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Journal Editorial Report

Voters hand Trump decisive victory in first Southern primary

This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," February 21, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," Donald Trump racked up his second straight victory with a big win in the South's first primary. Is the billionaire businessman unstoppable as the Republican race heads west?

And who benefits most from Jeb Bush's exit from the race?

Plus, Hillary Clinton's firewall holds for now. Does her Nevada victory mean she's finally stopped the Sanders' surge or are there more challenges ahead?

And as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is laid to rest, a look at his legal legacy, the big cases left hanging in the balance, and the coming political battle over his replacement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Let's go. Let's have a big win in Nevada. Let's have a big win at the SEC.  Let's put this thing away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: Welcome to this special edition of the "Journal Editorial Report."  I'm Paul Gigot.

That was Donald Trump in South Carolina last night after voters there handed him his second straight primary victory, beating out his closest competitors by 10 points and leaving Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a virtual tie for second place. So as the GOP race heads to Nevada this week and then on to the Super Tuesday states, is Donald Trump on the path to putting this thing away?

Let's ask Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman; editorial board member, Dorothy Rabinowitz; and columnist, Jason Riley.

So, Dan, let's start with you. You saw the performance in South Carolina, very strong by Trump. A little down a couple of percentage points from New Hampshire. Did you see any real weakness since New Hampshire?

PAUL HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Yes, Paul. I think I saw something I could describe as weakness. He got 32.5 percent of the vote in South Carolina. So let's say, for the sake of discussion, say that Donald Trump has locked up one-third, 33 percent of the Republican vote. The question is how hard is that other 66 percent set against him, and if they continue to -- if the other candidates continue to divide up that 66 percent, given the way the primaries are run, he can stay out front and secure the nomination. The pressure now comes on all the other candidates to decide how long they can stay in, how long can they maintain anything other than a three-man or even a two-man race.

GIGOT: Right. We want to get to that. We want to talk about Trump's support, Jason --

JASON RILEY, COLUMNIST: Very board.

GIGOT: -- which is very broad still across the whole Republican spectrum --

RILEY: Yes.

GIGOT: -- conservatives --

RILEY: Yeah. He did very well among evangelicals. He did very well among Independents.

GIGOT: He beats Cruz among evangelicals.

(CROSSTALK)

RILEY: Republicans he did well with Independents he did well with. Very impressive. Very impressive. He, again, beat Cruz. Remember, he beat him in New Hampshire as well among evangelicals. This was supposed to be a place where Cruz excelled, win the South Carolina primary. It didn't happen. So that was a very impressive win for Trump. And he has the momentum now, two straight victories, large victories going into Nevada, going into Super Tuesday. He has the wind at his back. He thinks he can run the table. It is not out of the question, Paul.

GIGOT: I want to show you something from the Wall Street Journal/NBC survey this week of Trump's favorables and unfavorables compared to some of the other candidates. He is at 31 percent net unfavorable among the Republican candidates, among all the candidates, compared to Hillary Clinton, net unfavorable only 13. Right now, Trump is by far the candidate with the highest unfavorables, as Dan suggested.

Normally, with this kind of performance in New Hampshire and South Carolina, you steamroll to the nomination, Dorothy. Is this an obstacle for Trump?

DOROTHY RABINOWITZ, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Yes, it is. This is not normal times. And as Bernie Sanders just proved, momentum stops sometimes.  One of the things that happened, as this thing goes forward, you begin to develop a pattern and this is something Trump has done. Even his most devoted fans will notice certain things, like he takes back everything he says that is volatile that he said the day before. This goes on and on.  He did this with the pope --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: I want to deport Mexicans, for example --

RABINOWITZ: Yes.

GIGOT: -- illegals, but they can come back.

RABINOWITZ: Yes. And the pope was outrageous, and the next day it was really OK what the pope said. People out there, who are his devoted fans, who are awaiting what he will do for them, may soon be saying, what if he gets to the White House and he says, what do you mean the wall? What wall?  I never said I was going to build a wall. This is the kind of unreliability that may be seeping in.

GIGOT: James?

JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: I think it's actually, in some ways, a bad night for Donald Trump.

GIGOT: You do?

FREEMAN: Because Jeb Bush quit. And what's happening here is I think a natural, healthy winnowing process. It's a rough-and-tumble competition.  I think for the reasons we've described, 59 percent of the country in the Journal/NBC poll does not like Donald Trump, negative rating, he is not going to be the nominee. As it moves along here, his problem is these upcoming primaries are not winner-take-all. He needs more than 1200 delegates. He is up to about 67 delegates. I don't think he'll get them.

GIGOT: Jason?

RILEY: When people are asked what candidate do you think is most presidential, they still say Marco Rubio. When they say, who tells it like it is, they say Donald Trump. Some of his support is about people wanting to send a message --

GIGOT: Right.

RILEY: -- not about electing a president. I think that is what some of the other candidates on counting on, in addition to Trump's high negativity.

GIGOT: Let's take on Ted Cruz, Dan. You saw he finished third, a close third to Marco Rubio. It had to be a disappointment for Senator Cruz. He had hoped in a state designed in many ways for him with a strong evangelical vote. What do you think hurt Cruz in South Carolina?

HENNINGER: Donald Trump hurt Cruz in South Carolina, Paul. There's no question about it. Donald Trump has driven Jeb Bush out of the campaign.  And now the question is, how much pressure is he putting on Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has been expecting to gain the evangelical vote and the vote that wants to clamp down on immigration. Donald Trump is winning both categories by a significant margin over Ted Cruz. So, Ted Cruz, since last night and this morning, is arguing that he is more the conservative candidate. And I think in an odd way, Paul, Donald Trump is doing to Ted Cruz what Bernie Sanders has done to Hillary Clinton, which is to say push him more in the direction that he started out in, pushing him further right. The question is, how is he going to make that work in the Super Tuesday primaries with Donald Trump just basically taking away most of his votes?

GIGOT: So Rubio, the big surprise, Dorothy. He did very well, recovered from New Hampshire stumble. Yet, came back, resilience as a candidate.  What do you attribute that to?

RABINOWITZ: I think that's the inevitability of his character. That was a flop before. I think that was expected that he would rebound. But the truth is --

GIGOT: Not guaranteed, though, I'll tell you that. A lot of people make a mistake like that and they're gone.

(LAUGHTER)

RABINOWITZ: If I may say so, if you would listen to Rubio, and you knew that this was not some scripted robot, but somebody else. And that somebody else came forward. But what also contributed is the desperation of the flight and people were saying, even now, who is presidential?

GIGOT: Do you think Rubio made enough of a statement to be able to carry this on? But he has to win somewhere.

RILEY: That's the problem. Where do you see Rubio winning in these states going forward? I still think it was a worse night for Cruz than it was a good night for Marco Rubio. Cruz also has this problem, if he can't stop Donald Trump in South Carolina, where is he going to stop him in the south other than Texas?

GIGOT: All right. Thank you all.

When we come back, it was the state that saved his brother in 2000 but South Carolina put an end to Jeb Bush's presidential hopes last night. Who is most likely to gain from his departure? And will establishment support coalesce around someone else?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After tonight, this has become a three-person race, and we will win the nomination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I am proud of the campaign we've run to unify our country and to advocate conservative solutions that would give more Americans the opportunity to rise up and reach their God-given potential. But the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken and I really respect their decision, so tonight, I am suspending my campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush ending his White House bid last night after a disappointing fourth-place finish in South Carolina, the state that saved his brother in 2000. So who stands to gain the most from Bush's departure and will so-called establishment Republicans unite behind one of the remaining contenders.

So, James, one thing Jeb Bush's campaign proved is money doesn't buy elections.

FREEMAN: Yeah. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

FREEMAN: You have to have more than that. You have to have a message that's compelling.

GIGOT: What happened?

FREEMAN: I think a lot of things. This was obviously not the year for an establishment candidate. A lot of angry voters. A lot of anti- establishment feelings. And also, Americans have a natural -- it's not discussed -- skepticism of family dynasties. So I think that was a tough go after --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: The Bush name, was that going to rule him out?

FREEMAN: I think what he had to do was communicate. That was, I think, the biggest problem. We saw it in the debate. He had a basic problem getting his message out. He always seemed smaller after his tangles with Donald Trump. I think Donald Trump hurt him in a big way. And having been out of the game for a while, had not been Florida's governor for about a decade, although, he did well there. He's just not at the top of his game.

GIGOT: We'll not join the "kick them while they're down" coalition beyond that.

FREEMAN: No.

GIGOT: But where do Jeb Bush's voters go, Dorothy, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, someone else?

RABINOWITZ: It's hard to determine. But I think they would go to Marco Rubio.

GIGOT: Why?

