State Sen. Jamie Raskin won Tuesday's Democratic primary in Maryland's eighth congressional district. But the bigger story is who lost—that would be David Trone, a wine retailer who spent $12.7 million of his own money in the hopes of winning the seat.

Trone, running in a district that includes the affluent Washington, DC, suburbs in Montgomery County, set a record for most money spent by a self-funding congressional candidate to win a House seat. (The previous record was $7.8 million, and that included both a primary and a general election; as of early April, Raskin's campaign had spent a little more than $1 million.)

The irony is that Trone was running as a campaign finance crusader. Much like Donald Trump, who cites his $35 million investment in his campaign as proof he can't be bought, Trone believed his enormous personal wealth would insulate him from charges of corruption. "I certainly could have raised enough money to fund a competitive campaign," he said in a full-page Washington Post ad two weeks ago, when he had only spent a pedestrian $9.1 million. "But the PACs, lobbyists and big dollar donors who give money would expect special attention. No matter how well-intentioned, those contributions and the candidates who take them are part of the reason Washington is broken."

That message carried him to the brink of success—or maybe it was just the deluge ads—but in the end, money alone didn't cut it. Trone won by large margins in the two counties that comprise a smaller portion of the district, but Raskin held a sizable edge in his home county, Montgomery. Trone's final receipt: a little more than $400 per vote.

Donald Trump dominated all five states in Tuesday's East Coast Republican primaries, a sweep that brought him at least 105 delegates and pushes him further along his path to securing the Republican presidential nomination and avoid a contested convention.

The Republican front-runner celebrated his impressive night from Trump Tower in New York, surrounded by his family and supporters including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, where he declared the Republican primary race all but over. He also continued his recent calls for Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz to end their campaigns.

"I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely," Trump told reporters. "Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich should really get out of the race."

The real estate magnate went on to ridicule his two rivals in light of their recent announcement that they were uniting to defeat Trump and force a brokered convention—a strategy that started to collapse a day after it was announced.

"Governor Kasich and Senator Cruz have really, really hurt themselves with a faulty deal," he said. "Politicians, all talk, no action."

When asked about reports he would soon be striking a more "presidential" tone, Trump hinted that although he might act differently, his "thought process" would remain the same.

"If you have a football team and you're winning, and you make it to the Super Bowl, you don't change your quarterback," Trump said.

Trump concluded his victory speech by suggesting the only factor driving Hillary Clinton's success is the "woman's card" and that if she were a man, she wouldn't be able to get even 5 percent of the vote. In her victory speech, Clinton referred to Trump's previous reference to her playing the "woman's card" and said that if that meant standing up for equal pay for equal work, and health care for women, "deal me in."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced on Tuesday that Kansas is withdrawing from the federal government's refugee resettlement program over concerns that Syrian refugees could be security threats.

"Because the federal government has failed to provide adequate assurances regarding refugees it is settling in Kansas, we have no option but to end our cooperation with and participation in the federal refugee resettlement program," Brownback said in a press release.

Brownback had already issued an executive order in November stating that "no department, commission, board, or agency of the government of the State of Kansas shall aid, cooperate with, or assist in any way the relocation of refugees from Syria to the State of Kansas." Tuesday's announcement would apply to refugees from any country. But while the move sounds drastic, it's mostly a symbolic act that will have little on-the-ground impact for refugees or public safety.

For one, pulling out of the federal resettlement program doesn't mean refugees won't be allowed to live in Kansas. While Indiana and other states have tried to bar Syrians from entering their borders, they aren't actually able to do so. Like any other visa holders, refugees are able to go anywhere in the United States they'd like. It also doesn't mean that support for refugees who are currently living in Kansas or may move there will dry up. The funds that state agencies use for refugee aid are almost entirely federal money, and the Department of Health and Human Services retains control over the funds even if state employees or agencies don't take part. In those cases, Health and Human Services simply appoints another organization to administer the money. "This is the situation in some other states, usually because their resettlement program is very small," says Stacie Blake, the director of government and community relations at the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, one of the nonprofit groups that resettles refugees. "The money is not 'lost.'"

According to data from the State Department, only five Syrians have settled in Kansas since October last year.

