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Last month, we told you that the Code Switch team is embarking on a big reporting project we're calling The Obama Effect. The series, coinciding with the final year of Barack Obama's administration, will explore the ways that his presidency has (or hasn't) altered how Americans talk and think about race, ethnicity and identity.

When it comes to turnout, the tables have...uh, turned.

In 2008, Democrats had the historic turnout numbers. GOP voters, meanwhile, came out in modest numbers in 2008 and 2012. But this year, Democrats are seeing their turnout figures fall off since 2008. Republicans, meanwhile, are coming out in droves.

In the presidential nominating contests of recent decades, the middle of March has told the tale.

By St. Patrick's Day, we expect to know one, if not both, of the major party nominees. Usually, the rest of the election season is just a mopping-up operation. Of course, it's been hard to find such clarity in 2016, the year that defies nearly every expectation at every turn.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced Tuesday night that he was suspending his campaign for president after losing his home state in a landslide to Donald Trump.

"After tonight it is clear that while we are on the right side, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio told supporters in Miami.

Rubio congratulated Donald Trump at the start of his speech, but later appeared to criticize the real estate mogul's tactics.

On so-called "Mega Tuesday," Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton swept Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio; Donald Trump, on the Republican side, took home Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.

John Kasich won in his home state of Ohio, keeping alive the dream of a contested Republican convention for those in the GOP who are desperate to stop the rise of Trump.

As a Youngstown native, I have come to expect this.

Every presidential election year, candidates flock to Youngstown, Ohio, to use my hometown as a political backdrop.

It's a great place to talk about job losses. Steel mills used to line the Mahoning River for miles, churning out tens of thousands of jobs. Those jobs drove the city's population from 33,000 in 1890 to 170,000 in 1930. My grandparents came from Poland and Hungary to join in that boom.

In the mid-20th century, Youngstown became known for its union jobs and high levels of home ownership.

K-12 education hasn't exactly been front and center in this presidential election, but Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders made some news on the topic this week. Here's how he responded to a question about charter schools at a CNN televised Town Hall meeting:

"I believe in public education and I believe in public charter schools. I do not believe in privately controlled charter schools."

Donald Trump says he has good evidence he'd beat Hillary Clinton in a general election.

"I beat Hillary — and I will give you the list — I beat Hillary in many of the polls that have been taken," he said at last Thursday's Republican debate. "And each week, I get better and better."

And Bernie Sanders says he'd beat Trump.

"Not all, but almost every poll has shown that Sanders versus Trump does a lot better than Clinton versus Trump," Sanders said at the Democratic debate in Flint, Mich., last week.

Even though Tuesday may not have more delegates or states in play than Super Tuesday, March 1, had, it's still a big day, with more than 1,000 delegates at stake. More importantly, the results could end up deciding who the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates will be.

Five states are casting votes on March 15, along with one U.S. territory on the GOP side.

This has been an unpredictable primary season, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: This race, on both sides, is going to go on for a while.

For Republicans, because of how the vote has been split up, no one will have the required delegates to be the nominee until — at the earliest — their very last nominating day, June 7. That's true even if Donald Trump sweeps the big winner-take-all states Tuesday, although the direction will be very clear if that happens.

There remains a chance — or at least a hope — that the violent storm blowing in over American politics this primary season will move on without further damage to the country.

More specifically, there is a chance — or at least a hope — that the violence witnessed at recent rallies for Donald Trump will subside. And that those most inclined to physical confrontation might step back from the brink.

But the videos of violent scuffles at the aborted Trump rally in Chicago on Friday continue to play on cable TV, keeping the wound fresh.

It used to be that marriage was when adulthood began for American women. Moving straight out of their parents' house (or a college dorm) and into a house with a husband was simply the expected, preordained path for many women.

But in the past few decades, wedding rings have become optional accessories. And as the American single woman flourished, she also profoundly changed (and is still changing) the economy, politics and the basic social fabric of the U.S.

Bernie Sanders was able to win in Michigan, upsetting Hillary Clinton, with the support of white men. (NPR's Tamara Keith laid that out in this post this morning). Sanders won 62% of white men in the Michigan Democratic primary, while Clinton won 68% of black voters. That is a big share, but wasn't enough — and certainly smaller than the margins she's gotten among black voters in Southern states.

When Bernie Sanders won the primary in Michigan last week, it shook up the narrative of the Democratic race.

Sanders did so with the help of white men. If he's able to pull off a victory in Ohio, the same demographic will likely be key.