RABINOWITZ: Because the tenor of Bush's departure told you that he knew that this is something he knew he had to do and maybe to save the country from Donald Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: He wanted to get out because he wants people to coalesce --

RABINOWITZ: Yes.

GIGOT: -- everybody to coalesce around --

RABINOWITZ: Yes. And he did very well. That's for sure. If I can say, if he had this misapprehension, that electability comes with genetic connections. I'd like to point out that both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were more consequential than George H.W. Bush. And Winston Churchill's son was the worst political heir ever. And so Franklin Roosevelt --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Yeah, but Jeb Bush was a very effective governor.

RABINOWITZ: But that's my point.

GIGOT: He did raise a lot of money and he really did a lot in terms of offering policies. But it turns out this is a year policies don't seem to matter, Jason.

RILEY: No, you're right. He has a strong gubernatorial record that James referenced, school choices, on taxes and so forth. It didn't seem to do him much good.

GIGOT: Does his vote go to Rubio?

RILEY: I think most of his votes go to Rubio. I think also the party leadership is probably happy that he decided to do it this early and they're probably hoping other people, bringing up the rear in the race, will follow his lead and do the same. Because so long as the size of the Republican field stays as big as it is, Donald Trump, I think, that helps him the most.

GIGOT: Speaking of that point, Dan, John Kasich, he's going to stay in, his campaign is saying, at least until March 8th and the primary in Michigan, maybe until the 15th and the primary in Ohio. Is there going to be pressure on him to get out?

HENNINGER: There is pressure on Kasich to get out, Paul. I mean, in his speech the other night, Jeb Bush said that ideas and policies still matter.  And that's true. But at this point, as you just suggested, they do not matter much for one-third of the Republican electorate. The people for whom they do matter are voting for either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. It's a little difficult to see how John Kasich going into the Super Tuesday primaries gains the percentages that Cruz and Rubio have been doing. I think ultimately his votes end up with them if he gets out.

GIGOT: Ben Carson, we should mention him. He's still in, still running.  Is there a rationale for him to keep running?

FREEMAN: Hard to see the rationale. But in general, for all of these guys, I don't think there's that really compelling an argument to get out because if you're thinking --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

FREEMAN: No. If you're thinking that -- in my view, if you're thinking Trump is not going to be the guy --

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN: -- and the American people are saying in polls he's not going to be the guy, then you're thinking of who is the alternative? Well, as we've said, it's not clear where Rubio wins. Cruz struggling to find a way to beat Trump in --

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN: So to me, there's not an obvious person to end the win.

GIGOT: If you have a multiple-candidate field and Donald Trump can continue to rack up 35 percent, 34 percent and finish first, especially as winner-take-all primaries come on, then he will rack up primaries and win the nomination.

FREEMAN: OK, the next group is not winner-take-all, not winner-take-all.

GIGOT: OK.

FREEMAN: He still is a long way from locking them up. What you're seeing a natural, healthy process. They've got this rough-and-tumble primary, Christie and Fiorina, et cetera are out. Now Bush is out. You lose a few more as the weeks go by, and I think Trump is still a long way from clinching it.

HENNINGER: I'm not sure about that, Paul.

GIGOT: Yeah, OK, I'm not sure either, Dan. That's the point I was trying to make. It seems to me there has to be a coalescing.

Dorothy?

RABINOWITZ: I have to say that this is dynamic democracy. When you say it's not clear where Rubio is going to win, we don't know. We have had surprise after surprise, and he has shown tremendous political talent and resilience. So it's not really cut and dried.

GIGOT: Jason, does everybody else -- does it have to get down to one-on- one with Donald Trump and somebody?

RILEY: I think it does. I think it does. And the quicker that happens, the better. Republicans do not want a general candidate that's been beat up, that's been bloodied going in against -- because the chances are that Hillary is going to be sitting back and watching this happen for a long time because she's going to put away Bernie Sanders sooner rather than later.

GIGOT: And you agree with that, Dan, that he has to get down to one on one, or at least a three-man race for two, three weeks, and then Donald --

(CROSSTALK)

HENNINGER: No, I agree with Jason. I agree with Jason. I think it has to get down to one-on-one. The real pressure is going to push past John Kasich and start to come to bear on Ted Cruz because there's no path evident to him getting ahead of Donald Trump. After the Super Tuesday primaries, Cruz will be the one who will be leaned on to get out and make it a two-man race between Rubio and Trump.

