Monday 28 May 2018

After all the twists and turns, the Big Apple's results help to make things a little bit clearer

Hillary Clinton's victory in New York means she is effectively the Democratic Party candidate Photo: REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Hillary Clinton's victory in New York means she is effectively the Democratic Party candidate Photo: REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

David Lawler

While both frontrunners secured victories by comfortable margins in New York on Tuesday, it was anything but a humdrum night for the 2016 presidential race.

All five remaining candidates saw their fortunes shift as the results came in from the Empire State, and the path forward - following the twists and turns of the past several months - became a bit more straightforward.

Here's a look at the key developments.

1. Donald Trump can secure the nomination in June.

The biggest question looming over the primary elections is whether Donald Trump can win the 1,237 delegates needed to lock up the nomination prior to the Republican convention in July.

After a disappointing loss in Wisconsin, and his failure to pick up even a single delegate at the Colorado state convention, Trump had been knocked off the path to the outright delegate majority he desperately seeks.

In stockpiling nearly all of the 95 delegates up for grabs in New York, though (after projections that his total would be closer to just 75), Trump has shifted the figures back in his favour.

There is still much work to be done, but there are now viable paths which would see him gain his 1,237th delegate at the California primary on June 7.

That would mean Trump would not have to fight it out on the floor of the convention, where he could end up seeing the nomination pulled from his grasp.

2. Hillary Clinton is your Democratic nominee.

After her convincing win in New York, there is no realistic scenario by which anyone but Hillary Clinton can win the Democratic nomination.

There were rumblings right up to election day that the former Secretary of State could face a defeat at the hands of Bernie Sanders in the state she represented for eight years in the senate.

After losing six straight contests, she cast the talk of 'Bernie-mentum' aside in winning by a larger margin than was expected, and widening what was already a formidable delegate lead.

In listening to her victory speech, you'd think she had moved on to a general election showdown with Trump or Ted Cruz, both of whom she mentioned by name.

That's because, in a sense, she already has.

3. Bernie Sanders campaign divided against itself.

After the results were tallied, Sanders was nowhere to be seen. A flight back to his native Vermont, a brief exchange with reporters and otherwise radio silence from the candidate himself.

His top spin doctors did make the rounds, but they appeared to be spinning in opposite directions.

The Sanders campaign has been under pressure to make peace with Mrs Clinton after a contentious few weeks, and that pressure will only grow after Tuesday's result.

Tad Devine, Sanders's chief strategist, said they would continue on for at least another week, but seemed to signal that the end was in sight for their bid.

"Next week is a big week," he said. "We'll see how we do there and then we'll be able to sit back and assess where we are."

Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager, said almost simultaneously that the campaign would fight on to the convention in July - even if Mrs Clinton was still the clear leader at that stage.

While the Democratic race is all but decided, the strategy of the Sanders campaign needs some ironing out.

4. Ted Cruz suffers a blow.

Ted Cruz has spent months trying and, to a certain extent, succeeding in convincing the Republican establishment that he is the only candidate who can defeat Trump.

After a win in Wisconsin and show of organisational force in Colorado, the wind was at his back.

Until Tuesday, that is.

He will have to rebuild brick by brick after finishing a distant third - with just 15pc of the vote - and he is running out of time.

He may now regret his infamous 'New York values' swipes at Trump earlier in the campaign.

5. John Kasich continues onward.

It can be easy to forget that there is a fifth candidate in the race, but John Kasich had a pretty decent showing in New York.

He finished second behind Trump, with one-quarter of the vote, and even picked up at least three delegates.

If nothing that has transpired so far has convinced him to drop out of contention, nothing that happened on Tuesday will either.

And so, all three challengers will continue to beat on - boats against the current - as Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump prepare for a general election showdown.

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