After New York, the presidential nominating contests are less murky — but still murky

REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Hillary Clinton greeting attendees at her New York presidential primary night rally in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The results of the primaries in New York on Tuesday are not at all murky: huge, solid, above-predicted-level wins for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and for Donald Trump on the Republican side.

The implications for the future of the nominating contests are large, but as usual, until someone clinches, murky. Be wary of those who tell you the future of these races. They do not know, but when asked, seem to lack the humility to start their answers with: “I do not know.”

Because the parties divvy up the delegates different ways, Clinton will gain a relative few net delegates over her rival Bernie Sanders. With almost all of the votes counted in New York, Clinton looks to win 139 delegates and Sanders 106. That’s a solid net gain, and certainly ends Sanders’ recent hot streak.

But the net delegate gain for Clinton pales compared to the Repub side, where Trump will get almost all the delegates — a huge haul of 89 — and his nearest rival, Ted Cruz, will get zero. John Kasich will get three.

The chance of Cruz winning enough delegates for a first-ballot nomination is approaching zero, but it has been effectively nil for a long time barring a colossal, rigged deal. His real chance is on the second or third ballot.

But Trump’s good night keeps alive the possibility that he will clinch the magic number on the first ballot, or come so close to it that it becomes too embarrassing for the Never Trump forces to seriously attempt to deny him. But to get there Trump has to keep winning — and by large margins, at least delegate-wise. The punditocracy has been shifting back and forth on almost a daily basis recently on whether he will or won’t get there, and we may just have to wait for the end of the process to find out. But there is no dispute that Trump had a very, very good night.

By the way, Sanders, who had already left New York for Pennsylvania before the results came out, made a previously unscheduled trip back to his home in Vermont. This will undoubtedly provoke some speculation that he’s ready to throw in the towel. When he landed, he said that, of course, that wasn’t so; he just wanted to sleep in his own bed for a change, or somesuch. But you will note that people in this circumstance generally deny they are even thinking of dropping out until the moment they drop out.

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Comments (31)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 04/20/2016 - 11:10 am.

    Bernie Sanders

    has an important ongoing part to play in this social drama of 2016, regardless of delegate counts and convention realities.

    Sen. Sanders has sort of pulled the bushel from hiding a long-burning lamp obscured by corporate political democracy, Blue and Red.

    To me the revelations of his success indicate his followers have been disenchanted with the so-called Liberal Party nearly as much as with the scorned Conservative Party. He has significant following, often dismissed by DNC operatives, a following that will be heard all the way to January, 2017…likely well beyond that.

    We can each consider his rhetoric as ridiculous or as rational within context.
    Bernie Sanders is the first socialist (come on, yes he really is) to effectively and persistently challenge the record and rhetoric of the Corporate Democrat crowd.

    Adlai Stevenson never quite got over the big hump Bernie seems to have effectively graded down to size this cycle; but, then, Adlai had fewer tools and fewer precursors to help him.

    Sanders intrigues me, yes he does. I am most appreciative of his ability to effectively loosen some of the rails carrying the HRC Express. That train will get to California and the Golden Glow of victory. Sanders people will also continue to remove spikes and rails along that route.

    I love him as earnest advocate and flagman for many who don’t get to ride that train.

    [Note: A bit of Adlai’s good timing was running long before the “Dallas” TV days of oil family intrigue,
    considering his middle name was “Ewing.”]

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/20/2016 - 11:30 am.

      Agreed but…

      If his role turns out to be electing Trump, that will not be a positive contribution.
      On the other hand, if he continues to push Clinton to the left while convincing at least most of his supporters to vote for her, then he will have achieved something. This is reality, something that he occasionally has trouble with.

      And I would not call him a classical socialist; he is not advocating the abolition of all private property.
      The European Democratic Socialism which he basically espouses is a hybrid, not pure Socialism.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 04/20/2016 - 12:41 pm.


        No need to parse words. We mostly all here understand the generic term “socialist” to not be textbook delineation. I think you also mean Social Democrats. Let’s stay away form textbooks here.

        Bernie’s not going to be the cause of “electing Trump.” That’s a reach, I think. Trump voters will elect him by not voting for someone else. Any blather of Bernie followers voting for Trump is nonsense to me. Besides, HRC likely will get many borderline female votes from centrists. Not many of the Cruz evangelicals will turn out for Donald, either.