GIGOT: OK.

All right. When we come back, she fended off a late surge from Bernie Sanders in Nevada, so is Hillary Clinton heading into next week's South Carolina showdown and the Super Tuesday states as the front-runner once again, or does Bernie Sanders still pose a real threat?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is clear to me and I think most observers that the wind is at our backs.  We have the momentum.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, D- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I'm on my way to Texas. Bill is on his way to Colorado. The fight goes on. The future that we want is within our grasp.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: That was Hillary Clinton after fending off a late surge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to win the Nevada caucus. So will yesterday's victory be enough to stop his momentum as the Democratic race heads to South Carolina next Saturday and then on to the Super Tuesday states?

So, Jason, what did she do here in Nevada that she hadn't done in Iowa or New Hampshire?

RILEY: For all of Bernie Sanders' success, his Achilles heel has always been his lack of diversity among supporters. That is what she exploited in Nevada. She won black Democrats by some 50 points, Paul. When you go to South Carolina next, they're going to be it around half of the electorate.

GIGOT: I think they may be even as much as 60.

RILEY: And when you go on to Super Tuesday, states like Alabama and Georgia, again, a sizable black proportion of the electorate there. That is why I think Hillary pretty much wrapped things up.

GIGOT: Wrapped things up. Do I hear it --

(CROSSTALK)

RILEY: I think there's a very steep climb.

GIGOT: Do I hear anybody --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT: James, why not?

FREEMAN: If you want to take -- if you're a young Marxist and you want to --

(LAUGHTER)

FREEMAN: -- look on the bright side of the Sanders possibility, he did win among Hispanics. So the --

GIGOT: He did, that's right.

FREEMAN: So the question -- the knock on him was he only appeals to white people, but he's showing a broader appeal. And as he looks forward, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, these are places his demographic, young, and it turns out Hispanic as well, might work for him.

GIGOT: And, he -- the Democratic electorate, Dorothy, is more liberal. 70 percent self-described liberals in Colorado this time versus about half in 2008. That's one of the reasons Bernie kept it so close.

RABINOWITZ: That's right. And Bernie kept it so close and there's nothing mysterious about the reasons he was able to do so. His fan club, this group came out fully baked from the universities --

(LAUGHTER)

-- with their long teaching record of the corruption and the evil of Wall Street. There is nothing about this that wasn't predictable. However, we now see -- if you heard Hillary Clinton last night, there was this doubling down tone, this absorption of Bernie Sanders' revolutionary spirit she's taken over. She's gone far to the left now. And it was not the kind of middle of the road --

GIGOT: So the message here is your Socialist enough, Hillary --

(LAUGHTER)

RABINOWITZ: Yes.

RILEY: Hillary Clinton also did something with this victory, which was to put to rest concerns I think that other Democrats thinking of joining the race might have had about her. I think --

(CROSSTALK)

RILEY: I think that's what she did. She reassured them that she will take care of business here. And I think short of being indicted over this e- mail scandal, she will.

GIGOT: Do you agree with that, Dan, or do you think we're going to have more drama down the road. I do tend to think it's going to be very tough for Bernie Sanders, mainly because of the electability issue. Many Democrats don't think an avowed Socialist who, in his view, wants to have universal -- I mean, government-run health care, single payer, can win.

HENNINGER: In Nevada, 80 percent of the Democratic voters who wanted someone who could win voted for Hillary. Yeah, it's going to be interesting. Mainly what Bernie is going to do is keep her to the left, as Dorothy suggested. But if you look at the states that Bernie Sanders' own campaign said they're going to be emphasizing in the future, the list goes down, Minnesota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan. These are basically white-bred states. I mean, he is running for the vote of white liberals and the children's crusade on campuses. Hillary is getting her nose out in front of that and she is going to do the same thing as in 2008, grind towards a primary victory.

FREEMAN: The good points of the machine probably grinds it out, but the other X-factor is Bernie Sanders has shown the ability to raise money just as the Clinton machine is struggling to find any high-dollar contributors who haven't maxed out in primary campaign. He's the flip side. He's able to raise a lot online and from people who are able to give more later.

GIGOT: What weaknesses has Bernie Sanders been able to expose in Hillary Clinton's candidacy? Not just in the primaries but as Republicans prepare to face her? Is it the honesty and trustworthiness issue, Dorothy? That's really where people who say that was the most important issue, they really voted for Sanders.

