Daily Kickoff: RJC & J Street to face off in Vegas | Donors shy from fight with Trump | Rubenstein on the race | BDays: Joe Lieberman; Jan Koum is 4-0

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STATE OF THE RACE: “Cruz and Rubio’s Finish Far Behind Trump Sets Up Desperate Race in March 1 Contests” by Reid J. Epstein and Byron Tau: “With Donald Trump winning his third straight Republican presidential nominating contest here by a commanding margin, the New York developer will take some of the rationale behind both senators’ argument that they can consolidate the party’s non-Trump support.” [WSJDailyBeast]

Next Up: “Cruz, Rubio and Kasich all face must-wins in home states” by Will Weissert and Scott Bauer: “In their efforts to derail Donald Trump from the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are all facing enormous pressure in their home state primaries, which account for about a fourth of the delegates up for grabs in the next three weeks. Failure to defend their turf could leave each explaining what states they can win going forward — and make the New York billionaire look all the more inevitable.” [AP]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Mega-donors shy away from fight with Trump” by Kenneth Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf: “The party’s elite donor class has mostly closed its checkbooks to groups dedicated to stopping Trump, while the outfits that have built massive reserves are increasingly deciding to forgo anti-Trump campaigns, despite widespread fears that he is making a mockery of conservatism and could undermine Republicans up and down the ballot. The donors cite the lack of success of the few super PAC attacks that have already targeted Trump as evidence that such attacks have not ― and cannot ― halt his momentum. And they worry that, if they fund higher-profile attacks, they could come under attack from Trump.”

“Adelson, one of the most coveted GOP donors, has rejected entreaties from Packer’s super PAC and other groups seeking cash to oppose Trump, according to a source close to the casino billionaire. Adelson would seem a natural funder for such efforts, since he distrusts Trump’s commitment to Israel’s defenses, which is the mogul’s animating issue. But the source close to Adelson explained “right now everything is negative, and he doesn’t want to be involved in that.” [Politico]

TOP TALKER: “Adelsons Cast Their Ballots in Las Vegas, but Keep Cards Close” by Alexandra Berzon and Reid Epstein: “Spooked that a small handful of reporters were standing around watching him vote, Mr. Adelson covered the top half of his ballot with his left hand as he checked a box on the lower third of his ballot – where the names Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald J. Trump appear, with his right… Trying to keep prying eyes away from her ballot, Mr. Adelson’s wife, Miriam, asked Ms. Cento, “how many times can I fold it?” Ms. Cento informed the billionaire’s wife that she could fold her ballot twice to keep it secret. Mrs. Adelson also declined to reveal her presidential preference. “God knows who I like,” she said.” [WSJJI]

VEGAS SHOWDOWN: Republican Jewish Coalition and J Street — Hotter Ticket Than Mayweather-Pacquiao? On Wednesday, March 9th at 7:00 pm, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks will appear together at Temple Beth Sholom to discuss American foreign policy in the Middle East, the US-Israel relationship, and the role of the American Jewish community. The event will be moderated by PBS’ Jon Ralston. [JewishInsider] • Earlier this year — “Street Fight: RJC takes on J Street” [JewishInsider]

Democrats name Brandeis Jewish studies grad to head outreach: “The Democratic National Committee named as Jewish outreach director a Jewish studies graduate of Brandeis University. Aaron Weinberg, who studied Moroccan Jewish studies and Jewish education at the suburban Boston school, was hired last week to lead campaigning in Jewish communities ahead of this year’s presidential election campaign. He spent a year on Kivunim, an Israeli program that studies Diaspora communities, and has done stints at Hebrew University, the Shalom Hartman Institute, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship and with J Street.” [JTA]

PROFILE: “Behind Ted Cruz’s Campaign Manager, Scorched Earth and Election Victories” by Matt Flegenheimer: “As Jeff Roe prepared to manage his first presidential bid for Mr. Cruz last February, he faced new scrutiny at home. Days after he ran a radio ad mocking the physical appearance of Tom Schweich, a candidate in Missouri’s Republican primary for governor, by comparing him to Barney Fife, Mr. Schweich committed suicide. Peers said Mr. Schweich had faced many demons; he also thought the chairman of the state’s Republican Party had falsely spread word that he was Jewish. Mr. Roe has expressed condolences to Mr. Schweich’s family and horror at the death, but he betrayed little regret for the ad itself.” [NYTimes]

Headline: “Our next president is set to be the first who is Hispanic, Jewish, female — or a Trump” [WashPost]

“Bernie Sanders, as Secular Jew, Leaves Religion in Background” by Joseph Berger: “Mr. Sanders, those who know him say, exemplifies a distinct strain of Judaism, a secular offshoot at least 150 years old whose adherents in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and the jostling streets of the Lower East Side were socialists, anarchists, radicals and union organizers focused less on observance than on economic justice and repairing a broken world. Indeed, he seems more comfortable speaking about Pope Francis, whose views on income inequality he admires, than about his own religious beliefs.” [NYTimes]