        There may be as many Cruz/Kasich Repubicans refusing to vote for Trump as Sanders Democrats refusing to vote for HRC. You overestimate the current Party pull, certainly this year.

        Hey, that’s the way it works. We don’t all just vote for whomever is put on the final ballot.
        I’ve voted for for Ralph Nader, once as Independent candidate, once as write-in when I could not put my pen on either of the other. I’ve also voted for Eugene McCarthy twice, as protest write-in. And, I’ve also voted for Reagan and Bush, but not McCain. If you wish to describe “Independent,” you’re reading him here.

        Most of us vote with some combination of heart, mind and hope…not extraneous pressure.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/20/2016 - 01:57 pm.

          Words do mean something (the Walrus notwithstanding)

          Either a term is defined or it is literally meaningless. ‘Socialism’ is a good example: for many people it is an expletive that they throw at any political system too far to the left for them.
          Sanders himself uses the term Democratic Socialism (‘socialism’ describes a movement; ‘socialist’ a person).
          And if Sander’s backers sit out the election or write him in, they are effectively increasing Trump’s vote relative to Clintons. To quote someone: “that’s the way it works”.

          • Submitted by Jim Million on 04/21/2016 - 08:03 pm.

            Word and Meanings

            The European party people are “Social Democrats.” Bernie is a self-described “Democratic Socialist.” Not equivalent meanings.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/22/2016 - 10:21 am.

              So what is the difference?

              To the extent that Sanders is advocating anything specific, he is advocating the European capitalism/socialism hybrid — he has referred to them as his model.

              • Submitted by Jim Million on 04/23/2016 - 08:55 am.

                Nouns & Adjectives

                The EU politicians refer to themselves as a type of “Democrat.”
                Bernie calls himself a type of “Socialist.”
                Nothing wrong with that because that’s what he means.

                I simply think Bernie’s honesty of labeling should be acknowledged by those who aren’t quite so comfortable with the “Socialist” part. Seems fair to me. I believe he means what he says in his stump speeches.

                Let’s just imagine Trump (or anyone) openly running as a “Republican Fascist.” Not many people would focus on the adjective then. Actually, some have suggested that noun is simply silent, but definitely there.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 04/20/2016 - 12:39 pm.

      Did I Miss Something?

      Is there a private industry or company that Sanders has advocated the federal government take over? Aside from healthcare, which many nations and decidedly non-socialist American politicians want. Automobile manufacturing? Any utilities? Banks? How about banks? Because if there is anything Bernie would nationalize it would be the banks, but he hasn’t said anything about that.

      Some socialist.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/20/2016 - 02:09 pm.

      Ongoing Part

      You make some interesting observations.

      I would have hoped that the part Senator Sanders has to play would have ripples beyond the presidential race. I would have hoped that his candidacy would have inspired candidates for the House and the Senate, and for state and local office, to take up some of his themes, and address those real economic issues that the corporate-themed politicians tend to elide over.

      It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So far, all of the progressive eggs are being placed in one basket. Building an effective base of support in Congress is getting ignored (there has been loose talk of drafting Senator Warren as Vice President, giving a forceful, effective Senator one of the least influential jobs in America).

      After all, President Obama has shown how much can be done with a Congress that seasons opposition with strong personal animus.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 04/20/2016 - 03:25 pm.

        Not Sure…

        I’m not expecting the Sanders presence to influence many Congressional races this year, but perhaps in 2018. Somehow, I don’t believe the “Bern” will be eased by any salve offered by next year’s Dems…maybe, but doubtful. Their concern is always with Republicans, and Black Caucus members, we must admit.

        The so-called Tea Party has been considered diluted; yet, many of those Wisconsin Cruz votes came from those people, currently labeled or not. They haven’t gone back into the woods, at least not yet. Hard to tell what they may become after a Trump administration.

        Sanders may become the figurehead for DNC blockade running, maybe somewhat as Ralph Nader was for another activist segment.

        Frankly, unless some shattering national/world event again brings some intervening common purpose to the disenchanted, they likely will spread roots where they now stand.
        How many “true believers” just say “Well, we tried,” and then disappear into the masses?
        Of course, we do find out just how many believer were true all the way through (usually not many).

        As for Warren, I seriously doubt she would accept anything less than a seriously influential position…anywhere.

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/20/2016 - 11:10 am.