RABINOWITZ: This would be true in a normal society but, in this case -- I mean in a normal political society, but no. What he's exploited in her is that she is not the revolutionary spirit that he is. He offers this special hope, this special vigor, and this is what people have been taking.

GIGOT: But she doesn't have to run like that in the general election.

RABINOWITZ: She is going to run like that.

GIGOT: As a revolutionary? As a Bernie Sanders like?

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: No, she'll run back to the middle as heir to President Obama.

RABINOWITZ: But the voice of the disaffected, the voice of the oppressed.  That speech last night could have been done by Bernie, with the exception of -- she had Wall Street and everything in it.

GIGOT: Any weakness, Dan, you hear --

(CROSSTALK)

HENNINGER: Yeah. I think one big weakness is the question, what will turn out in November? Will Bernie's brigades get disappointed and stay home?  That election in November is a function of turnout. Hillary has to find a way to reignite those people cheering for Bernie Sanders in that image right there.

GIGOT: I think that's an excellent point. What you see is the relative levels of enthusiasm that are reversed from 2008. Say what you will about Donald Trump, he is bringing out a lot of voters, at least him being in the contest is bring out a lot more Republicans this year, and the enthusiasm gap is pretty big.

RILEY: The Bush family may not be the only one this country wants to move on from.

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT: Do you think the Clinton family --

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT: -- is part of that, too?

FREEMAN: Yeah. And I think the honest and trustworthy aspect that's in all the exit polls will be true in November as well. It's a problem for the Clintons.

GIGOT: So you think that is that her Achilles heel? Is that where Republicans should take the argument in November?

FREEMAN: If you want to explain the rise of Sanders, certainly part of it this move left in the party we've talked about. The other part is Democrats not being comfortable that they have a person who is going to remain unindicted and --

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN: -- to be president.

GIGOT: All right. Thank you, James.

Thank you all.

Much more to come on this special one-hour edition of the JOURNAL: EDITORIAL REPORT." Still ahead, as Justice Antonin Scalia is laid to rest, we take a closer look at his legal legacy, the Supreme Court cases left hanging in the balance, and the coming political battle over his republic placement.

Plus, they were a key part of the Obama coalition, but now Millennials are flocking to Bernie Sanders. So can Hillary Clinton win without them?

And is there an opening for Republicans with younger voters?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: Welcome back to this special edition of the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

Friends and family of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gathered in Washington, D.C., yesterday for his funeral mass one week after the 79- year-old died in his sleep while on a hunting trip in Texas. Scalia's death leaves a number of crucial high-court cases hanging in the balance and sets the stage for a slowdown over how and when his vacancy should be filled, with President Obama saying this week he has every intention of nominating a replacement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I intend to nominate in due time a very well-qualified candidate. If we are following basic precedent, then that nominee will be presented before the committees, and a vote will be taken and, ultimately, they'll be confirmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: We're back with Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger. Also joining us, Wall Street Journal editorial board member, Joe Rago; and "Best of the Web" columnist, James Taranto.

So, James, you follow the court closely. What's Justice Scalia's legacy?

JAMES TARANTO, BEST OF THE WEB COLUMNIST: The best way to sum it up, he was a jurist who loved language. His basic approach to the law was what was called Texturalism and Originalism. Textuaralism meaning the first thing you do when you're interpreting a law is you look at what the law says.

GIGOT: You read the language.

TARANTO: Right. Which sounds obvious but it hasn't always been obvious.  And the fact that it sounds obvious is testament to Scalia's enduring legacy. Originalism means you look at the words and ask what they meant at the time of enactment rather than equivocating and saying, well, they mean something different now.

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: When Scalia paid attention, when he looked at the statute, he wanted you to look at the language, because a lot of other judges and justices before he came looked at legislative history, what -- (INAUDIBLE) in the Constitution. He said look at what it actually says.

TARANTO: Right, or what Congress meant to do. We still have some justices on the court who take that approach but they don't take it as unashamedly as they did before.

Also Scalia was well known for his descents, which is another example, another indication of how much he loved language. Because descents are where a judge can really be freewheeling and express himself because he doesn't have to tailor his language to fit the views of anyone else.

GIGOT: But as writing for the majority, Joe, in, for example, the Heller case, the gun control case, which established the Second Amendment right to bear arms as an individual right, not just a militia right, he laid down some significant law.

JOE RAGO, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Oh, sure. He recovered the original meaning of the Second Amendment. In that case, it was very important.  It's one of the cases that's in the balance if the court -- if the composition of the court shifts.

