We watched them shovel all manner of New York chow into their maws for weeks, heard them pander to every ethnic group crowded into the boroughs and beyond and listened to them snipe about the right way to lock up a delegate.
On Tuesday, Republican voters gave Donald Trump the big prize, nearly all of the state’s 95 delegates after three out of every five chose the guy who’s for years been marking the territory with his name in gold and ALL CAPS.
Meantime, Hillary Clinton took about 58 percent of the vote over Bernie Sanders, making his chances of toppling the front-runner look ever more fantastical.
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How big was the win for Trump? Consider the view of those who hope desperately he won’t take the prize at the Cleveland convention.
“So basically the news couldn’t be worse,” wrote Caleb Howe at the quite conservative, non-Trump-loving RedState, “ … at first glance, but here are things to remember. 1) There were fewer than half as many votes cast in New York’s GOP primary as there were in Wisconsin’s, and (Ted) Cruz smoked Trump in Wisconsin. 2) This is the first and only time Trump has ever gotten more than 50% of the popular vote. And 3) IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER.”
Meantime, there was much paging of Dr. Freud to analyze Trump’s victory speech. After all, he’s shuffled his campaign staff in recent days, sat out the Sunday morning talk shows and reportedly turned to more practiced pros to fine-tune his campaign style. Left-tilting Slate declared “The Domestication of Donald Trump Has Begun.”
The speech was more brief than he usually makes. There were no Trump Steaks or Trump Vodka on display. Instead of a gilded ballroom for a backdrop, he trotted out his telegenic family and New York pals.
Instead of attacking “Lyin’ Ted,” as he likes to tweet and say, or bashing the reporters who’ve tracked his campaign, he lashed at the Republican delegate-selection process. (Reminder: The one-person-one-vote thing doesn’t apply so much to primary campaigns, but New York’s winner-takes-nearly-all systems shows how Trump has been as much a beneficiary as any candidate.)
John Kasich looks to be pulling three New York delegates — exactly three more than Cruz — but not enough to draw any attention in Trump’s speech.
At the lefty Talking Points Memo, Katherine Krueger saw a re-made Trump.
“Flanked by the ‘great businessmen of the world,’ Trump delivered an uncharacteristically restrained victory speech,” she wrote. “The billionaire trumpeted his red meat proposals to gathered supporters, stumping about his plans to bring jobs back home and build up the U.S. military. …
“The rhetoric was a marked departure from recent weeks.”
It was mostly full of thank-yous and shout-outs to Manhattan real estate buddies.
He did talk a little math, suggesting that Cruz is “mathematically out” of the race to get to the convention clinching 1,237 delegates need for the nomination. Almost. Not quite. Cruz has 559 delegates and there’s still 734 available, meaning he theoretically could get there. But he won’t. Or even come close. It’s all a second-ballot play for him. So, Trump’s math seems good enough for campaign work.
Meantime, Trump fans were ecstatic, taking to Twitter and elsewhere to document the coming of a great-again America.
On the Democratic side, the night’s win for Clinton seemed to seal the Sanders campaign as a vehicle for a movement rather than an election.
“New York votes, and can we bag this thing already?” asked a headline at the liberal DailyKos. And then answered its own question.
“This loss was devastating to Bernie Sanders, not just because he’ll end up losing a net 30 or so delegates, but because it takes another 247 delegates off the board,” wrote the epynomous Markos Moulitsas. “He now has a BIGGER margin to make up, and one less state (with a ton of delegates) to work with. Thus, he would have to average 58 percent of the delegates in the remaining states to win a majority of pledged delegates. And next week looks just as inhospitable to Sanders as Tuesday was. In fact, it’s pretty clear that with most of Sanders’ best states behind him, the rest of the map looks very favorable to Clinton.”
Sanders grew up in New York and then moved to Vermont. Clinton grew up in Illinois, then lived in Arkansas and Washington, D.C., before becoming New York’s senator. So whose home turf it was depended on your perspective.
Politico saw the New York results as both a big win for Clinton — now nearly impossible to stop — and further fracturing of the Democratic Party. (Republicans would love to be that fractured.)
“There was much eff-you high-fiving in the ballroom of the Sheraton New York. But Sanders’ defeat … was the bitterest one yet, and deepened the already yawning fault lines between the Bernie stalwarts and a Clinton team increasingly itchy to see him gone,” the website wrote. “Not going to happen anytime soon, apparently: The tweet being incredulously digested at a Clinton victory party was an MSNBC report quoting Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver defiantly claiming his candidate would take the fight to the convention floor — even if Clinton secured an overwhelming lead among pledged delegates and supers.”
And the beat goes on.