News, Straight to the Point

Like it or not, the Republican Party woke up Wednesday morning to its reality: In the most likely scenario now after Super Tuesday, the party will have to depend on loose cannon, anti-establishment, David Duke-backed Donald Trump to defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in November.

It's a scenario that seemed unimaginable months ago for a Republican Party that had cast its hopes on expanding its base in 2016. The Republican field was stocked with accomplished governors and young, energetic senators who gave face to the younger wing of the party. After Trump's crushing wins from Georgia to Virginia Tuesday, however, it is hard to imagine anyone else can break through enough to beat him.

A CNN poll of registered voters nationally released Tuesday reveals what establishment Republicans have always been fearful of; Trump is a liability for the party. In a matchup, the poll showed Clinton bested Trump 52 percent to 44 percent, a sign that the Republican Party's best chance to take back the White House could be wasted on a candidate who flimsily echoes sometimes-newly-adopted conservative principles with little insight into or regard for decades-worth of conservative orthodoxy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – the national GOP's de facto leader who has begun prepping his delicately-built Republican majority in the Senate for a Trump-dominated general election– allegedly told members "we'll drop him like a hot rock" if that is what it takes to protect vulnerable senators.

But demographers and pollsters say that a Democratic wave and a Clinton victory is hardly sealed even against Trump.There is still a path, albeit a narrow one, for him to win. Here is what to watch for in a Clinton-Trump showdown this year.

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Going mano a mano against Bernie Sanders -- and days after they essentially tied in Iowa -- Hillary Clinton’s performance at Thursday’s MSNBC debate reflected someone who no longer thought her nomination was inevitable. Her attacks were sharper, she responded to his criticisms more directly and she pushed new arguments that she had been holding back so far in the campaign.

Here are five things that changed during Thursday’s debate.

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Next week, Iowa Republicans are expected to choose either an erratic New York billionaire or a detested U.S. senator as their party's next nominee for president.

It's Trump v. Cruz -- and the Republican Party is somehow just along for the ride.

After a gut-punching loss in 2012, the Republican Party vowed it would be primed and ready for 2016 with a strong field of candidates who were less focused on serving up red meat to the base and more committed to fine tuning rhetoric that resonated with general election voters.

But it did not go as expected. Now Republicans are facing the very real prospect of a two-man race of their nightmares: Trump – a carnival barker who once donated money to the Clintons and has already alienated Hispanics and Muslims – or Cruz, a Canadian-born, government-shutdown loving, lightening rod.

So how did the Republican Party actually get here?

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It's been nearly two weeks since armed squatters took over a federal wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon. And, despite calls from the community that leader Ammon Bundy pack up his brigade and leave town, the groups remains holed up at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League gives us additional insight into the self-proclaimed Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, who they are and what they want.

It is still unknown how many individuals are at the preserve, but ADL has identified 30 of them. Here is what we know:

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) filed his first criminal charges last week since being given the authority to prosecute voting crimes earlier this year.

Kobach's office filed three cases on Oct. 9 that he said were alleged instances of double-voting. After Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed legislation in June giving Kobach the authority to prosecute such cases, the secretary of state said his office had already identified 100 instances of potential double voting in the Sunflower State; he signaled in a Tuesday interview with The Wichita Eagle that he'd file more cases in the coming months.

The arch-conservative Kobach has long warned about the danger voter fraud poses to the integrity of elections in Kansas even though voter fraud is incredibly rare. The secretary of state even admitted in an interview last month with local TV station KWCH that instances of double-voting were "a small percentage of the number of votes cast. Less than 1% of the votes in any given election." But he justified prosecuting those cases on the grounds that even a small number of double-voters could have an impact on an election.

"The question is do we have close elections in Kansas that sometimes come down to one or two or five votes," Kobach said, as quoted by KWCH. "And the answer is, yes, we have them all the time."

Here's what you need to know about first voting crimes allegations being prosecuted by the only secretary of state in the nation to have that power.

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