Can Beto O’Rourke Be a Giant Killer?

New York Times: “It has been so bleak for Democrats in Texas that they define victory in terms of the size of their losses. A running joke in Mr. O’Rourke’s speeches is that he has almost convinced his mother, Melissa, a Republican, to vote for him.”

“But there is power in the giant-killer narrative and signs that his anti-campaign playbook campaign is working. He raised $2.4 million in the last quarter, and gets applause when he notes that was $500,000 more than Mr. Cruz took in.”

“He has a restless energy that has put him in 217 of Texas 254 counties, driving tens of thousands of miles, fueled by bad coffee and Hostess cupcakes that supporters bring him.”

Trump Jr. to Give Foreign Policy Speech

“The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is making what’s been dubbed an unofficial visit to India to promote his family’s real estate projects there. But he’s also planning to deliver a foreign policy speech on Indo-Pacific relations at an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the Washington Post reports.

“News that the Trump Organization would be offering buyers in the Trump Tower the chance to meet the president’s son sparked criticism of potential conflict of interest, and the fact that Trump Jr. will be giving a foreign policy speech while on a private business trip complicates the matter further.”

State Officials Are Returning to Paper Ballots

“Hoping to counter waves of Russian Twitter bots, fake social media accounts, and hacking attacks aimed at undermining American democracy, state election officials around the country are seizing on an old-school strategy: paper ballots,” the Boston Globe reports.

“In Virginia, election officials have gone back to a paper ballot system, as a way to prevent any foreign interference. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe this month ordered county officials to ensure new election equipment produces a paper record. Georgia lawmakers are considering legislation to replace a touch-screen voting system with paper.”

Pennsylvania Court Will Release New Congressional Map

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to release a new congressional district map on Monday, after weeks of political and legal fighting following its ruling that the map adopted in 2011 was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“But whatever the map looks like, don’t expect it to end the battle.”

“Republican lawmakers have vowed to resist the court’s order, saying they will seek a federal challenge to whatever map is selected.”

White House Says Trump Supports Background Checks

A White House spokesman says President Trump “is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system” for gun purchases, less than a week after the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people, CNN reports.

“He also said he was open to banning bump stocks in the wake of last fall’s Las Vegas shooting, but there hasn’t been significant further action by the White House on that front.”

Can Parkland Students Finally Spur Action on Guns?

First Read: “We’ve all become accustomed to the pattern that typically happens after mass shootings: An outcry and calls for action on gun control, followed by a slow fade of the tragedy from the national headlines as the mourning community is left to pick up the pieces on its own. But something does feel a little different this time, with so many students from Parkland speaking out with passion and clarity even after having endured a shooting less than a week ago.”

“Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have announced a nationwide march on March 24, and there’s a call for a national school walkout on April 20 (the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre.)”

What Does Mueller Know About WikiLeaks?

First Read: “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments on Friday focused only on the social media and grassroots components of Russia’s interference campaign. But they didn’t address the hacked emails from John Podesta and the DNC that WikiLeaks released — and which Donald Trump and his campaign eagerly used during the final days of the 2016 election.”

“Trump insists he and his campaign didn’t collude with Russia… But his campaign certainly took advantage of the WikiLeaks release — about which Mueller’s investigation has been silent. At least so far.”

How Trump’s Fixer Keeps Him Out of Trouble

The New York Times runs a fascinating piece on how Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has been protecting him from scandal for years.

“The lawyer relied on intimidation tactics, hush money and the nation’s leading tabloid news business, American Media Inc., whose top executives include close Trump allies… He maneuvered in the pay-to-play gossip world — populated by porn stars and centerfold models, tabloid editors and lawyers with B- and C-list entertainment clients.”

Conservatives Urge Trump to Grant Pardons

“After months of criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, President Trump’s supporters are issuing increasingly bold calls for presidential pardons to limit the investigation’s impact,” Politico reports.

“The pleas for mercy mainly extend to the four former Trump aides who have already been swept up in the Russia probe: former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. But they don’t stop there.”

Said conservative activist Larry Klayman: “I think he should pardon everybody — and pardon himself.”

Limbaugh Wants ‘Concealed Carry’ In Schools

“Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called for concealed carry in U.S. schools on Sunday in response to the deadly shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 and injured several others,” Politico reports.

Said Limbaugh: “The solution is we need concealed carry in these schools. If we’re not going to take action, we better have mechanisms in these schools to stop it when it breaks out.”

Quote of the Day

“He clearly, I think, has failed in carrying out his duty as president of the United States, which is to protect our democracy. If this is information warfare, then I think he’s the first draft dodger in the war.”

— Former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, quoted by Politico, on President Trump’s unwillingness to stand up to Russian attacks on U.S. elections.