GIGOT: If it shifts, yeah.

RAGO: And just to amplify James's point, Scalia's text-in-history approach is now accepted that if you look at a justice like Elena Kagan, appointed by Obama, a liberal, rarely agreed with Scalia, but uses the exact same methods. So it's really a testament to how consequential he was.

GIGOT: Dan, that 4-4 split now on the Supreme Court means several cases this year are going to go down tied. There was a chance for some major decisions, precedent-setting decisions on abortion, religious liberty.  Those cases are probably now going to be unsettled.

DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Yeah. The Little Sisters of the Poor case, the immigration case, the one about whether public employees -- public union members are forced to pay union dues for political activity, they don't support that, that's all up in the air. It's a big question who is going to replace Justice Scalia. If it is another liberal, his precedents will go in the other direction.

I have to point out, Paul, sitting up on his cloud in heaven, when Justice Scalia heard President Obama say we should follow, quote/unquote, "basic precedent" --

(LAUGHTER)

-- he must have been laughing out loud, because that was one of his primary points that the court was not following, basic precedent, in making its decisions.

GIGOT: On this question of 4-4, I want to read you a quote from Lee Rosen.  Lee Epstein, a Washington University law professor. She said, "At-risk precedents run from campaign finance to commerce, from race to religion, and they include some signature Scalia projects such as the Second Amendment. Some would go quickly, some would go slower, but they'll go."

TARANTO: Well, that quote refers not to a 4-4 court but to a 5-4 court --

GIGOT: With a liberal majority.

TARANTO: -- with a liberal majority.

GIGOT: Yes.

TARANTO: But, yes, I think that's --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Those are the stakes, are they not?

TARANTO: Yes, those are the stakes. That's why I don't think we'll see a new justice on the court before the election because the Republicans have the power to stop and --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Here is the thing I think a lot of conservatives would say. Well, look, you know, we've had a conservative so-called majority, but, look, they didn't often go conservative directions. We had a lot of Republican- appointed justices who went off and they went off in their own direction and joined the liberals on several issues, like obviously gay marriage, one of the most prominent. Why would another justice be guaranteed -- a liberal justice, appointed by President Obama -- be guaranteed to side with the other four liberals every time?

TARANTO: Because the last time a Democratic president appointed a justice who didn't side with the liberals every time, I think was 1962, Byron White --

GIGOT: Byron White.

TARANTO: -- President Kennedy's nominee.

GIGOT: So they always vote in lock step?

TARANTO: Well, it's a smaller sample because there haven't been that many Democratic justices. There have only been four since Lyndon Johnson, all of whom are on the court right now. It's that fifth that conservatives are worried about.

GIGOT: All right.

Joe, let's talk about the fight to succeed Scalia. Do you agree with Joe on the -- with James that it's going to come this year?

RAGO: I don't. I think Republicans would be wise to -- their basic strategy is the right one, because it avoids politicizing the court. If they have this fight in the election year, it says the judiciary is just another partisan branch just like the elected branch is. I think by declining to name a successor to Justice Scalia under this presidency it insulates the court from that political pressure.

GIGOT: Let's hear a quote from 2005 from Harry Reid on replacing justices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID, D-NEV., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The duty of the United States Senate are set forth in the Constitution of the United States.  Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says, "Appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate." That's very different than saying that every nominee receives a vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: Dan, that sounds like game, set and match when it comes to precedent. How do you walk back that? It seems Harry Reid is now asking for a complete double standard.

HENNINGER: If you're Harry Reid, you turn around and start walking. It's pretty easy for him.

(LAUGHTER)

But the question is, can he get away with it?

You know, when Democrats controlled the Senate, from 2001 to early 2003, they denied Justice Bush -- I mean, President Bush, 32 appellate court appointments, including Miguel Estrada, a Hispanic appointment, whom they filibustered for over 20 months. So they kind of wrote the book when it came to standing pat and not moving forward on judicial nominations. And I just don't think this is a big political loser for Republicans pushing back against the Democrats here.

GIGOT: All right, Dan.

