FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
February 23, 2016
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

There are five Republicans still in the presidential race, but on Monday, several prominent Republicans portrayed it as a two-man contest between Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio. With establishment stalwart Jeb Bush out of the race, Rubio notched several high-profile endorsements heading into Tuesday's GOP caucus in Nevada, and both Rubio and Trump took advantage of Sen. Ted Cruz's firing of his campaign spokesman to reiterate their charge that Cruz relies on dirty tricks.

Trump is expected to win the Nevada contest, and polls put him ahead in the majority of Super Tuesday primary states. GOP insiders are resigned to Trump triumphing on March 1, Byron York reports at The Washington Examiner, and the party has decided it has three weeks to narrow this down to a two-person race and stall Trump's momentum. "It's a risky strategy, but it's all the establishment has at this point," York says. So they are building up Rubio, who has notched 12 endorsements from governors or members of Congress since Friday, versus zero for Trump or Cruz.

"Make no mistake, this is a two-man race," Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada) told a Rubio rally in Reno on Monday. "This is between the Donald and Marco Rubio." House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a similar argument on MSNBC. Former Sen. Bob Dole, the GOP's 1996 presidential candidate, said Monday he had switched his endorsement from Bush to Rubio because Rubio "wants to grow the party as opposed to Cruz. I don't know what he wants to grow." Endorsements didn't seem to help Bush, however. If Trump continues to run against a divided field, the GOP nomination is widely believed to be his for the taking. And time is running out. Peter Weber

11:33 a.m. ET

Iceland elected its first new president in 20 years on Saturday, picking for the mostly ceremonial office a historian named Guðni Jóhannesson.

A professor at the University of Iceland, Jóhannesson campaigned on an anti-establishment platform, including a proposal to allow citizens to initiate referendums for the whole country of 323,000 to weigh in on proposed legislation. He has never been a member of a political party and only decided to run for office a few months ago.

The previous president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, served five consecutive four-year terms, but suffered a drop in popularity after the revelation that he, like former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal. Iceland's parliament, the Alþingi (or Althing), is the oldest extant democratic assembly in the world. Bonnie Kristian

10:58 a.m. ET
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Alexander Hamilton is among the most famous American statesmen to never be president, but the hit Broadway musical based on his life will perhaps help Hillary Clinton do what Hamilton did not.

The Clinton campaign has rented the whole 1,300-seat Richard Rogers Theatre for a special fundraising performance of Hamilton on Tuesday, July 12. Individual tickets start at $2,700 — the same as the maximum individual donation permitted for a given federal candidate per election cycle — though big spenders can pay $100,000 to sit with Clinton herself and get an invite to the Democratic National Convention, which may also host Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The money raised — expected to top $3.5 million — will be split between the Clinton camp and the Democratic National Committee per a joint fundraising agreement. Bonnie Kristian

10:39 a.m. ET

At least two people have died in a fast-moving wildfire in central California which started on Thursday and is finally showing signs of slowing its growth. Firefighters found additional remains in a mobile home Saturday, but they were too badly burned to immediately determine whether the body belonged to a human or an animal.

The fire has spread to cover about 35,000 acres and has destroyed 150 homes so far. Evacuations from affected areas are mandatory, and firefighters say the blaze is 10 percent contained as of Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian

10:13 a.m. ET
Yuri Gripas/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry updated his European itinerary to include stops in London and Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, abbreviating in the process scheduled talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While in each city, Kerry will meet with top diplomats to address the implications of the Brexit vote and urge a careful approach to the extrication process. Kerry believes a smooth transition will help "the marketplace understand there are ways to minimize disruption, there are ways to smartly move ahead in order to protect the values and interests that we share."

"The most important thing," he said in Rome on Saturday, "is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible." Bonnie Kristian

9:16 a.m. ET
Justin Tallis/Getty Images

A petition to Parliament arguing that "if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 percent based [on] a turnout [of] less than 75 percent there should be another referendum" on Brexit has attracted more than 3 million signatures from Britons since this past week's vote.

The request is so popular that its traffic briefly crashed the entire parliamentary website.

Though the effort is considered unlikely to succeed, petitioners do have on their side the fact that the original vote is technically not legally binding, so the government could (in theory) overrule it. Needless to say, the political backlash from such a move would be immense, and even a new vote might not swing results in favor of remaining in the European Union. The Week Staff

8:45 a.m. ET
Haidar Mohammed Ali/Getty Images

The Iraqi army retook the final piece of territory held by Islamic State fighters in Fallujah on Sunday, confirming a tentative win declared a week ago when a small number of terrorists had yet to be routed.

The city was controlled by ISIS since January of 2014, when the then-nascent terrorist organization had yet to declare a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. Sunday's victory came after five weeks of fighting in which 1,800 ISIS militants were killed.

"We announce from this place in central Golan district that it has been cleaned by the counter terrorism service," said Iraqi Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi, "and we convey the good news to the Iraqi people that the battle of Fallujah is over."

Now, however, a humanitarian crisis lingers, as refugees from the war-torn city are crowded into nearby camps with inadequate supplies of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Some 85,000 people have fled the fighting in Fallujah, and aid agencies are struggling to keep up. "People are going to die," said Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council, "because they are exposed to the elements and the searing heat." Bonnie Kristian

8:28 a.m. ET
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Britain's Tory prime minister, David Cameron, announced his resignation following the Brexit vote — but now it looks like Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who supported remaining in the EU, may lose his position of power as well.

Corbyn fired Hilary Benn, his shadow foreign secretary, Saturday evening, and another one of Corbyn's senior advisers on the shadow cabinet soon resigned. "I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding," former shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander wrote in her public resignation letter to Corbyn, "and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential."

Additional resignations are expected amid rumors of a open party coup to oust Corbyn in the near future. With Alexander, Corbyn's opponents argue his failure to prevent Brexit bodes poorly for attempts to reclaim power in Parliament. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads