Below is a brief excerpt from Potomac Research Group Chief Political Strategist JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning.
Last night's Democratic debate was supposed to be last one on the official schedule (two more have been added), and would have been the final punctuation mark in Hillary Clinton's clinching of the nomination had she not been upset in MI. Bernie Sanders, reanimated by his Tuesday win, largely fought her to a draw.
We continue to get the sense that Team Clinton is discounting Sanders' tenacity, even after all that's happened. She had a lot of good moments last night, but she still lacks coherence on her Wall Street speeches, and she doubled down on iffy attack lines about the auto bailouts, immigration, and health care that are unlikely to stick. She's not any less likely to be the nominee after this week, but her inability to put Sanders away has her supporters rightly concerned anyway.
Sanders' surprise win in MI will not win him the nomination, but it has certainly added another dimension to the race as the primary trudges onward. Wins like MI will allow Sanders to continue to land jabs on Clinton's more centrist stances, and the longer he contests the primary the more she'll be dragged to the left.
Call it a broken record or call it message discipline, but Bernie's core themes are as clear as ever, while Clinton's remain a mosaic of policy proposals that she hasn't been able to bring into focus. Her inevitable drift leftward may not hurt her much if Trump is her opponent in the general election, but it has a big impact on how she'd have to govern as president.
THROWING MONEY AWAY?
FL's primary next week is the first major, and possibly last, test of the anti-Trump movement. In FL, outside groups have purchased over $12 million in attack ads aimed at Trump -- a princely sum compared to the less than $10,000 spent on anti-Trump buys in both MI and MS. Efforts to oppose Trump have been disorganized and ineffective, and we'll see if the bruised establishment's efforts pay off at all in Florida -- though we expect it'll do little to move the needle.