Still ahead, they were a key part of the Obama coalition in 2008 and 2012.  But so far, Millennials aren't showing Hillary Clinton the same love. So why are young voters flocking to Bernie Sanders? And is there an opportunity for Republicans to win them over come November?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: Back to the 2016 presidential race now where, for the first time, Millennials will match baby boomers as a share of the electorate. These young voters were a key part of the coalition that sent Barack Obama to the White House in 2008 and 2012. And Hillary Clinton had hoped to inherit the president's young followers this year but, so far, the results aren't very promising. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders crushed Clinton among 17 to 29-year-olds in Iowa by 70 percentage points, and in New Hampshire, young voters favored Sanders by a similar margin. In yesterday's Nevada caucus, they again turned out for Sanders, handing him an 82 percent to 14 percent win over Mrs. Clinton.

We're back with Dan Henninger, Joe Rago, James Taranto. And Wall Street Journal editorial page writer, Kate Bachelder, also joins us.

So, Kate, we had a story in the "Journal" about where Millennial voters are breaking. What did it say?

KATE BACHELDER, EDITORIAL PAGE WRITER: Well, as you said, they are breaking overwhelmingly for Bernie at every opportunity they're getting.  There's a lot of talk of over who can win over Millennials and if that will be decisive. The question for Democrats is whether Hillary can get them to turn out if she wins the nomination and these voters feel their candidate was denied a nomination.

GIGOT: What's motivating them for Bernie as opposed to Hillary Clinton?

BACHELDER: Well, all these polls are saying that Millennials view Socialism more favorably than any other generation before them. But, Paul, the question is --

(LAUGHTER)

-- none of these polls bother to ask what Socialism means. And the ones that do, it goes on to show that Millennials don't think of the Soviet Union, and they're thinking of Sweden, of free health care, of free education and other things.

GIGOT: I just have to say to Joe and Kate, I deeply resent, as a baby boomer, being outnumbered by you folks in this election.

(LAUGHTER)

I know Henninger feels the same way.

(LAUGHTER)

RAGO: Well, Paul, Fox News is my safe space.

(LAUGHTER)

GIGOT: Do you have any other analysis?

RAGO: I think Kate has a point that when young people say they support Socialism, they're not thinking of Chairman Mao and collectivizing the farms. I mean, when you look at young people today --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Nice reference, Joe. Do you think your peers actually know that?

(LAUGHTER)

RAGO: Look, Millennials became of political age during two failed presidencies. You have the weakest economic recovery since World War II.  I think that's profoundly shaped their political outlook.

GIGOT: James?

TARANTO: Think about how I feel, first of all. I'm too young to be a boomer and too old to be a Millennial.

(LAUGHTER)

All of you outnumber me.

GIGOT: You're essentially irrelevant in the election, James. That's it.

(LAUGHTER)

TARANTO: Thank you. I'm going to talk anyway.

(LAUGHTER)

One point that Peggy Noonan made in her column the other day, she being a baby boomer, is that Millennials' view of capitalism is significantly colored by the experience of 2008 and the financial crisis. So that may make them more open to Bernie Sanders' message about how we need fundamental economic change and all that stuff.

GIGOT: Dan, as one of my generation, you have a different view on this, or does that square with what your children say and think?

HENNINGER: My children are escaping from the Millennial generation, thank heavens.

(LAUGHTER)

No, I think Joe has put his finger on it. These are the children of Barack Obama and what they have known for the past several years has been under- employment, which is a big thing among them. You go to school for four years, you rack up all this debt, and then you enter this kind of Darwinian marketplace, you may or may not get a job. The people who get a job are either making a lot of money or many of them are getting jobs tht you would only need a high school education to get. So there's a tremendous amount of anxiety among people this age. And it is a direct consequence of Barack Obama's policies. The difficulty has been no one on the Republican side has been able to make that linkage very successfully.

GIGOT: That's interesting, Dan.

Dan's point, Kate, is the economics here is the fundamental weakness for Democrats, who have been presiding over the economy. And could Republicans make an opening to appeal to Millennials who are under-employed or basically haven't seen their incomes rise.

BACHELDER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the policies Democrats are offering to deal with student loans are to mitigate the misery, not to offer any other --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Free debt.

BACHELDER: Exactly. But debt relief is no substitute for a job that turns into more opportunities and more income over a lifetime. That's how you ease the burden on student loans.

GIGOT: So you think that economic message would resonate?

Do you agree with that, Joe?

RAGO: Yes. I think if you look at the issue of debt, it's not just student loans, but it's government debt. It's the type of inner- generational transfer program. If the Republicans say, look, young people, you are going to be paying for this, let's try to fix this problem.

