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The primaries Tuesday night are going to teach us a lot about the shape of the presidential race.
First, the Republican race. The story today will be whether Donald Trump can win all five contests—Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Delaware.
If Trump wins all five (as the polls suggest he will) it will be hard to argue that he is stoppable.
There is a realistic possibility that Cruz will repeat his New York performance and come in third behind both Trump and Kasich. That will be a significant blow to his argument that he is the realistic alternative to Trump.
Kasich will get a morale boost if he beats Cruz and comes in second in all five states. The more important question is whether Kasich’s second-place position brings any delegates with it.
Kasich won three delegates in New York by coming in second. Trump won 89 and has since added the vote of New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox. At 90-3, New York was an enormous victory for Trump and no other characterization is accurate.
If this Tuesday is as good as last Tuesday for Trump, it is hard to see how he can be stopped.
Coming out of two consecutive Tuesdays with overwhelming victories, Trump will be able to make three powerful arguments.
First, he is simply going to have the delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at GOP convention, so all the maneuvering over delegate selection and efforts to put in chameleon delegates who are bound to Trump but are really for another candidate will be irrelevant.
Second, no one else is consolidating votes as the alternative. The gap between Trump’s total popular vote and Cruz’s vote will make it untenable to suggest that Cruz has a greater legitimacy to be the nominee.
Finally, the continuing series of victories will create a bandwagon effect as people decide they want to be with the winner. Trump could easily enter the convention with 1,400 delegates or more as winning attracts those who were on the fence.
Hillary Clinton is going to win the votes and the delegates Tuesday night, but it may have no effect on Bernie Sanders’s willingness to continue the race.
Sanders just passed Clinton in total fundraising. He has no incentive to get out of the race.
With every week that passes, there are more stories about Clinton and corruption and Clinton putting national security at risk.
With every week, the younger voters and the ideologically hard-left voters who make up the base of the Sanders movement grow more hostile to Clinton.
Sanders is increasingly harsh in his attacks on Hillary, and he is beginning to set out demands for the kind of left-wing platform and convention the Democrats must have to convince him and his base to support Clinton in the general election.
It is important to remember that Sanders is a Socialist who had never run as a Democrat until he announced for president. He is not a Democratic Party loyalist. His interest in Clinton’s future or the future of a non-Sanders Democratic ticket is very small.
While the media wants to focus on Republican “problems”, the Democrats are a very long way from a unified party. It will be fascinating to watch how everything develops.
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