In a front-runner's rout, Republican Donald Trump roared to victory Tuesday in five contests across the Northeast and confidently declared himself the GOP's "presumptive nominee." Hillary Clinton was dominant in four Democratic races and now is 90 percent of the way to the number she needs to claim her own nomination.
Trump's and Clinton's wins propelled them ever closer to a general election showdown. Still, Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted Cruz and John Kasich, vowed to keep running, even as opportunities to topple the leaders dwindle.
Trump is a little further away but is bragging louder as usual.
Trump still must negotiate a narrow path to keep from falling short of the delegates needed to seal the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July. Cruz and Kasich are working toward that result, which would leave Trump open to a floor fight in which delegates could turn to someone else.
Trump was having none of that. "It's over. As far as I'm concerned it's over," he declared at his victory rally in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. He now has 77 percent of the delegates he needs.
In the clearing stands a boxer.
News organizations called all five states for Trump within 30 minutes after the polls closed – a victory that should net him around 100 delegates when the counts are finalized. However, analysts believe Trump will be hunting for at least 250 more delegates even as his celebratory boasts Tuesday oozed confidence. Indeed, he went so far as to declare, “I consider myself the presumptive nominee.”
His rationale: “When a boxer knocks out another boxer, you don’t have to wait for a decision. That’s what happened tonight."
If you take him at his word, he'd rather be fighting... someone else.
“If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote,” he said to close out a press conference after sweeping five northeastern primaries. “And the beautiful thing is, women don't like her.”
Yeah, that's just gorgeous, Donald. Women like you even less (shocking, isn't it).
This is going to be such a hideous path through the summer and early fall to the bitter end.
With Clinton's four victories — she ceded only Rhode Island to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — she now has 90 percent of the delegates she needs to become the first woman nominated by a major party. Clinton kept her focus firmly on the general election as she spoke to supporters Tuesday night, urging Sanders' loyal supporters to help her unify the Democratic Party and reaching out to GOP voters who may be unhappy with their party's options.
"If you are a Democrat, an independent or a thoughtful Republican, you know that their approach is not going to build an America where we increase opportunity or decrease inequality," Clinton said of the GOP candidates. She spoke in Philadelphia, where Democrats will gather in July for their nominating convention.
We'll see how that goes. Still sounds like condescension and scolding to me.
"I applaud Senator Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality," she said, "and I know together we will get that done."
She acknowledged that "too many people" feel powerless, and worried "that those of us in politics put our own interests ahead of the national interest." But she reminded her supporters, in a message to Sanders' supporters as well, that bold goals must be "backed up by real plans."
"After all, that is how progress gets made," she said. "We have to be both dreamers and doers."
Doesn't seem to register that her definition of 'progress' isn't what Sanders folks are looking for. How much of his support transfers to her is essentially the last question left to answer, and it will be six months before we know for sure.
Robert Reich observes that the endgame for anti-establishment forces in the GOP and the Dems are mirror images of one another (which is not to say that they're the same), and invokes the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy to make his point.
Will Bernie Sanders’s supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination? Likewise, if Donald Trump is denied the Republican nomination, will his supporters back whoever gets the Republican nod?
If 2008 is any guide, the answer is unambiguously yes to both. About 90 percent of people who backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries that year ended up supporting Barack Obama in the general election. About the same percent of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney backers came around to supporting John McCain.
But 2008 may not be a good guide to the 2016 election, whose most conspicuous feature is furious antipathy to the political establishment.
Outsiders and mavericks are often attractive to an American electorate chronically suspicious of political insiders, but the anti-establishment sentiments unleashed this election year of a different magnitude. The Trump and Sanders candidacies are both dramatic repudiations of politics as usual.
If Hillary Clinton is perceived to have won the Democratic primary because of insider “superdelegates” and contests closed to independents, it may confirm for hardcore Bernie supporters the systemic political corruption Sanders has been railing against.
Similarly, if the Republican Party ends up nominating someone other than Trump who hasn’t attracted nearly the votes than he has, it may be viewed as proof of Trump’s argument that the Republican Party is corrupt.
Many Sanders supporters will gravitate to Hillary Clinton nonetheless out of repulsion toward the Republican candidate, especially if it’s Donald Trump. Likewise, if Trump loses his bid for the nomination, many of his supporters will vote Republican in any event, particularly if the Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton.
But, unlike previous elections, a good number may simply decide to sit out the election because of their even greater repulsion toward politics as usual – and the conviction it’s rigged by the establishment for its own benefit.
That conviction wasn’t present in the 2008 election. It emerged later, starting in the 2008 financial crisis, when the government bailed out the biggest Wall Street banks while letting underwater homeowners drown.
Both the Tea Party movement and Occupy were angry responses – Tea Partiers apoplectic about government’s role, Occupiers furious with Wall Street – two sides of the same coin.
Pick it up from there over here, where he adds in the mega-bank bailouts, Citizens United, and the rest of the past eight years' worth of history.
My mission beginning a year or so ago was to more actively facilitate the departure of progressives -- what we can now call BernieDems -- away from Team Blue and toward Team Green, or Team Red as the case may be. Contrary to Kos' latest change of tone, a revolution within the Ds -- as Sanders has learned the hard way -- just isn't the most effective tool to affect change (no fear of loss on their part if you just slouch slowly back into the fold). So I'm going to keep doing that in my own signature style around here, which ought to further alienate my old pals in the blues party some more (too bad about that).
As a result I'm going to be posting excerpts and links to articles that reinforce that message and much, much less about the he said/she said bullshit. You'll see more like yesterday's about intriguing matchups downballot in states other than Texas, because Texas is once again a foregone conclusion. Just not that interested in what the world's worst conservatives will do, and plot to do, with absolutely no political consequences whatsoever.
Update: Charles cites the Houston Area Survey's latest revelation -- which I had read before posting here and wasn't nearly so encouraged by -- as reasons for the local Donkeys to be hopeful. Its conclusions about Houston turning slightly more purple are not based on turnout, just a mild 'leaning' affiliation, and links to Campos, who again blames Dems for not getting his community to vote for them. My question for soft Latino/a Ds who aren't voting is: WTF are you waiting for? Us regular folks, white and black alike, aren't sitting around for engraved invitations to perform our civic responsibilities. Whatever it is that's holding you back, you might consider not waiting for somebody to knock on your door and/or send you a mailer. And please don't blame anybody but yourselves for the policies Republicans are going to continue to inflict upon you if you're staying home on Election Day.
That's the most I can do to help Hillary get over the Trump hump. (She really shouldn't need it.)