    Sanders looks absolutely exhausted. Let the guy get a good night’s sleep.

  3. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 04/20/2016 - 11:47 am.

    Not sure I agree with the future of the democratic nomination being “murky.” The accumulation of delegates is what counts, and with each increase in delegates to Clinton it makes it that much more unlikely for Sanders to close the gap– he moves from having to win all remaining contests by an unrealistic number (57% I believe), to an even more unrealistic number (59%). Given the fairly good polling we have for states coming up (and the favorable demographics of places like Maryland and New Jersey), that is just not likely. To quote the 538 gurus (who are usually pretty careful about how strong to make their statements): “Tonight reaffirmed that she is almost certainly going to be the Democratic nominee for president.”

    Now the other race, murky all the way…

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/20/2016 - 03:24 pm.

    No one pushes the party or Clinton’s to the left

    They may tack to the left during campaigns but they always return to station after the election. The only way to make the democratic party a liberal/progressive party is to elect liberals, no one will push establishment democrats to the left.

    I don’t think Sanders is naive enough to think that he’ll push Hillary to the left, this is either about getting nominated or putting progressive policies on the table for the next election cycle. You’ll note that this is the second presidential cycle in a row that the democratic establishment has faced a serious challenge from the left and that trend is unlikely to end. If HRC gets elected, her conservative do little approach to governance will only serve to remind voters that they had a choice. I don’t see Sanders running again in 4-8 years but there are others that can run from the left next time, sooner or later they’ll win.

    On the other hand, it’s beginning to look like we’ll have a contested democratic convention because at this rate neither candidate may rack up a winning number of pledged delegates. Sanders campaign has been declared dead how many times now?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/20/2016 - 04:01 pm.


      If things keep going “at this rate” there is no chance of there being a contested convention. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      Clinton will end the primaries with a majority of pledged delegates, and the superdelegates – who already overwhelmingly support Clinton – will continue to do so, giving her an easy win.

      For Sanders to win, the superdelagates would have to 1) overturn the will of the voters and 2) switch to the candidate they do not prefer. That is not going to happen.

      Its not just the last two cycles that have had a challenge from the left – its every cycle. Sometimes that challenge is successful (i.e. McGovern), most often (like this year) it isn’t. The Democratic party has always had conflict between its leftist idealism and its centrist practicality. There is nothing new about what is happening this year.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 04/20/2016 - 05:03 pm.

        Pretty much agree

        It’s what most of the talking heads living in cable boxes have been saying over the weekend.

        The Sergeants at Arms for both conventions will need a large carton of ear plugs, however.

    • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 04/20/2016 - 04:59 pm.

      Paul– I don’t think many have declared the Sanders campaign “dead”– what many have noted is that his path to getting a majority of delegates was getting increasingly difficult, then unlikely, and now exceedingly unlikely. If anything, the media has kept alive the notion that there is a ultra-tight race going on– focusing on the ethereal “momentum” when the delegate math and the lead in the absolute number of voters kept steadily favoring Clinton. The math was clear after Ohio/Illinois/Florida/whatever the other states were that night– Clinton would be the nominee. I’ll confidently stake a beer and a burger on the that there will NOT be a contested democratic convention. Clinton will have a majority of elected delegates, and a corresponding majority of individual votes, and the super-delegates will have no reason to switch their support given those facts.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/21/2016 - 08:53 am.

        the Sander’s Obit has been written many many times this far

        Before the first the vote was Clinton’s nomination was declared to be inevitable. Since then every time she wins, the media re-declare that her nomination is unstoppable, that’s the same as declaring Sander’s campaign dead, or at the very least a zombie. Yet Sanders is still here, still running, and still going to the convention, and he still has a chance albeit small of wining the nomination. Even in this article Eric couldn’t help himself, he had to suggest that Sander’s might be preparing to drop out, of all the things he could have said about the Sanders campaign…

        The only headline about Sanders that ever made sense is the one you’ve never seen on any front page either in print or online in any major news source (including Minnpost) i.e.: “Despite (disadvantages, delegate count, recent loss, etc. etc. etc.) Sanders Continues Fight For The Nomination”. That’s the story, it’s always been the story. Instead we keep seeing the same headline regurgitated over and over again for months on end, like today’s NYT’s : “Sanders Path to Nomination Narrows”. Sanders never had a clear broad open path to the nomination, THAT’S not news, that’s not the story.

        As for the contested democratic convention, we’ll see. The current trend is that Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates is getting smaller. NY will help her, but I think she’ll only get something like 36 more delegates than Sanders. This trend is unlikely to change because as this moves West again Sanders gets stronger.

        • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 04/21/2016 - 01:59 pm.

          Sanders does get stronger moving west (and to some extent, midwest), but the states (and the delegates to be won) get smaller.

          And, of the remaining states, here is the breakdown (picking west of the mississippi river as a reasonable boundary):

          West (6 states; Oregon, California, Montana, New Mexico, S Dakota, N Dakota)

          East: (9 states plus DC; Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, West Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky, District of Columbia)

          Counting on a trove of delegates from some hidden backlog of western contests is not an option. Especially since the largest state (CA) looks like the states Clinton has done better in: Diverse, primary (vs. caucus), and closed primary. And she’s leading in the polls there. In this case, the data-focused sites have been pretty accurate in their reporting: Sanders continues to campaign, but the delegate count and the individual voter count continues to make a Clinton nomination the more and more likely nomination. That message has been reported, but often drowned out by the “Sanders gets momentum with series of wins” type stories.

  5. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/20/2016 - 10:53 pm.

    If voters follow th money bag candidates, they get what they…

    If 3.2 million voters could not vote because one cannot vote in the Primary in New York which demands one be a party registered voter of either party…otherwise no vote for those sans registered party affiliation…who knows what tomorrow brings?

    Sanders is our only hope to free money and power out of the voting booth and so abused in this nation’s citizens where the Clinton and Trump crowd refer to voters as “followers”…which says if either wins we are essentially a nation of followers? A great label indeed for a free society?

    Doesn’t sound like democracy to me…and this society of “followers” will take a beating at the polls as democratic choice becomes something out of the past if followers is the label so accepted in order to follow the money which is a strange way to go in a free society?

    If in November Sanders is out then why vote and become another follower. Way to go, eh?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/20/2016 - 07:09 pm.

      Primaries are run by the parties

      They are not general elections.
      Why would a party want members of another party choose its candidates?
      Those 3.2 million citizens will be able to vote in the general election.
      As to why vote, there IS a difference between the candidates of the two major parties, as some of us learned in the sixties.

      Of course, one could use this as a justification for instituting ranked choice voting and doing away with primaries altogether.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/21/2016 - 08:25 am.


      Much of Sanders’ success comes from caucus states, which are far more disenfranchising than closed primaries. Clinton would be even further ahead if those states chose their delegates in a more democratic way.

      My criticism of New York is not the closed primary – not sure why only letting Democrats pick the Democratic candidate is a problem – but the long advance time needed to change your registration. I find Sanders’ criticism here and the increasing conspiracy-based tone of his campaign to be sad and hypocritical. You lost, Bernie, don’t let your desperation destroy your reputation for honesty.

      If you live such an entitled life that electing Trump or Cruz doesn’t matter to you, congratulations. All I have to do is think of the LGBT friends of mine who can marry now (or stay married) thanks to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, and know that Trump or Cruz appointees would have voted the other way.

  6. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/20/2016 - 06:55 pm.

    Voter from “supporter” to “follower, so the campaign advances…

    It is estimated that 3.2 million New York voters never were allowed to vote in the Primary because they had no registered party affiliation?

    Follow the money:
    Note too that money makes a winner – Clinton and Trump – and more often lately the media and party associates refer to would be voters as “followers”?

    It’s the numbers game and “supporter’ defining the voter as ‘followers’ says it better I suppose?

    Somehow along the way a free and open society called democratic, lost its way and candidate credibility is not what they say they will do but how they can sell, market to the voters, now perceived as followers. Way to go,eh?

    Who can you trust be it followers or money-bagging candidates?

    If Sanders doesn’t win, for the first time in my long life on this good earth, this nation I love…I will not vote…what’s the point?

  7. Submitted by C.S. Senne on 04/21/2016 - 06:56 am.

    Not voting?

    Just because one’s revolutionary candidate doesn’t win, not voting’s probably not the positive and hopeful choice. Not voting could result in Trump. How would that work for you and your idea of democracy?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/21/2016 - 08:33 am.

      Playground logic

      Taking your ball and going home because you didn’t get your way.

