Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from Potomac Research Group Chief Political Strategist JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning.
TRUMP'S Holy War
Our top story is that Donald Trump is going to build a wall around the Vatican and make the Pope pay for it. It will be the biggest wall around the world's smallest country, but it will be beautiful. Actually, what he really said in reaction to Pope Francis challenging his Christianity was: "If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened."
Just when we thought this election couldn't get any more surreal. With SC Republicans casting their votes tomorrow, we don't think that this spat with the Pope will have much of an impact on the outcome -- but a handful of the many polls just released this morning show a tightening race in the Palmetto State.
South Carolina increasingly looks like a fight to the death between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Bush faces a political death spiral if he finishes behind Rubio, which would demolish the rationale for his candidacy. Rubio faces a financial death spiral if he finishes behind Bush; his campaign needs to tap into sidelined establishment donors and current Bush backers in order to stay afloat.
Unless Bush pulls off a big surprise this weekend, his supporters are likely to bolt for Rubio regardless of whether he concedes or formally endorses his fellow Floridian. Meanwhile, John Kasich will go underground until the Michigan primary on March 8th.