Last night, a glimmering white house came over the horizon for both the Republicans and the Democrats, indicating that the end of the primaries road is near. Both sets of candidates were battling it out in five north-eastern states- Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island and the results may just be what’s needed for this chaotic year of primaries to end cleanly. Let’s take a look:
The setup: Both Bernie and Hilary were battle on home soil- Vermont is slightly to the north of the night’s battleground while New York borders two of the states that were up for grabs. The night could have been Bernie’s in all fairness- 3 of the 5 states (Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island) are small middle class states with low diversity, just the sort of states he’s been winning all season. Meanwhile, the size and diversity of Pennsylvania and Maryland would make victory there more difficult for the firebrand independent. Meanwhile, Hilary was relying on her continuing momentum and general advantages to try to effectively close out Bernie. The results: It wasn’t as clean as Hilary would have liked but she got the job done. In Connecticut, she won by 5%, carving herself up the middle of the state, taking the urban votes in the counties with the most precincts, leaving Bernie to gobble up the rural scraps. Delaware was a lot more comfortable with Hilary kicking Bernie to the curb and securing a win by 30%. Speaking of 30%, that was the margin in the Maryland race as well with Hilary sweeping the state, leaving Bernie to pick up three counties out of twenty-four (and even then, he only won by 119 votes in Garrett county, 158 in Allegany county and 170 in Carroll county). Pennsylvania saw more another tight win for Hilary as she took the state with 55% to Bernie’s 43%. Hilary’s win was largely cemented by taking the urban centres such as Harrisburg and Philadelphia compared to Bernie’s rural stronghold, where voter populations are typically much smaller. Finally, in Rhode Island, Hilary was denied a perfect run as Bernie comfortably took the second smallest prize of the night. The impact: Hilary’s prize of 194 pushed her over the 2000 delegate mark and within touching distance of the nomination. She stands at 2141, only 242 away from the nomination. Her 519 superdelegates certainly help but at this point, it’s hard to deny that she is the favoured candidate. Meanwhile, Bernie vows to fight until DC on June 14th but the dream is over. There are 11 states to go and sure, while he will mostly like win some of them, he would have to pull off the greatest upset in political history to secure the nomination, or at the very least, secure a contested convention. However, his commitment to the cause while certainly remind Hilary she hasn’t won yet as the campaign trails moves to Indiana for its May 3rd primary. Even if Hilary somehow took every delegate in each upcoming primary, she wouldn’t secure the nomination until June 4th, after the Virgin Islands closed caucus. The end of the Democratic race with certainly be an inch by inch crawl, not a sprint finish.
Insight- The Bernie Effect: When Hilary Clinton announced her bid for the Presidency on April 12th 2015, she was undeniably confident- she had been waiting for a solid shot at the White House since the 90s. She had come close in 2008, only to be denied by Obama. Her confidence only grew as nationally unknown candidates Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chaffee came out as her opposition- 2o16 was her year. But something happened- Bernie Sanders, her only rival once primary season got fully underway, actually proved to be formidable opponent. Sure, he wasn’t threatening her position as front-runner but he was certainly a force to be reckoned with. He was winning the youth vote and he appealed to the rural, working class Americans. He was taking the demographics she would need to stop the Republicans reclaiming the White House. Hilary better be careful how she proceeds after securing the nomination as snubbing Bernie or his supporters might just cost her the White House.
The setup: After a week of turmoil, with Cruz and Kasich teaming up like the worst dynamic duo (“Lookout America! It’s TPT and his sidekick Ohio ‘Moderate’!”) in America, it came to the north-eastern block, which Trump was heavily favoured to win. The results: Trump did not drop a single county over the course of the night. He won by 29% in Connecticut, 40% in Delaware, 31% in Maryland, 35% in Pennsylvania and 39% in Rhode Island, putting him on 950 delegates. If Trump were to win every delegate from here on out, the nomination would be his on the last day on the Republican primary schedule. And with many of the remaining states delegating their delegates via a winner takes all system, Trump could still be the outright nominee. However, this would be that he has to win every state from now on. Kasich has backed off Indiana, a winner takes all state, in accordance with the deal he struck with Cruz, meaning that Cruz could deny Trump 57 delegates there. 57 delegates isn’t too bad, Trump could make up for that (with a 6 delegate loss) by winning allied state New Jersey’s winner takes all on June 7th. In return, Cruz has backed off in New Mexico and Oregon, a total of 52 delegates. However, both states do delegate proportionally but this bad news for Trump given Kasich came second in 4 of 5 primaries held last night. Oregon delegates to every candidates with at least 3.75% of the vote while New Mexico stands with the more traditional 15%. Still, that’s 52 delegates Trump can’t just win snatch up. Much like the Democratic race, the Republican primary season is going to come down to the wire.