Sunday 22 April 2018

Clinton hopes New York win will see off Sanders

Hillary Clinton greets shoppers at Queens Crossing mall in the Queens borough of New York City. Photo: Getty Images
Hillary Clinton greets shoppers at Queens Crossing mall in the Queens borough of New York City. Photo: Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders with actor Danny DeVito(R) before he speaks at "A Future To Believe In GOTV Rally" in Brooklyns Prospect Park. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Michael C Bender New York

THE latest opinion polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump with double-digit leads heading into the New York primary today.

Both candidates are hoping that strong victories on their home court will reset their respective races and catapult them toward the finish line.

After tough losses - Mr Trump was severely embarrassed in Wisconsin two weeks ago by Texas Senator Ted Cruz's strong showing, and Clinton has lost eight of her party's last nine nominating contests to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders - the immediate path ahead for each candidate looks promising.

If the two New Yorkers can close out their home state - Clinton is targeting minority voters, while Trump is trying to temper his emotional campaign - they'll pick up needed momentum for the next round of primaries. Five northeast states hold contests next week, where both candidates should hold strong advantages.

"April 26 is the goal line," Joel Benenson, Clinton's pollster, said in an interview about the primaries next week. There are about 750 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic race over the next week, about 40pc of the total remaining.

"At that point," Benenson said, "our pledged delegate lead will be of a sufficient size that Senator Sanders just simply will not have enough real estate left."

Clinton targeted black voters on Sunday at a Baptist church in Mount Vernon and at block parties in Washington Heights and Brooklyn, where she campaigned on pro-gun control messages and celebrated President Barack Obama's two terms. It was a stark reminder of perhaps Clinton's biggest advantage in the race - the wide support she enjoys among minority voters over Sanders.

"I am your neighbour, which makes me very happy," she told the black church congregation. "I'm asking for you to be part of what I do as president."

Nina Turner, a top Ohio Democratic Party official supporting Sanders, said she wished the Vermont senator had done more earlier in his campaign to reach out to minority communities. She pointed to an event he held in Ohio ahead of the primary last month, where he captured the attention of a large crowd of minority voters.

"You could hear a pin drop when he was talking about being arrested as a 20-something, putting his body on the line for civil rights," Turner said in an interview. "I wish he would have done more of that from the beginning, really pouring out his heart."

While Clinton holds a lead in New York, a CBS News poll released on Sunday showed her up 10 percentage points - but the margin of Trump's victory in New York may be even more important. Clinton is ahead of the pace she needs to win enough delegates for her party's nomination, while Trump needs to accelerate his collection of delegates. Trump needs a convincing win today to put more distance between himself and Cruz.

The former reality TV show host may do just that thanks to an unfamiliar strategy - for him - of staying largely out of the news. The New York native and veteran of the city's sensational and savage tabloid culture has campaigned around the state during the past week, but without the accompanying headlines that usually follow.

The result - his lead in the national polls has climbed almost 8pc since the Wisconsin contest.

Irish Independent

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