The 2016 presidential race took more bizarre turns on Wednesday after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump enjoyed positive results in Tuesday’s primaries.
Predictably, Trump caused the most ruckus, drawing attention to himself with his scorched-earth rhetoric.
Start with his most disturbing comment, when Trump said, “I think you’d have riots” if he gets close to but doesn’t reach the number of delegates needed for automatic nomination at the Republican convention in July.
“I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen,” Trump said. That, of course, irresponsibly plants the seed with his supporters to consider rioting as a legitimate way to react in Cleveland.
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Trump on Wednesday released a short Instagram video that mocks Clinton as a yapping dog in the face of America’s enemies. It’s the kind of disgusting flimflammery that Trump has injected into the GOP primaries. The attack on Clinton indicates voters will see more of this classless behavior all the way to the November general election.
Trump also flexed his muscles by saying he wouldn’t participate in the GOP’s scheduled Fox News debate next week, leading to its cancellation.
True, Trump is not yet the Republican nominee. But Ted Cruz and John Kasich are running out of time to stop him.
Kasich, who along with Clinton received The Star’s recommendations in the Missouri primaries, did win in his home state of Ohio on Tuesday. But that’s his only victory so far.
As for Cruz, it’s difficult to root for someone whose views are way outside the mainstream of U.S. values.
The tattered Republican establishment may still have some tricks up its sleeve — Paul Ryan perhaps? — in a bid to cause a contested or brokered convention. Or it could throw in the towel and let the Trump train run its course.
On the Democratic side, Clinton is pivoting to general election mode after a strong showing Tuesday.
Her role now is clear: Keep things positive in her campaign and take the high ground in talking about policies that most matter to the American people.
Clinton will remind voters what a dangerous president Trump could be. But there’s no need to go super negative — especially when many Democratic insiders think Trump would be the easiest candidate to defeat this fall.
The potential for a Bernie Sanders surge dissipated Tuesday when he couldn’t build any momentum off his surprising Michigan victory last week.
Sanders now is in position to play the role of spoiler in the Democratic race, even as he faces Clinton’s almost insurmountable lead in convention delegates. But the more honorable path would have Sanders stay in his mostly upbeat campaign mode and prepare his supporters for a show of unity.
The Democrats will need that. They will need some of Sanders’s best ideas. They will need the passion and energy of his supporters. And they will need the best that Clinton can bring to the ground game, the stump speeches and the hearts and minds of voters to defeat whichever GOP candidate ends up on the ballot.