TARANTO: And there's some evidence that Republicans are appealing to this age group. In New Hampshire, a swing state, where Republicans have slightly more people vote in their primary, 44 percent of the under-30 voters voted in the Republican primary as opposed to the Democratic one.  That's not a -- it's a minority but is considerably better than either Barack Obama's Republican --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: And it's been a mixed result, Kate. In New Hampshire, Trump did better among -- best among the younger voters. In the Republican race in South Carolina, Cruz did better than the others, though, it wasn't an overwhelming majority. Any other message? Is there any other candidate you think might make an appeal to the younger voters?

BACHELDER: It's interesting because Marco Rubio has been running almost exclusively to these voters and showing them an optimistic message about the future. But I think it's good news for him that the vote has been so split for Millennials and it gives any eventual nominee a better chance to consolidate than Hillary Clinton has of winning the Bernie Sanders --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Well, he's making almost an explicit generational appeal. He's saying this is our time. The children of Reagan, we're the new generation of conservatives. Is that likely to work or is it a little too self- conscious?

BACHELDER: No, I think it has a lot of potential. There are a lot of messages out there right now. If there were fewer, perhaps it would resonate more.

GIGOT: All right, thank you.

We have to take one more break. When we come back, "Hits and Misses" of the week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: Time now for our "Hits and Misses."

And this week, I've got one for Harper Lee, the author of the great American novel, the Jim Crow South, "To Kill a Mockingbird." She died this week at age 89. "To Kill a Mockingbird" created one of the great heroes in American fiction, Atticus Finch. It was really one of the great and most influential books of my youth. I think everybody should read it. And it is, of course, really one of the great books of the American 20th century.

Dan, how about you?

HENNINGER: I'm going to give a big miss to Barack Obama's upcoming hallelujah visit to Cuba and the Castros in March. Well, guess what's been happening since Obama normalized relations with the Castros in December 2014? They have been throwing political prisoners into prison at an astonishing rate. According to human rights groups, in January alone, they put over 1,400 people into prison for arbitrary reasons, including over 500 women. Now even advocates of normalization with Cuba are aghast that the only real result so far is that political prisoners have increased. On his Twitter account last week, Barack Obama said he will take this up with the Castros when he gets to Cuba. Well, good luck with that. The head of the U.S. section in Havana said we'd be happy to talk to Mr. Obama about anything, including human rights, about which we have a different point of view.

(LAUGHTER)

Well, I guess so.

GIGOT: All right.

Kate?

BACHELDER: This is a hit for Jason Chaffetz, in the House, who is holding a series of hearings on the Flint water crisis, which has been infecting that city for months and months now. Just last night, Hillary Clinton was saying that this was a case of Republicans poisoning children just to save a buck. And the hearings in the House will deal with the EPA, who has a large role in this crisis. Basically, they had early warning that there was a problem with the water and buried a staff report. So a hit to the House for really working to get this true story about what happened.

GIGOT: All right, great reporting.

All right, Joe?

RAGO: Paul, I've gone back and forth on this one. But ultimately, this is a miss for the FBI in the San Bernardino terror case. A California judge this week ordered Apple to essentially create a new operating system --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Apple Computer.

RAGO: Apple Computer -- to break the encryption on one of the shooter's devices. Now, I think if we're going to grant these extraordinary powers that the judge ordered, it should be done by Congress after vigorous debate, not created by the court on an ad-hoc basis. And I think the FBI wants the precedent, the legal precedent, more than the information on the phone.

GIGOT: Very --

(CROSSTALK)

RAGO: I think that's bad for accountability.

GIGOT: Very interesting.

James?

FREEMAN: Paul, this is for all those Millennials who have been drawn to Bernie Sanders and haven't had time to read the history of Marxist governments around the world. Fortunately, there is a real-time experiment they can learn from. It's happening in Venezuela. It shows you what happens when Democratic Socialists take over --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: Tragic.

FREEMAN: Tragic: The economy is shrinking about 10 percent a year. Food shortages. You can't get basics like baby formula and corn oil. Inflation running over 180 percent a year. Now, the regime did raise the minimum wage but --

(LAUGHTER)

-- amazingly, just as in other countries, that's not the way to economic growth.

GIGOT: All right. James, thanks very much.

And remember, if you have your own hit or miss, be sure to tweet it to us @jeronfnc.

That's it for this week's show. Thanks to my panel and especially to all of you for watching. I'm Paul Gigot. We hope to see you right here next week.

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