Take Jim, who describes himself, only half jokingly, as an angry white man.

Five candidates for president weighed in on the violent clashes in Chicago at a planned Friday night rally for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Florida may be Sen. Marco Rubio's home turf, but it's also friendly terrain for his rival Donald Trump. On Friday morning, Trump began his day with a press conference at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Less than four days earlier, he had given a press conference at another one of his Florida properties — the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

In his wide-ranging keynote interview at South by Southwest, the music, film and tech festival in Austin, Texas, President Obama focused on technology's role in civic life.

Obama, who was interviewed by Evan Smith, editor of the Texas Tribune, cited low voter turnout as an area in which technology could improve citizens' participation in government. He said it was "easier to order a pizza than to vote" and said we need to think about how to "redesign our systems so that we don't have 50 percent or 55 percent voter participation in presidential elections."

After one more debate among the Republican contenders for president, the postgame conversation was once again dominated by Donald Trump's behavior.

But for once, it was about his good behavior. He did not shout or fulminate, nor did he pout or belittle his opponents or joust with the moderators.

Something strange happened during Thursday night's GOP presidential debate — it was actually civil and reserved.

There was no mention of body parts and/or mudslinging between Donald Trump and the other candidates — all of which punctuated the Republican presidential conversation just a week ago.

The first half of the debate was policy-driven, addressing immigration, trade and tariffs, Social Security and more.

One week after he formally dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is endorsing New York businessman Donald Trump.

Carson said a major factor for the endorsement was the growing talk among many Republicans of working to deny Trump the majority of delegates he'd need to clinch the party's nomination, and instead hold a contested convention this summer.

President Obama said Thursday that the Republican Party is responsible for Donald Trump's rise, for "over a course of time, creating an environment where somebody like Donald Trump can thrive." Obama refuted the argument that Trump's surge is a reaction to his presidency.

"He's just doing more of what has been done for the last 7 1/2 years. And, in fact, in terms of his positions on a whole range of issues, they're not very different from any of the other candidates," Obama said in response to a question during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The remaining four Republican candidates debate once again tonight, this time in Miami. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich will be on the stage together for the last time before next Tuesday's big primary night, when voters in Ohio and Florida — Rubio and Kasich's home states — go to the polls. Tuesday is a make or break night for the two of them and tonight's debate is the last chance they have to change the dynamic in a race that has not been going their way.

Here are four things to watch — one for each candidate.

Once upon a time, the Democratic National Committee had a plan for just four debates among the party's candidates for president. The general feeling among activists was that too many debates risked overexposing the candidates, their differences and the divisions within the party.

There had been too many debates, they felt, in 2008. It was just bad politics.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had another tense debate Wednesday night in Miami, less than a week before crucial primary contests on March 15.

The latest face-off between the two came as the Vermont senator was riding high from an unexpected victory Tuesday in Michigan. The two clashed over immigration reform, U.S.-Cuba relations and Wall Street policy, and debated their electoral strategy going forward.

Next Tuesday, voters from Florida, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina and Illinois will cast their ballots.

Tonight the two Democratic candidates — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — meet in Miami for a debate.

Before Tuesday night, the debate was looking like an unimportant afterthought to a race that could have been all wrapped up. But not anymore, after Sanders' stunningly unexpected win in Michigan last night.

Here are three things to watch:

Bernie Sanders was the story of Tuesday night as he beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan's Democratic presidential primary. It wasn't a walloping — he won by less than 2 points — but still a big coup considering Clinton led in most polls by double digits before the race.

Michigan is Sanders' ninth state win, though Clinton still leads in delegates overall.

That means Sanders is only partway up a steep hill to the nomination.

Sen. Ted Cruz won the Idaho Republican presidential primary. Cruz pulled in about 45 percent of the GOP vote Tuesday followed by businessman Donald Trump in a distant second place with 28 percent.

Idaho State Treasurer Ron Crane served as Ted Cruz’s honorary state chairman. Crane said Cruz’s values aligned with Idaho’s GOP electorate.

“He connected with Idahoans,” Crane said. “I think his visit to Idaho this last weekend was strategic. His timing was perfect.”

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who ended her own presidential bid last month, has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Appearing at a Cruz rally in Miami on Wednesday morning, Fiorina said she voted for Cruz in Virginia's recent primary, and praised his record in challenging Washington's status quo.

Calling Cruz a "real constitutional conservative," she said "he is a fearless fighter and reformer, and he didn't care much whether he got invited to the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C." Fiorina said.

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