SHOCKED, SHOCKED

1. It’s Wednesday, March 2, 2016. It is no longer Super Tuesday.

2. So now that the single biggest day of primaries and caucuses is over, here are some of the things that stand out:

— Hillary Clinton’s picture is splashed all over the place after she won seven of the 11 states up for grabs. But Bernie Sanders didn’t have a bad night. The victories in Minnesota and Colorado came late in the evening, after Clinton’s more prime-time wins, but they’re wins in significant states.

No, he’s not going to be the Democratic nominee. But Sanders and the people who support him want and deserve to be heard. They raise important questions and issues, including campaign finance reform. Clinton would be well advised to take those concerns seriously and make sure they’re addressed at the convention in Philadelphia and during the fall campaign.

When, I hope, Bernie Sanders will crisscross the country helping get her elected.

3. Here’s the best part of smarmy Ted Cruz’s speech last night: Not long after he implored the other candidates to get out, saying he’s the only one who has beaten Donald Trump one on one, Marco Rubio captured the Minnesota caucus.

If anything, Rubio’s victory is more impressive than Cruz winning his home state of Texas or the neighboring state of Oklahoma, because Minnesota is more in play in the general election.

I’m wondering if Democrats would have a much easier time with Cruz than with Trump. There’s almost no chance Cruz would generate much enthusiasm outside the solid red states. And he’s such a polarizing jackass that Democrats would have little trouble motivating their base in the blue and swing states.

4. It is eye-rolling to see Republicans protest Trump’s failure to disavow any support from the Ku Klux Klan. They’re shocked, shocked by this, the same way Inspector Renault was shocked, shocked that there was gambling going on at Rick’s Café Américain. How could anyone accept the backing of white supremacists?

Except that the modern Republican Party has made its way through the past 50 years by having a winking relationship with bigots. Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Reagan’s 1980 “states’ rights” speech not far from the Mississippi site where civil rights’ workers were killed. Romney’s 47% comments.

So stop being so shocked that Trump didn’t completely throw David Duke and the KKK under the bus. That’s not what Republicans have done up to now. And, besides, the people who are voting for Trump aren’t the least bit offended by any cozying to racists — a lot of them have been hiding the same thoughts for decades.

5. Some people feel sorry for Chris Christie after being a potted plant in the background of Trump’s victory speech. Don’t. If he looks like one of those “Oh yes, sir, Mr. Trump” flunkies at the Trump Tower, it’s because he embraced the role. He didn’t have to endorse Trump, he chose to do it.

It couldn’t happen to a more appropriate guy. He’s got less than two years left as governor of New Jersey – he should enjoy the limos and the fanfare that turn him on while he still has them.

6. There are lots of Democrats who wish Van Jones was running for president after last night’s confrontation with fellow CNN analyst Jeffrey Lord.

Jones called out Trump’s KKK fudging with Lord, who’s a Trump backer. His passion about the issue was a welcome reminder that these things aren’t just talking points — for people, especially African-Americans who have faced white supremacist violence for centuries, this is life and death.

Jones seems to draw a lot of flak from conservatives because of their perception of his views. But he’s smart and fair-minded, not afraid to criticize people on both sides of the political spectrum. He’s only 47, and maybe there’s a chance he can be the answer to some of the yearning Democrats feel about their future.

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