Domenico Montanaro | KERA News

Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's lead editor for politics and digital audience. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs political coverage across the network's broadcast and digital platforms.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and has taught high-school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a die-hard Mets fan and college-basketball junkie.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Ted Cruz ahead of the state's presidential primary next week.

Walker, a former leading presidential candidate, called Cruz a constitutional conservative who can win in the fall.

"I just fundamentally believe if you look at the facts, if you look at the numbers, that Ted Cruz is the best-positioned by far to both win the nomination of the Republican Party and to then go on and defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall this year," Walker said Tuesday morning on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee.

Bernie Sanders scored huge-margin victories Saturday in the caucuses in Washington state, Hawaii and Alaska.

Sanders won with 82 percent in Alaska, 70 percent in Hawaii and 72 percent in Washington. That Washington margin was even bigger than the Sanders campaign expected — and significant, because there are 101 delegates up for grabs there.

This is what a campaign in the gutter looks like.

Once again, the political world is talking about a National Enquirer story.

The last time was during the 2008 presidential campaign when the tabloid alleged that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards had fathered a child out of wedlock. When the rumor first surfaced, the media largely ignored it.

It turned out to be true.

In the immediate aftermath of the Brussels bombings, Donald Trump mentioned something he likes to talk about — polls.

"Well first of all, this is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, because I've been talking about it, certainly much more than anybody else, and it's why I'm probably No. 1 in the polls, because of the fact that I say we have to have strong borders," Trump said Tuesday morning on NBC's Today show.

Hillary Clinton claimed at a recent debate that she'd gotten the most votes in this 2016 presidential election.

That's true, actually.

Yes, she's gotten more votes than Donald Trump.

But the GOP has gotten more total votes because of its larger field of candidates. Republicans have shattered turnout records across the country this year, as NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben has reported.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Primary voters in five states hit the polls today in the 2016 race for president, and here by my side in the studio again as we cover results over the next few hours is my co-host for the evening, Rachel Martin.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This has been an unpredictable primary season, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: This race, on both sides, is going to go on for a while.

For Republicans, because of how the vote has been split up, no one will have the required delegates to be the nominee until — at the earliest — their very last nominating day, June 7. That's true even if Donald Trump sweeps the big winner-take-all states Tuesday, although the direction will be very clear if that happens.

Call it Mega Tuesday. Only Super Tuesday (March 1) had more delegates at stake on a single day than the upcoming contests on Tuesday. More than 1,000 delegates are up for grabs — and the results will be pivotal.

The biggest prizes on the GOP side are the winner-take-all states of Florida and Ohio. On the Democratic side, which still awards delegates proportionally, it's Florida and Illinois, followed by Ohio.

Bernie Sanders was able to win in Michigan, upsetting Hillary Clinton, with the support of white men. (NPR's Tamara Keith laid that out in this post this morning). Sanders won 62% of white men in the Michigan Democratic primary, while Clinton won 68% of black voters. That is a big share, but wasn't enough — and certainly smaller than the margins she's gotten among black voters in Southern states.

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Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Michigan was the big political story last night. Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton, a win that he hopes changes the trajectory of the campaign.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton currently lead the delegate counts for the presidential nomination. But because of the difference in how both parties award their delegates, Clinton's is the more commanding lead.


Michigan is an important test for Sanders

Tuesday's Democratic contest in Michigan, the biggest prize of the day, is key for Bernie Sanders to show he can turn things around. His campaign has argued that Clinton has ballooned her lead because of black voters in the South.

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There's a first time for everything. That's certainly held true in this campaign dominated by Donald Trump.

And Republicans opposed to Trump are beginning to abandon the idea that Marco Rubio (or anyone else) can win a majority of delegates before the first round of balloting at this summer's GOP convention in Cleveland, where the party will officially pick its nominee.

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Everyone's talking about "Super Tuesday," what it means and that it's such a big deal in this presidential campaign. But why? Here's a quick explainer. Think of it as a frequently asked questions for Super Tuesday:

What is Super Tuesday? It's when more states vote and more delegates are at stake than on any other single day in the presidential primary campaign.

Hillary Clinton goes into Super Tuesday with a 26-pledged-delegate lead (91-65) over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She also has a 433-superdelegate lead (453-20).

In crunching some numbers, an NPR analysis finds one very rosy scenario for Sanders in which he comes out with the majority of pledged delegates on Super Tuesday. This is considered unlikely, but it's his best possible day.

The phrase "Super Tuesday" first emerged in 1980, when three Southern states — Alabama, Florida and Georgia — held their primaries on the same day.

It grew to nine in 1984. But the modern-day Super Tuesday was born in 1988, when a dozen Southern states on the Democratic side, upset with the nomination of Walter Mondale four years earlier and frustrated with being out of power in the White House for 20 years save for one term of Jimmy Carter, banded together to try to nominate someone more moderate.

It backfired.

More than a dozen states vote Tuesday, and almost 1,500 delegates are at stake. It's the biggest day of the 2016 presidential election, and it could be pivotal.

Seven Southern states are voting Tuesday — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. That means on the Democratic side, black voters will play a pivotal role. (Six of those states, except Oklahoma, have significant black populations in Democratic primaries.) But for the GOP, those same Southern states mean a more socially conservative, more religious electorate.

The Appointment Clause of the Constitution (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2) states that the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the Supreme Court."

President Obama struck a somber tone, remembering the late-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a "towering legal mind" who influenced a generation, but made it clear, he intends to replace him.

"I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in — due time," Obama said. "There will be plenty of time for me to do so, and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote."

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A lot of Republicans will head to the polls in New Hampshire on Tuesday, motivated to vote against Donald Trump.

But because of a quirk in how the state party allocates delegates and how fractured the "establishment" field is, it could mean that an anti-Trump vote will actually be a vote for the New York billionaire.

Here's how:

The state party awards delegates on a proportional basis to presidential candidates based on their vote statewide and by congressional district.

But it also has a 10 percent threshold.

Iowa and New Hampshire get a lot of attention, but their records in picking presidents, let alone nominees, is spotty (as you can see from the chart above). But that doesn't mean the states don't matter. They have been effective at weeding the field of candidates, and they're about momentum for those later states.

Plus, in the last 40 years, just one person has gone on to win the presidency after losing both Iowa and New Hampshire — Bill Clinton.

Here's how the predictability of the states breaks down by party:

People are complicated.

That was certainly true of Vincent A. Cianci, better known as Buddy. He was the enigmatic former mayor of Providence, who died Thursday morning at the age of 74.

Donald Trump said this week if he went out on Fifth Avenue in New York and shot someone, he probably wouldn't lose any votes.

He chose a pretty big someone — Fox News (whose offices are one block over from Fifth).

Tune in to Thursday night's Republican debate on Fox (9 p.m. EST) in Iowa, the last one before Monday's caucuses, and you'll notice one very big elephant not in the room — Trump. The man who helped Fox to a record 24 million viewers in the first primary debate of this campaign season won't be there.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's something we hear in every election season. Don't obsess over polls. Go tell it to Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: So CNN came out 33 for Trump; 20 for Cruz. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yeah.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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