Republicans in Congress are trying to end race and sex discrimination—in the womb. The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) would ban abortion on the basis of the race or sex of the fetus. Republicans say the measure is necessary to protect the civil rights of African Americans and women.

"It took the Civil War to make the state-sanctioned practice of human slavery come to an end," said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill's author, during a recent hearing on the measure. "One glaring exception is life itself, the most foundational civil right of all."

According to Franks, who has introduced various versions PRENDA since 2008, ending race- and sex-selective abortions is the "civil rights struggle that will define our generation." During a hearing by an all-male committee earlier this month, Franks also noted that upward of 50 percent of African American babies are "killed before they're born," and that "a Hispanic child is three times more likely to be aborted than a white child."

The proposed measure would make it illegal for a physician to perform on abortion on a pregnant woman who wants the procedure because the fetus isn't her desired sex or race. Under the measure, the father of the unborn child and the pregnant woman's parents could sue a physician who performs such an abortion. Doctors would also be required to report suspected cases to law enforcement.

It's unclear where Franks is getting his numbers. A 2012 Guttmacher report found that evidence of sex- and race-based abortions in the United States is limited and inconclusive. According to the report, two studies using 2000 US census data found that although the sex ratio of first-born children was normal in families of Chinese, Indian, and Korean descent, those families did have a preference for sons in second and third births. The authors in that study were unable to conclude whether the imbalance was caused by abortion or fertility treatments.

But in a single 2011 study, commonly cited by PRENDA advocates, 65 Indian Americans who were interviewed had practiced sex selection, through either fertility treatments or abortion.

More recent data suggests that contrary to some stereotypes, Asian American communities are not biased in sex selecting for sons. A 2014 report by researchers at the University of Chicago Law School and two abortion rights groups analyzed population data from 2007 to 2011 and found that Chinese, Indian, and Korean Americans have more girls that white Americans.

Evidence to suggest that black and Hispanic communities are targeting their abortions is even less clear. According to Guttmacher, abortions are more common in black communities than white ones because unintended pregnancies are also more common. As a result, African American women get abortions at a rate five times higher than white women. "The truth is that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy," wrote Susan A. Cohen in a 2008 article on abortion and women of color.

In a letter to the House, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of 200 civil rights organizations, points out that health and economic disparities of black and Hispanic women are likely to blame for increased abortion. "African American women and Latina women have less access to contraception, prenatal care, and other critical reproductive health services, resulting in stark disparities across a number of sexual and reproductive health indicators," the Leadership Conference wrote.

Loretta Ross, the national coordinator of SisterSong, a reproductive justice organization for women of color, told Mother Jones in 2011, "It's kind of hard to find evidence that a black woman is going to have an abortion because she's surprised to find her baby is black. It just strains credulity to think that's a problem. I mean, she wakes up in the morning and says 'Oh my God! My baby's black!'?"

According to abortion rights advocates and Democratic legislators, the measure could increase discrimination against pregnant women, particularly women of color, by forcing doctors to speculate on the reasons their patients seek abortions, and then requiring the physicians to report suspected discriminatory abortions. Because of stereotypes that Asian communities prefer male children, advocates worry that Asian women would be especially vulnerable to profiling by their physicians. 

"This bill is so horrendous that I could not believe it when it was first brought up," said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.). "It is a nightmare. This is a piece of legislation that would impose criminal penalties on providers and limit the reproductive choices of women of color and all women."

Seven states already ban abortion based on sex selection. Only Arizona, which Franks represents, also bans race-selective abortions. 

Sen. Ted Cruz has dived into the controversy surrounding the growing number of anti-transgender bills popping up around the country, arguing that in the absence of such ordinances people are vulnerable to sexual "predators."

"There is no greater evil than predators," Cruz said at a campaign event on Saturday. "If the law says that any man, if he chooses, can enter a women's restroom, a little girl's restroom, and stay there, and he cannot be removed because he simply says at that moment he feels like a woman, you're opening the door for predators."

At the same event in Indiana, the Republican presidential candidate took aim at front-runner Donald Trump, who initially said North Carolina's version of the law was "problematic" and that transgender people should be able to use the bathroom of their choice. (The real estate magnate has since backtracked.)

