Welcome to our new politics briefing. You can find it Monday through Friday at 5 a.m. and updated throughout the day. 

Trumpeting Trump on Long Island

Nearby road blockages for Donald Trump's rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage were beginning in mid-afternoon on Wednesday, with a crowd projection of 12,000.  Supporters and anti-Trump demonstrators will gather. But “violence will not be tolerated” inside or outside, said acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.

After losing to Sen. Ted Cruz in Wisconsin, Trump escalated the verbal abuse, calling the Texas senator "worse than a puppet." Cruz himself showed up in The Bronx, having been invited by right-leaning Democratic state Sen. Ruben Diaz.

Those attending the rally will be screened at metal detectors and no firearms or bags will be allowed inside the event space, Newsday’s Nicole Fuller reports. A separate zone outside will be designated for an expected 1,000 protesters, Krumpter said at a media briefing. The security effort will cost the Nassau PD an estimated $400,000.

Wisconsin, the underdog state

Final score for Democrats among cheese-heads: Bernie Sanders, 56 percent of the vote and 45 delegates; Hillary Clinton, 43 percent and 31 delegates. For Republicans: Sen. Ted Cruz, 48 percent and 33 delegates; Trump, 35 percent and 3 delegates. John Kasich made no progress.

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For the sports-minded: The Wisconsin primary had the feel  of two trailing teams in different leagues – the Sanders and Cruz campaigns -- improving from a 3-1 deficit to a 3-2 deficit in a big series. Very rough and factually imperfect-- but it conveys the heat of the night. Suitably, Cruz touted a "turning point" which still depends on further Trump stumbles. The delegate gain for Sanders Tuesday was too thin by itself to truly threaten Clinton's first-place status. But it does extend his string of wins.

All this helps set up the drama of New York's primary in two weeks. And so...

The take-away 

Trump’s favorite strategist, according to Trump, is Trump. But after a week in which the self-made GOP front-runner has occasionally, slightly, sort of second-guessed some of his own moves, and then blew Wisconsin, Newsday columnist Dan Janison offers him five ways to maintain his lead among registered Republicans in his home state. Even here, in the heart of New York’s confrontation belt, growing some manners and stepping outside the protective bubble might help, Janison suggests.

Clinton’s pitch to women 

Hillary Clinton held a rally in Brooklyn Tuesday at Medgar Evers College, touting her plans to give “women the keys to their own future” and taking aim at Trump for “peddling prejudice and paranoia,” Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.

She was joined by the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, and Public Advocate Leticia James, who praised Clinton’s work for women and communities of color.

Former President Bill Clinton boasted of his wife’s record while she was “our senator” during an organizing meeting in Elmont. Read Newsday’s Paul LaRocco.

Excitement plus fear

Exit polls in Wisconsin found Trump inspired more excitement — and fear — than his rivals. Democrats chose Sanders even though more believed Clinton would run stronger against Trump. Nine in 10 Democrats called Sanders honest, while only 6 of 10 felt that way about Clinton.

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Cruz catching up 

The Texas senator, who trailed Trump by almost 20 points a month ago, has closed most of the gap, according to a Reuters Ipsos national poll. The two are in a statistical dead heat — Trump 39.5%- Cruz 35.2% — within the April 1-5 survey’s margin of error, which is 4.8 percentage points.

Obama: Trump’s off the wall 

Trump spelled out in a memo to The Washington Post why he is so confident he could force Mexico to pay billions for a wall on the southern border. Top of the squeeze ’em list: a threat to block the transfer of money — almost $25 billion — that Mexican immigrants send home each year.

“Good luck with that,” President Barack Obama said sarcastically, adding that undermining Mexico’s economy would only send more of its people headed north. He called Trump’s idea “one more example of something that is not thought through.”

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What else is happening:

  • Sanders’ supporters say he warned in 2011 of Panama becoming a haven for rich tax cheats ...
  • Sanders’ critics say he gave wobbly answers on big policy questions in a Daily News interview (transcript here) ...
  • The head of the FBI says he’s in no hurry to finish the Clinton email probe before the Democratic convention ...
  • Trump settled a lawsuit with lower Manhattan condo buyers in 2011 that effectively pulled the plug on a criminal probe.
  • Trump ally Roger Stone warned he would make public the hotel room numbers of any Trump delegates who abandon him at the convention ...
  • Clinton called Fox News’ Megyn Kelly a “superb journalist,” but has turned down Kelly’s interview requests ...
  • The bright-red state of Mississippi could turn blue in a Clinton vs. Trump election, a poll finds ...
  • Veterans of the last contested Republican convention in 1976 recall it as “riotous” — and not in a good way ...
  • Kasich picked up backing from a well known Washington name, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden.