Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont with a whopping 86 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton, it seems, will have no such luck on her home turf.

Sanders is slowly gaining on Clinton in New York ahead of the April 19 primary. Clinton now leads Sanders by 12 points in New York's Democratic primary, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday. A poll in February showed Sanders 21 points behind Clinton in New York, and another in March showed him 48 points behind.

Sanders' growing support in New York is not altogether surprising. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the Vermont senator can also claim ties to the state. More important, the political climate in New York is favorable to Sanders. Areas of western New York resemble demographically the Midwestern states where Sanders has performed relatively well. And there is a blueprint for a progressive challenger in New York. In 2014, a law professor with no name recognition and little money or organization, Zephyr Teachout, won a third of the vote in her primary challenge to the state's incumbent Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. Unlike Teachout, Sanders has plenty of money, name recognition, and a growing organization in the state.

Still, with Sanders trailing in the delegate count, he'll need to start racking up meaningful wins—not just close contests—in delegate-rich states like New York in order to catch up to Clinton.

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Somehow Got Worse

Donald Trump told a Wisconsin town hall on Wednesday that his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States would have an exception for the billionaire's rich friends.

"I have actually—believe it or not—I have a lot of friends that are Muslim and they call me," Trump said, when asked about his plan by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the event's moderator. "In most cases, they're very rich Muslims, okay?"

Matthews then asked Trump if his rich Muslim friends would be able enter the country under Trump's Muslim ban. "They'll come in," Trump said. "You'll have exceptions."

But he didn't stop there. A few moments later, when Matthews suggested a blanket ban might rub Muslims the wrong way, Trump flipped the script, arguing that it would instead have a galvanizing effect on Middle Eastern countries in the fight against ISIS.

"Maybe they'll be more disposed to fight ISIS," Trump said. "Maybe they'll say, 'We want to come back into America, we've got to solve this problem!'"

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton wasted little time dismissing Trump's comments:

If you are one of Trump's rich Muslim friends, Mother Jones would love to speak with you. Shoot me an email at tmurphy@motherjones.com.

Donald Trump refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe during a town hall in Wisconsin on Wednesday. The Republican presidential front-runner was asked about his recent contradictory statements about nuclear proliferation—in which he said he was concerned about the spread of nukes while also suggesting that more countries, including Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, should be allowed to acquire them.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the host of the town hall, tried to pin Trump down on what circumstances might compel President Trump to deploy the United States' nuclear arsenal.

"Look, nuclear should be off the table, but would there a time when it could be used? Possibly," Trump said.

Matthews asked Trump to tell the Middle East and Europe that he would never use nuclear weapons, but Trump continued to evade. Asked again if he'd use nuclear weapons in Europe, Trump held firm. "I am not—I am not taking cards off the table," Trump responded.

Watch:

Watch Samantha Bee's Depressing Twist on March Madness

Samantha Bee has come up with a new kind of March Madness this week, for those of you who can't stand to watch any more basketball because your brackets have been wrecked. But be warned: The late-night host's version is also difficult to stomach.

On her show, Full Frontal, on Monday night, Bee awarded an MVP of private probation corporations—companies that earn huge profits by contracting with court systems to monitor probationers. These probationers, Bee explains, are often low-income people charged with minor offenses like traffic violations, and when they can't afford to pay the fines imposed by the for-profit probation companies, they're jailed.

"Which firm managed to distinguish itself from the shit pile of other predatory companies," she asked, to earn the MVPPC, or the Most Valuable Private Probation Corporation? It was Georgia-based Sentinel Offender Services, which, according to Bee, set up its own "March Madness" bonus program, in which its employees earn cash prizes if they meet or exceed their office's monthly revenue forecast. "As if levying fines and surcharges on people too poor to pay tickets isn't its own reward," Bee said. And how do they bring in more money? Sometimes they lobby judges to release probationers they helped put in jail, Bee learned, or they allegedly force probationers to pay fees for drug tests that were never ordered by courts.

"Any March Madness fan knows that offense is key, and when it comes to how they treat the people of Georgia, nobody is more offensive than Sentinel," Bee said. "Their ethics are offensive, their policies are offensive, their whole company is offensive. Unfortunately, they lack defense: Seriously, there's no defense for incentivizing probation collection, and that could really hurt them on the court—I'm sorry, in the court—because, oh yeah, Sentinel is currently in court being sued for illegally forcing middle-aged ladies to squeeze out urine and $15 dollars for the privilege."

Watch the full clip above, and check out Mother Jones' investigation into "the wild, shadowy, and highly lucrative bail industry" while you're at it.

After previously pledging to support whoever becomes the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump said Tuesday that promise no longer stands. Instead, Trump said during CNN's town hall in Wisconsin, "we'll see who it is."

Trump repeatedly noted in Tuesday that he does not need the support of Ted Cruz or of any of the GOP contenders who have dropped out, including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, saying he doesn't want to make anyone "uncomfortable."

