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.