"You know the most interesting thing about Donald Trump embracing the PC police is it shows who he really is," Cruz said. "It shows that Donald Trump is a creature of the elite New York liberals."

The issue over bathroom laws, which opponents say are enacted to force transgender people to use the bathroom assigned to their birth gender, has proved to be a contentious question for the three remaining Republican presidential candidates, with everyone from Fortune 500 company CEOs and celebrities publicly rebuking the measures as a form of discrimination.

Gov. John Kasich, who is reportedly aligning with Cruz to beat Trump out of winning the party's nomination outright, has said he would not have signed North Carolina's bill into law.

On Sunday night, it finally happened. Just before 11 p.m., the campaigns of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz released matching statements promising to work together to stop Donald Trump from clinching the Republican nomination before the convention. The agreement they struck was that Kasich would stop campaigning in his neighboring state of Indiana, to give Cruz a chance to catch Trump there, and Cruz would stop campaigning in his neighboring state of New Mexico, as well as Oregon, in the hopes of boosting Kasich there. Anti-Trump voices had been calling for candidates to work together for months (Cruz trampled over Marco Rubio's frantic appeal for help in Florida); the alliance was a sign that reality had set in.

But one thing missing from the agreement was any indication that Kasich and Cruz would actually tell their voters in Indiana, New Mexico, or Oregon, to support the other guy. And sure enough, while eating at a diner in Philadelphia on Monday morning, Kasich decided to pour water on the whole plan. Would the governor, a reporter asked, tell his supporters in Indiana to vote for Cruz? No, Kasich said. "I've never told them not to vote for me; they ought to vote for me." He explained that the deal had nothing to do with strategic voting—it was only about whether to campaign or not campaign. Sounds like a strong alliance!

This is the most passive-aggressive thing Kasich has done since the last time someone tried to make a deal with him:


Mike Pape is a Republican running for Congress in Kentucky's first district. On Wednesday, he released the worst ad of the 2016 campaign. For similar reasons, it might also be the best ad of the 2016 campaign.

Pape's prospective district gave a combined 75 percent of the vote to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and Pape seems to have taken that message to heart. The ad features three men and one very bad mustache cutting through the US border fence in order to get to America, so they can stop Trump, Cruz, and Pape from building the wall and repealing Obamacare. Because you can't cut down a wall with a wire-cutter, my friend.

Let's break it down:


This is not what the border looks like. Speaking of borders! Kentucky's first district includes the famous Kentucky Bend, which was separated from the rest of the state by a surveying error and is accessible only by driving through Tennessee. This is what happens when you neglect your borders, folks.


The guy on the right has a flashlight. Smart. But why does the guy in the middle have a lantern? Did they rob a stagecoach?


These guys have been talking about Republican politics for hours, maybe days, and no one thought to ask the guy on the left why his shirt said "Stop Pape" until now.


You never know when you'll need duct tape. For instance, if the adhesive on your mustache starts to wear off.


Let's not overstate the quality of the acting in this production, but this moment represents a rare bright moment. We see a look of genuine surprise when this man is told that Pape will help Cruz repeal Obamacare. (We've previously been told he'll help Trump build the wall, which is confusing; are Cruz and Trump going to share the presidency?) Perhaps, in the hopes of eliciting a more authentic expression during filming, the director told the actor beforehand that Pape was for single-payer. This calls to mind the story about why Alan Rickman looked so surprised at the end of Die Hard.

The ad has subtitles throughout, but "vámonos" is the only Spanish word that is ever translated to English.


So at the end of the ad, the camera pulls back to reveal that Mike Pape, candidate for Congress, has been right there all along, and continues to talk to the camera even as the ostensible Mexicans sneak into the country. It's tough to figure out who is worse at their jobs here. The tough-talking Pape turns his back on the border fence and lets people cut a hole in it. But the three migrants have explicitly come to the United States to stop Pape, only to walk right past him. You're all fired.

On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that more than 200,000 of the state's former felons will soon have their voting rights restored—a move that will allow convicted felons who have completed their sentences to vote in this year's presidential election. McAuliffe described the executive order as a step towards correcting the state's longstanding history of disenfranchising African Americans from the voting process.

"There's no question that we've had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African Americans—we should remedy it," McAuliffe said on Thursday.

