2016 Election

Cruz Hopes Super Saturday boosts media mix

'Inside Politics' Forecast
'Inside Politics' Forecast

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'Inside Politics' Forecast 04:47

Story highlights

  • Some GOP donors are thinking of putting their money behind Hillary Clinton
  • Cruz wants to cut into Trump's media monopoly
  • Michigan's primary could be a glimpse into what November might look like

Washington (CNN) A Ted Cruz media moment, big decisions for GOP donors, a consequential blue-collar ballot test and the anti-Trump ad blitz -- those are just some of the headlines in the "Inside Politics" forecast.

The one Trump attribute Ted Cruz would like to copy

    Ted Cruz is harshly critical of Donald Trump these days. But there is one area where Team Cruz's camp thinks it can learn from the front-runner, and it hopes to apply the lesson in the crucial days ahead.
    Trump vs. Cruz TV Wars
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    Trump vs. Cruz TV Wars 00:42
    Mary Katharine Ham of The Federalist shared insights on how the Cruz campaign wants to get more into the media mix. Trump is a master at that, of course, but there also are lessons of late in how Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney have generated media coverage and buzz.
    Some of it, Ham reports, is about pushing the media to spend more time on Cruz. But some of it is also finding ways inside the campaign to attract attention.
    "I think the Cruz camp will be looking to see if they can break through and find some sort of creative way to figure out how to flip things up, because Rubio did find a way. Mitt Romney found a way, and he'll be telling us about it. The Cruz camp, I think, has yet to find that secret formula."

    Michigan a big Tuesday test and perhaps a November preview

    The Michigan primary on Tuesday is a giant test in both the Democratic and Republican nomination battles. And it could be an early laboratory for November.
    Blue-collar battleground
    Blue-collar battleground

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    Blue-collar battleground 01:09
    Hillary Clinton hopes to prove Bernie Sanders is not a threat to her campaign in the industrial heartland. Sanders wants to show his economic message has greater blue-collar appeal and to show he can make inroads among African-Americans.
    And then there is the Trump factor.
    CNN's Jeff Zeleny says many unions are not taking sides in the Democratic primary, and many union voters are intrigued by Trump and possibly less excited about Clinton.
    "The enthusiasm issue for the Democrats, on the Democratic side, is one of the sort of central concerns for Democrats. ... (Union workers) weren't necessarily big supporters and fans of Barack Obama. But Hillary Clinton needs them. She needs these workers. So the union endorsements -- she was hoping to get them and she didn't get them."

    GOP donors at a crossroads -- but do some paths lead to Clinton?

    With so many big names in the GOP field now on the sidelines -- Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush to name a few -- there are a lot of big Republican donors wondering what their 2016 second acts might be.
    GOP donor dilemma
    GOP donor dilemma

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    GOP donor dilemma 00:34
    And some of them are thinking outside the box, to put it mildly.
    Ashley Parker of The New York Times reports it's another version of the Trump effect: Some donors might inch his way, others can't stomach that and would sit out if the billionaire ends up as the nominee. And some, she says, are so anti-Trump they are mulling the once unthinkable.
    "Longtime donors to the party are quietly moving and considering Hillary Clinton. I think the split is going to be really fascinating."

    Ryan trying (and trying) to stay quiet about Trump

    House Speaker Paul Ryan prides himself on being a Republican eager to push a policy agenda and draw sharp contrasts with Democrats. But he has a huge potential problem: Many of Trump's ideas don't fit the Ryan blueprint.
    For now, the nation's top elected Republican is trying to keep out of the big debate about whether Trump is an existential threat to conservatism.
    CNN's Manu Raju shared some inside reporting on the careful calculations being made by the speaker.
    "Additional Republicans I talked to really are hoping that Paul Ryan could speak out more forcefully against Donald Trump. That's something that he has resisted doing. One reason why is because he's head of the convention. And if it were a brokered convention, he wants to remain neutral."

    Anti-Trump TV spree unites warring factions -- at what cost?

    The old cliche that politics makes strange bedfellows is being tossed around a lot, thanks to the rise of Donald Trump.
    The GOP's anti-Trump ad wars
    The GOP's anti-Trump ad wars

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    The GOP's anti-Trump ad wars 04:48
    Millions are being spent on TV ads and other efforts to derail Trump's momentum, and those doing the spending include GOP groups that are often at odds, if not openly at war, with one another.
    The anti-Trump coalition includes a group tied to the Koch brothers, an anti-tax group Club for Growth, a PAC started by a former Romney 2012 top campaign operative and a super PAC established to help Marco Rubio.
    Much of this effort is aimed at Florida, which also happens to be the make-or-break test for Rubio.
    The primary is March 15, after big contests Tuesday in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii.
    Trump currently leads in Michigan and Mississippi -- the two biggest delegate prizes -- and if he wins those states it will be testing time for the anti-Trump effort.
    Florida isn't cheap -- it has 10 media markets.
    So watch in the days ahead, especially after Tuesday, for a true test of the financial commitment the anti-Trump forces are prepared to make.