Welcome to THE TRAIL 2016, your daily rundown from The Hill on all the latest news in the White House, Senate and House races.

No sane person reading the Michigan polls thought Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' MORE had a prayer in the Rust Belt’s primary on March 8. Pundits had begun writing Sanders’s political obituary after the Vermont Senator’s crushing loss in South Carolina and his persistent inability to wrest African-American votes away from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Saagar Enjeti: Clinton remarks on Gabbard 'shows just how deep the rot in our system goes' MORE

But Sanders has built a sturdier movement than the media have given him credit for. Small donations are pouring in at a tremendous rate and his surprise victory in Michigan - which included a larger share of the black vote than he managed in the Deep South.

That has given his team hope that the polls are similarly wrong in other states or that he can overcome Clinton’s single digit leads. If Sanders can win Illinois, Missouri and Ohio tomorrow he will be set to give Clinton a headache all the way to Philadelphia on July 25. 

On the Republican side, a Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE victory in Florida would likely knock home state Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours Erdoğan got the best of Trump, experts warn MORE out of the race. And if Trump can eke out a win over John Kasich in Ohio, the nomination is his to lose. But a divided result, with a Kasich win in Ohio -- a likely scenario given recent polling and his popularity as governor -- could mean a Republican primary road that winds all the way to an open convention. 

Come back to TheHill.com tonight to read Ben Kamisar’s piece on how Tuesday is likely the last stand for Rubio, and tomorrow for Jonathan Easley’s scorecard on Super Tuesday 2.0 and Alex Bolton’s piece on how the presidential race is clashing with the fraught debate around free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

Then stay on TheHill.com for up-to-the-minute Super Tuesday 2.0 results and coverage.

 

RACE TO 1600 PENN 

THE AUTHORITIES VS TRUMP: The Hill’s Caitlin Yilek reports: Authorities in North Carolina are considering whether to press charges against GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump after a protester was assaulted during one of his rallies in Fayetteville, according to WRAL.com. 

RAHM WHO? The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes reports: Hillary Clinton will not meet with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel during her visit to Illinois - a crucial Super Tuesday state - on Monday. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been hammering Clinton for her ties to Emanuel, who is politically toxic due to his administration’s handling of the fatal police shooting of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald. 

DOUBLE STANDARDS: The Hill’s Mark Hensch reports: Marco Rubio suggested his White House operation would fold if its campaign manager bruised a reporter, as a journalist alleges of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s top aide, who Trump has defended. 

COAL-FIRED POWER PLAY: The Hill’s Timothy Cama reports: Republicans and the coal industry are lashing out at Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential hopeful’s prediction that her policies would put many coal companies and miners out of business. By Monday afternoon, her campaign put out a press release touting her “comprehensive plan to protect miners’ pension benefits, revitalize coal communities.” 

LGBT FOR HILLARY: The Hill’s Tim Devaney reports: A group of gay lawmakers is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. The Equality PAC, a political action committee organized last month by a group of gay lawmakers, threw its support behind Clinton on Monday, saying it is “thrilled” by her record of fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. 

TRUMPCARE: The Hill’s Peter Sullivan reports: A new analysis reports that Donald Trump’s healthcare plan would result in about 21 million people losing health insurance and cost about $270 billion over 10 years.  The analysis, from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), looks at the healthcare plan that Trump released earlier this month, which includes many popular Republican concepts.  

 

ODDS AND ENDS:

PUT ME DOWN AS PRO-VIOLENCE: The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes reports: Conservative commentator Ann Coulter late Sunday weighed into the debate over Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's increasingly physical campaign events, calling for "a little more violence." 

PALIN PAIN: The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes reports: A Donald Trump event with Sarah Palin was canceled Monday after her husband, Todd Palin, suffered serious injuries in a snowmobile accident. Palin was hospitalized after the Sunday night accident, according to reports, with the 2008 Republican VP candidate making plans to return home. But Palin ended up joining Trump at another Florida rally on Monday. She thanked the crowd for its support and said Todd is recovering in the intensive care.

 

POLL POSITION

BERNIE ON THE MARCH: The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes reports: The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is tightening according to new polls, with Bernie Sanders closing in on Hillary Clinton in two important contests. 

RUBIO FADING: The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes reports: Donald Trump has extended his lead over Republican presidential rival Marco Rubio in the senator's home state of Florida ahead of Tuesday's primary, according to a new poll. Trump has the support of 44 percent of likely Florida primary voters in the Monmouth University poll released Monday, while Rubio is at 27 percent support. 

OHIO NAIL-BITER: The Hill’s Jesse Byrnes reports: In Ohio, Trump and Kasich are tied at 38 percent each, with Cruz at 16 percent and Rubio at 3 percent, according to Quinnipiac polling.

 

THE DAILY TRUMP

NOT-SO-SUPER PAC: The “Trump Has Tiny Hands PAC” will change its name, after receiving a letter from the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) ordering it to do so. Despite the name change, the PAC’s founder Henry Kraemer said the group’s mission would stay the same. “Educating Americans about the grave dangers of Donald Trump’s unstable stubby baby fingers,” he said.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If ... he were to go out on 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, I would not be willing to support Donald Trump."

-- Ted Cruz, campaigning in Illinois, adopting a line Trump used earlier in the campaign

 

CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGNS

PLAYING HARDBALL: CNN reports: MSNBC's “Hardball” host Chris Matthews is facing renewed scrutiny over his wife's congressional bid. On Monday, Republican congressional candidate Aryeh Shudofsky called on MSNBC to suspend Matthews' show while his wife Kathleen Matthews, a Democrat, was in the race. 

GREENING UP TAMMY: The Hill’s Timothy Cama reports: Three major environmental groups are backing Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) in her bid to unseat Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R). 

BUILDING UP KATIE: Katie McGinty, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, was endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council.

 

MONEY WATCH

BAD CREDIT: The Hill’s Rebecca Savransky reports: Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump has had a rough October Hillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Lawmakers condemn Apple, Activision Blizzard over censorship of Hong Kong protesters MORE hit front-runner Donald Trump on Monday for donating in the past to embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) the day before Illinois's primary.

 

WHAT WE ARE WATCHING FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW:

(All times Eastern) 

Chris Matthews will moderate a town hall with Hillary Clinton in Springfield, Ill.,, that airs at 7 p.m. today. She’ll hold a campaign event in Charlotte, N.C., at 9:15 p.m. Her primary night event on Tuesday will be held in West Palm Beach starting at 7 p.m. 

Marco Rubio returns to the city of West Miami, where he started his political career as a city council member, for a meet and greet at 9 p.m. On Tuesday, he’ll hold a primary night event in Miami starting at 7 p.m. 

Ted Cruz holds a rally in Decatur, Illinois at 8:30 p.m. today. 

Donald Trump holds a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, that will start after 6:30 p.m. and will hold a post-election press conference scheduled for 9 p.m. Tuesday from the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. 

John Kasich holds an election night watch party at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, starting at 8 p.m.

 

TWEET OF THE DAY

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, one of the Republican Party’s most prominent anti-Trumpers, uses humor to defuse a violent Twitter threat.

 

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: Jonathan Easley, Ben KamisarJonathan Swan, Lisa Hagen. 

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