      I expect some of the “Bernie or Bust” is just venting because he lost, which happens every year. A number of Clinton supporters said the same thing in 2008 – remember “Party Unity My A–” – but came around.

      But there also are people who are fortunate enough not to be negatively affected by Trump or Cruz who are too selfish to care about the people who will be

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 04/22/2016 - 08:46 am.

        Democracy Faithful

        Some voters are truly candidate faithful, not party faithful.
        That’s why we have many options, including write-in preferences.

        Partisans, for some reason, never truly seem to respect a system fundamentally based on individualism. But, admittedly, that was a very long time ago.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/22/2016 - 11:08 pm.


          For me its not party faithful, but issue faithful. Issues are far more important than who the candidates are. The whole savior/cult of personality thing with Sanders and previously with Obama is just ridiculous (although I voted for Obama because he actually had some substance) and is going to result in disappointment later.

  8. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/24/2016 - 09:41 am.

    Overseas banking to avoid taxes…another refugee, yes indeed

    {“Savior complex” ? “party faithful”?…now there is a distortion of the individual’s right to choose an idea and back it until its trampled in the dust by party faithful”?) So…here’s another idea.

    Let the restrictors be restricted in the same spirit of consistency or inconsistency hey?

    Try this one on for size for those who choose to restrict; deny others the right to live within our borders, or seek legitimate status?

    Consider the Economic Refugees of the anti-refugee movement which exists in whatever party candidate advocating it and to whatever variables included and restricting the selection of who can cross the line or who remains behind our future walls, fences be they structural or ideological…that’s another group of refugees we can’t ignore …big over seas investing millionaires, billionaires packing their money away outside our borders to avoid taxes, yes sir. Wall them in or wall them out?

    I would call them economic refugees not investing in the their nation….their present reality says they only support me-and -mine over we the people, we the nation?

    Call them by their name; just another refugee group so recognized… and let all who selectively choose who can enter, who can stay and…who can be a future citizen…do add the’ Overseas Banking Refugees’ who have denied their own security as an active citizen and add them to the list of those who deny others their right to exist?

    If you restrict some, then add the “economic refugees” to those exceptions?

    Or think of it this way Trump may be just another refugee restricting himself in the process? It’s a thought on a rainy day…” Do on to others’ somebody else once said or try the Pogo manifesto…”You are the enemy here too Trump and he is You…

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/24/2016 - 10:39 am.

    Bernie or Bust…

    Isn’t about being a child on a playground. Clinton is an uninspiring candidate who has always had extremely high levels of distrust and disfavor with the least amount of appeal outside the party. It just amazes me that so many democrats have manufactured this Hillary Bubble that’s impervious to elementary observations. The fact is if Clinton gets elected,she’ll be the most unpopular and distrusted president to ever step into the White House… and you expect people to vote for her no matter what? And Sanders is supposed to the one who doesn’t understand the “real” world?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 04/25/2016 - 11:03 am.


      Do you ever wonder why, despite Clinton’s unpopularity, the Republicans would rather face Sanders? Why they have spent millions of dollars supporting his campaign? Why they don’t attack him now?

      Its because he will get absolutely destroyed in the general election. There is just a treasure trove of material to use against him.

      I don’t support Clinton because she is more electable. I support her because she is a vastly superior candidate. I support her because Sanders doesn’t even understand the issues he talks about. I don’t like Sanders because he is extremely dishonest. He keeps getting tagged by fact-checking cites for lies about Clinton. He has lied about guns and gay marriage.

      You like your candidate. I like mine. Fair enough.

      None of that matters once the candidate is picked. The question then is whether you actually care about your candidate’s issues, or whether its just about the cult of personality. If Sanders had won, I would have sucked it up and voted for him because I care about LGBT rights, abortion rights, workers rights and any number of issues where either Sanders or Clinton would be better than a Republican. If you are so upset that Sanders lost that you don’t care about these things, I have to wonder why you supported Sanders in the first place.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/25/2016 - 12:55 pm.


        “Do you ever wonder why, despite Clinton’s unpopularity, the Republicans would rather face Sanders? Why they have spent millions of dollars supporting his campaign? Why they don’t attack him now?”

        Now you want to rely on republican political “wisdom” to select your candidate? These were the guys that thought Palin was going to be “game changer”. The case for Clinton just keeps getting weaker and weaker.

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