Sanders was asked about his ‘spirituality’ at last night’s CNN town hall: “Every great religion in the world — Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — essentially comes down to: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ And what I have believed in my whole life — I believed it when I was a 22-year-old kid getting arrested in Chicago fighting segregation — I’ve believed it in my whole life. That we are in this together. When you hurt, I hurt.” [VideoRPress]

James Kirchick Op: “How the regressive left’s new campaign against Hillary Clinton represents the cannibalizing of American liberalism” [TabletMag]

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SPOTLIGHT: “At Investors’ Conference in Germany, Tepid Support for U.S. Candidates” by Chad Bray: “As a former aide to President Jimmy Carter, David M. Rubenstein, the co-founder of the Carlyle Group, is often asked about his views on this year’s presidential race in the United States. Speaking on Wednesday at SuperReturn International, an investors’ conference here, Mr. Rubenstein posed a very different question to an audience of industry executives, investors and service providers: Among the remaining Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls, to whom would you entrust your investments? The response from the audience was not encouraging… “At this point, it’s hard to see which states, where Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz are actually going to beat Donald Trump,” Rubenstein said.” [DealBook] • Flashback to December 2014, Rubenstein interviewed Trump at the Economic Club of D.C.[CSPAN]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “The Subscription Service That Promises To Deliver ‘Jew-y Goodness’ To Your Door” by Carol Kuruvilla: “Hello Mazel is a new nationwide subscription service that promises to deliver a box of both edible and non-edible Jewish goodies four times a year, starting this April for Passover. The service was dreamed up by members of The Kitchen, an alternative, non-denominational Jewish community in San Francisco and includes items that are curated by a variety of experts — from San Francisco tastemakers to Facebook’s former director of market development, Randi Zuckerberg, who is a member of the Hello Mazel team.” [HuffPost]

“Kosher Punk: Meet Girls-Only Hasidic Rockers Bulletproof Stockings” by Madison Margolin: “They wear leather jackets, leopard print, and lots of black; high heels, lipstick, and opaque tights — the self-satirizing namesake for the world’s first all-girl, all-kosher rock band, Bulletproof Stockings. On the streets of Crown Heights, home to one of Brooklyn’s largest Hasidic communities, Dalia Shusterman, Perl Wolfe, Dana Pestun, and Elisheva Maister, covered head to toe in long sleeves, long skirts, and, yes, thick stockings, hardly stand out from other women walking down Eastern Parkway or Kingston Avenue. “We’re the least famous famous people you’ve ever met,” says Wolfe, the band’s lead singer, songwriter, and pianist.” [VillageVoice]

“Georgetown gets $10 million for Holocaust research as Jewish studies grow at Catholic school” by Nick Anderson and Michelle Boorstein: “A 13-year-old Jewish studies program in the Jesuit university’s prestigious School of Foreign Service will be formally renamed the Center for Jewish Civilization next week. The center will have a $20 million endowment, officials said, counting the new $10 million gift from Miami philanthropists Norman and Irma Braman. Its mission is to explore foreign policy pertaining to Israel; the Holocaust and genocide issues; Jewish-Catholic relations; and Jewish literature, culture and religious expression.” [WashPost]

Headline: “OU reaches settlement with family of stolen Jewish painting on display at Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art” [Fox25] • FYI: OU is University of Oklahoma and not the Orthodox Union. [ReutersNYTimes]

“Nonprofits Grow Wary of Financial Squeeze” by Melanie Grayce West: “It was just over a year ago when David Rivel, chief executive of the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services, got a call that would shape the future of his organization. An official with New York state’s office of mental health reached him at home on a Sunday with an urgent request: Could the Jewish Board immediately take on $75 million in social-services programs serving thousands of the state’s neediest?What led to the phone calls—and the Jewish Board’s decision to say yes—was the sudden closure of another New York nonprofit, Federation Employment & Guidance Service.” [WSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Towns restrict door-to-door solicitation amid Hasidic influx” by Bruce Shipkowski: “A housing crunch in Lakewood, home to one of the nation’s largest populations of Hasidic Jews, has triggered what residents of neighboring communities say are overly aggressive, all-hours solicitations from agents looking to find homes for the rapidly growing Jewish community. The complaints have prompted towns, including Toms River, to update their “no-knock” rules and related laws, adding real estate inquiries to measures that already limit when soliciting can occur and allow residents to bar solicitations. But Jewish leaders and others say the no-knock laws unfairly target Orthodox Jews and those seeking to help them find houses.” [AP]

CAMPUS BEAT — Anti-Israel demonstrations are in danger of morphing into anti-Semitism, writes Simon Schama: “Why is it somehow proper to boycott Israeli academics and cultural institutions, many of which are critical of government policy, but to remain passive in the face of Saudi Arabia’s brutal punishment of anyone whose exercise of freedom of conscience can be judged sacrilegious? Why is the rage so conspicuously selective? Or, to put it another way, why is it so much easier to hate the Jews?” [FinancialTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman turns 74… WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum turns 4-0… Aaron Applbaum… Gidon Feen, former Hillary Iowa Fellow and now with the Podesta Group in office of the chairman (yesterday)…

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