The executive order bypassed Republicans in the state, who view former felons as potential Democratic voters. Their angry response was swift:

Nearly every state—with the exception of Maine and Vermont—has restrictions on the voting rights of felons. Virginia's restrictions have been in place since after the Civil War, when the state's constitution permanently barred former felons from being able to vote.

Recently, the McAuliffe administration has loosened the strict ban by allowing former felons who were convicted of non-violent crimes to be automatically eligible to have their rights restored. Today's announcement expands the right to include those who were found guilty of committing both violent and non-violent crimes but, as the Washington Post reports, restoration will no longer be automatic. The governor will be required to review each case on an ongoing basis.

For more on the movement to restore voting rights and the impact of disenfranchisement, read our explainer here.

Donald Trump's political director told a room full of Republican bigwigs on Thursday that if the tower-dwelling steak magnate is the party's nominee for president, he will redraw the electoral map in November. Per the New York Times:

As the Republicans ate oysters in a dim, stuffy conference room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. [Rick] Wiley walked them through a slide show that predicted victory for Mr. Trump not just in swing states with large Hispanic populations like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, but in states that Republicans have not captured since the 1980s: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Connecticut.

This sounds crazy because it is, but it's not a kind of crazy that's unique to Trump. Republican nominees (or prospective nominees) always say this.

In a video for Republican donors in June 2008, John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, showed off a map highlighting states McCain had in the bag and states that might be in play. The list of states that were Republican locks included three that Barack Obama ultimately won: Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia. The list of states that McCain's campaign considered battlegrounds included California and Connecticut. Oh, and Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Okay, that was 2008. It was a long time ago. We didn't have self-driving cars or even face-swap back then. But in 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney again proposed to redraw the electoral map by flipping Midwestern states the party hadn't won since the Ronald Reagan era. His campaign spent much of the final week of the race in Pennsylvania. It considered Wisconsin the new Ohio. In October, Romney and his backers went on the air in Michigan and Minnesota.

Trump is out of step with his party's previous standard-bearers on many things, but when it comes to overstating his electoral chances in blue states, he talks a lot like the establishment.

Ride-sharing giant Uber announced that it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle two class action lawsuits, in which thousands of drivers alleged that they were improperly classified as independent contractors instead of employees. 

The California and Massachusetts lawsuits were set to go to trial in June.

As part of the agreement, which was announced Thursday evening, drivers will keep the contractor classification, but Uber will pay out $84 million to the drivers, and an additional $16 million if the company goes public and the Uber's valuation hits certain growth levels.

The settlement is one of the largest ever achieved on behalf of workers who alleged that they were improperly classified as independent contractors, wrote Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who represented the workers in both cases, in an email. Depending on how many miles they've driven and several other factors, individual drivers could receive up to $8,000 in settlement money, she said.

The agreement has several other significant terms, including that Uber will now be required to tell passengers that tips are not included in their fare. Drivers will be allowed to put small signs in their cars that say as much. Uber will also facilitate and help fund the creation of driver associations in both California and Massachusetts, where drivers will be able to elect peers to leadership positions, and bring drivers' concerns to management. 

For two years, Uber pulled out all the stops to fight this case. The company hired lawyer Ted Boutrous, who successfully represented Walmart before the Supreme Court in the largest employment class action in US history and it twice inserted arbitration clauses into contracts to prevent more drivers from signing on to the class action.

That's likely because classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees is a major cost-saver that has helped Uber grow into a $60 billion company; losing that classification could have cost the company untold millions.

And Uber is not alone: Classifying workers as independent contractors is a common cost-cutting strategy among popular Silicon Valley startups (Lyft, Postmates, Washio, and more) that have relied on cheap, gig economy freelancers to provide services and have grown rapidly as a result.

While this historic agreement is a significant win for her clients, the question of worker classification in Silicon Valley has yet to be resolved, Liss-Riordan said in an email.

"No court has decided here whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors and that debate will not end here," Liss-Riordan wrote. "This case, however, with this significant payment of money, and attention that has been drawn to this issue, stands as a stern warning to companies who play fast and loose with classifying their workforce as independent contractors, who do not receive the benefits of the wage laws and other employee protections."