APRIL 20, 2016
Two weeks after being defeated in the Wisconsin primary, front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton rolled to landslide victories on Tuesday night in the delegate-rich New York primary. Clinton engineered an impressive double-digit win over rival Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, and Trump triumphed in an astonishing 35-point win over John Kasich and, much farther back, Ted Cruz.
For Trump, it was sweet vindication after his Wisconsin loss, which really seemed to shake his campaign, as did Cruz’s wins in state party conventions over the past few weeks. Trump was expected to win New York, but not by this margin (Trump’s 60% of the vote to Kasich’s 25%), and his delegate haul now makes it possible that he may have just enough momentum to make it to the Cleveland convention with the necessary 1,237 delegates in hand to secure the nomination.
In Clinton’s case, it may have been Sanders’ aggressive tone against her in the past few days that helped swell her numbers with a margin of victory that was higher than most experts predicted. After Clinton lost 8 of the 9 previous contests), it would have been a major embarrassment to lose her adopted home state. Certainly Clinton had a leg up on Sanders having represented New York State in the Senate for 8 years, but the win (58% for Clinton to Sanders’ 43%) was certainly convincing and may be large enough to allow her to pivot her campaign focus from Sanders to Trump.
Prior to Tuesday’s New York results, Clinton looked to have a long tussle with Sanders heading right into the convention, and Trump faced the prospect of falling far short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination. Their huge New York wins make those prospects less likely now. But as have previously seen in this one-for-the-record-books campaign, anything can still happen.
Let’s see how everybody did and what their next steps might be:
HILLARY CLINTON (58% of the vote, 175 pledged delegates won last night) — After she was routed in Wisconsin two weeks ago, Clinton needed a win here to get her campaign back on track, and the fact that it came in her adopted state likely made it all the sweeter. It’s not over yet — though she seems anxious to put Sanders in her rear-view mirror and turn her attention to the general election, she will need big wins in next Tuesday’s primaries to make her case convincing. But Tuesday night did a lot to bring that closer to reality.
BERNIE SANDERS (42% of the vote, 106 pledged delegates won last night) — Sanders faces a big decision over the next few days. While he is not yet mathematically out of the race, he has to decide how he wants to fight on from here. His series of harsh attacks on Clinton during the New York race, a tone which we’ve never seen from him before, did him no good in gathering more votes, and he faces a similar electorate in the five states that vote next Tuesday. Sanders is determined to stay in the race to the end, but how he chooses to campaign these next few weeks will mean a lot in determining his legacy.
DONALD TRUMP (60% of the vote, 89 pledged delegates won last night) –– Make no mistake — this was an important victory for Trump, making his pathway to the nomination now much easier to see. Tuesday also unveiled the new Trump 2.0. Over the past few weeks, Trump brought onto his campaign several seasoned hands of successful campaigns past, and the results were immediately apparent in Trump’s acceptance speech. He was focused, he was gracious and he was respectful — there was no “Lyin’ Ted” insults last night, just references to “Senator Cruz.” What did they do with the old Trump?
JOHN KASICH (25% of the vote, 3 pledged delegates won last night) — Kasich won a district! Finishing ahead of Cruz might be seen as a moral victory for the Ohio governor, but the fact remains that Trump’s huge delegate haul on Tuesday has made the odds of a contested convention, which is Kasich’s only hope of prevailing in Cleveland, a lot less likely.
TED CRUZ (14% of the vote, zero pledged delegates won last night) — Cruz was a complete bust in New York. From the moment several months ago that he sneered at Trump’s “New York values,” he was cooked. Cruz tried to do the New York thing, visiting a matzo-making plant, for example, but he was usually heckled with “New York values” at every stop. So Cruz left town and never came back. And things don’t look any better for him in next week’s 5-state set of primaries.
For you fans of the horse-race, here’s where everybody stands, delegate-wise:
THE DELEGATE COUNT
REPUBLICANS (1,237 needed to win)
Donald Trump 755 (plus 89 pledged delegates won last night) = 844
Ted Cruz 559 (plus zero pledged delegates won last night ) = 559
The Ghost of Marco Rubio = 172
John Kasich 143 (plus 3 pledged delegates won last night) = 146
DEMOCRATS (2,383 needed to win)
Hillary Clinton 1,710 (plus 175 pledged delegates won last night) = 1,885
Bernie Sanders 1,084 (plus 106 pledged delegates won last night) = 1,190
Next Tuesday brings 5 more Northeast states to the primary fight, including the big prize of Pennsylvania. Should Trump and Clinton add to their momentum with victories there, it could be all over. Or could their challengers pull a major surprise? Be there or be square!