Trump, Clinton roll in Northeastern primaries
Donald Trump steamrolled through the Northeast, winning all 5 primaries held decisively.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton won 4 of 5 contests, extending her huge lead in delegates. Bernie Sanders managed a win in Rhode Island, but it was far too little and obviously too late.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from the GOP primaries is that Trump not only won decisively, but topped 54% in every contest and was above 60% in two. This was one of the last arguments being used by the Cruz-Kasich campaigns against Trump: that, outside his home state of New York, he had yet to demonstrate that he could attract more than 50% of primary voters. Trump's victories last night put that notion to rest.
As for Cruz-Kasich, they were annihilated. Especially Cruz, who managed only one second-place finish in Pennsylvania.
Tuesday’s rout was an embarrassing and potentially debilitating blow for Trump’s nearest rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz finished a distant third in at least three of the states, behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich as well as Trump.
Now mathematically eliminated from winning the 1,237 delegates required to secure the nomination outright, Cruz and Kasich are banking on a contested party convention in Cleveland to somehow deny Trump the nomination.
But with a fresh jolt from Tuesday’s resounding wins, Trump is on course to perhaps amass enough delegates by the end of primary voting in June. Heading into Tuesday’s contests, Trump had 845 pledged delegates — a lead of nearly 300 over Cruz — and was poised to pull further ahead by about 100 delegates or more.
Basking in what he called his “biggest night” of the race so far, Trump declared himself the “presumptive nominee” as he claimed victory at Trump Tower in New York alongside family and friends, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely,” Trump said. “Honestly, Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich should really get out of the race. They have no path to victory at all. . . . We should heal the Republican Party, bring the Republican Party together. And I’m a unifier.”
That theme of "unity" is now being played in both parties, as the bruising primary season finally begins to wind down.
Before a boisterous crowd of 1,300 in Philadelphia, Clinton asked Democrats to imagine a more hopeful, compassionate country “where love trumps hate.”
Speaking to Sanders supporters, Clinton said she intends to unify the party. She appealed to their shared values, including reducing income inequality, college affordability and universal health coverage.
“Our campaign is about restoring people’s confidence in our ability to solve problems together,” Clinton said. “That’s why we’re setting bold, progressive goals backed up by real plans.
“After all, that is how progress is made,” she said. “We have to be both dreamers and doers.”
Tuesday’s performance allows Clinton to reposition her campaign for the general election fight against Republicans in ways that have been difficult to do while fending off Sanders’s persistent, well-funded and remarkably successful challenge.
Her speech Tuesday included an appeal to moderate independent voters, who Democrats believe may be looking for a home in a general election if the Republican nominee is Trump.
Trump and Clinton may talk unity, but at present, it doesn't appear that their supporters or the supporters of their rivals are in any mood to make nice. This has been the nastiest campaign in memory, and both presumptive nominees are facing a Herculean task of healing their fractured parties.
The fall campaign is shaping up to be a unique battle. Trump, a neophyte against the seasoned veteran Clinton. Trump, able to tap into the rage felt by many Americans against the "elites," while Clinton's sheer muscle of money and organziation will be put to the test.
These are the least liked presidential candidates in modern American political history. The battle will be decided by whether Trump can inspire enough rage to drive his voters to the polls versus Clinton's massive organizational advantage.
For all but the most committed political junkies, many American voters are likely to tune out the candidates long before election day.