentments engendered by the Fight for $15 movement. Here are five of Johnson's key points.

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Like it or not, the Republican Party woke up Wednesday morning to its reality: In the most likely scenario now after Super Tuesday, the party will have to depend on loose cannon, anti-establishment, David Duke-backed Donald Trump to defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in November.

It's a scenario that seemed unimaginable months ago for a Republican Party that had cast its hopes on expanding its base in 2016. The Republican field was stocked with accomplished governors and young, energetic senators who gave face to the younger wing of the party. After Trump's crushing wins from Georgia to Virginia Tuesday, however, it is hard to imagine anyone else can break through enough to beat him.

A CNN poll of registered voters nationally released Tuesday reveals what establishment Republicans have always been fearful of; Trump is a liability for the party. In a matchup, the poll showed Clinton bested Trump 52 percent to 44 percent, a sign that the Republican Party's best chance to take back the White House could be wasted on a candidate who flimsily echoes sometimes-newly-adopted conservative principles with little insight into or regard for decades-worth of conservative orthodoxy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – the national GOP's de facto leader who has begun prepping his delicately-built Republican majority in the Senate for a Trump-dominated general election– allegedly told members "we'll drop him like a hot rock" if that is what it takes to protect vulnerable senators.

But demographers and pollsters say that a Democratic wave and a Clinton victory is hardly sealed even against Trump.There is still a path, albeit a narrow one, for him to win. Here is what to watch for in a Clinton-Trump showdown this year.

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Going mano a mano against Bernie Sanders -- and days after they essentially tied in Iowa -- Hillary Clinton’s performance at Thursday’s MSNBC debate reflected someone who no longer thought her nomination was inevitable. Her attacks were sharper, she responded to his criticisms more directly and she pushed new arguments that she had been holding back so far in the campaign.

Here are five things that changed during Thursday’s debate.

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Next week, Iowa Republicans are expected to choose either an erratic New York billionaire or a detested U.S. senator as their party's next nominee for president.

It's Trump v. Cruz -- and the Republican Party is somehow just along for the ride.

After a gut-punching loss in 2012, the Republican Party vowed it would be primed and ready for 2016 with a strong field of candidates who were less focused on serving up red meat to the base and more committed to fine tuning rhetoric that resonated with general election voters.

But it did not go as expected. Now Republicans are facing the very real prospect of a two-man race of their nightmares: Trump – a carnival barker who once donated money to the Clintons and has already alienated Hispanics and Muslims – or Cruz, a Canadian-born, government-shutdown loving, lightening rod.

So how did the Republican Party actually get here?

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