"I don't want his support, I don't need his support, I want him to be comfortable," Trump said of Cruz.

Cruz, who appeared first during the town hall, was also asked whether he would support Trump if he is the nominee. Cruz refused to explicitly answer the question.

The first question Donald Trump was asked during CNN's town hall in Wisconsin on Tuesday was whether he would fire his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who was charged with misdemeanor battery on Tuesday for allegedly manhandling a reporter at an event earlier this month. Trump, noting that he is "a loyal person" who defends people who are "unjustly accused," said Lewandowski would continue to serve on his campaign team.

Watch the whole exchangebelow.

Ted Cruz stood by his proposal to patrol "Muslim neighborhoods" during CNN's town hall in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, repeating his assertion that this strategy worked in New York City.

Host Anderson Cooper pressed Cruz repeatedly on his stance, noting that New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton had criticized Cruz's proposal. "It is clear from his comments that Sen. Cruz knows absolutely nothing about counterterrorism in New York City," Bratton wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News. But Cruz stood firm, describing Bratton as a member of the administration of "left-wing radical" New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Watch the exchange, starting around the eight-minute mark.

This Law Just Took Abortion Pseudoscience to a New Low

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Monday signed a bill that makes the state the first in the nation to require doctors to anesthetize fetuses before performing abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. Previously, fetal anesthesia for abortion after 20 weeks was optional in Utah.

Supporters of the new law, called the Protecting Unborn Children Amendments, say fetuses can feel pain starting at about 20 weeks, so anesthesia or analgesic should be administered to "eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child." But scientists have rejected the fetal pain claim, saying there is no conclusive evidence to back up such legislation.

Still, 12 states ban abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain. The 20-week mark is several weeks before the point at which the fetus is considered viable and abortion is no longer legally protected by Roe v. Wade. Utah already bans abortion after viability.

Republican State Sen. Curt Bramble initially planned to introduce a 20-week ban, but attorneys in the state advised him the law would not pass constitutional muster, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

"The process of a child being born is a natural process. There's nothing natural [about abortion]. In fact, it's barbaric," Bramble said, adding, "In this quote 'medical procedure,' let's call it what it is: It's killing babies. And if we're going to kill that baby, we ought to protect it from pain."

Dr. Sean Esplin, a Utah-based physician, told the Associated Press that in order to comply with the law, the anesthesia will have to go through the woman to reach the fetus. Doctors can give the woman general anesthesia, which would make her unconscious, or a heavy dose of narcotics, neither of which were previously necessary for the procedure.

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, side effects of anesthesia include nausea, confusion, chills, and rarely more serious symptoms like delirium or long-term memory loss. "You never give those medicines if you don't have to," David Turok of the University of Utah's obstetrics and gynecology department told NBC.

Utah is the only state in the country with an anesthesia requirement during abortion. The Montana Legislature passed a similar law in 2015, but it was vetoed by the governor.

Donald Trump is defending his campaign manager to the very end, despite mounting evidence against him.

On Tuesday morning, Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with misdemeanor battery for forcibly grabbing reporter Michelle Fields at an event in Jupiter, Florida, on March 8. A video released Tuesday clearly shows Lewandowski grabbing Fields. But on Tuesday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter to defend the man running his campaign for president—and claim the new footage proves nothing.

This is not the first time the Trump team has denied the incident—indeed, there is a long list of denials and smears targeted at Fields. Lewandowski intends to plead not guilty.

Update 3:15 p.m. ET: Trump suggested later on Tuesday that Fields should be the one facing charges for grabbing him and "shout[ing] questions."

Pro-union activists rally in front of the Supreme Court on January 11.

The Supreme Court deadlocked on Tuesday for the second time since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month—and this time, public sector unions were the winner.

The 4-4 split underscores the immediate impact of Scalia's death and the new reality of a divided eight-member court. Senate Republicans have so far refused to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Scalia.

Before Scalia's death, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court was poised to strike a "mortal blow" to public sector unions, long a target of the conservative movement. A conservative legal group brought Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association to stop unions from collecting compulsory fees from nonunion employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. The case aimed to weaken unions' political sway by driving down union membership and decimating union coffers.

The conservative group behind the case brought it knowing that it likely had a 5-4 majority on its side. After oral arguments in January, the Supreme Court appeared ready to rule against unions. But Scalia's death changed that. As Mother Jones' Stephanie Mencimer predicted after the justice's passing, "Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of Scalia's death are public sector unions."

The split leaves in place a lower court ruling in favor of the labor unions and demonstrates how the union opponents' strategy has backfired. When they still had a likely 5-4 majority on their side, the union opponents had rushed the case to the Supreme Court by asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule against them quickly in 2013. The 9th Circuit complied—but the Supreme Court's ruling came a month and a half too late.