2016 RACE ROUNDUP: Trump, Clinton Pummel Opponents Along I-95 Corridor

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 27, 2016 2:57 PM
2016 RACE ROUNDUP: Trump, Clinton Pummel Opponents Along I-95 Corridor

FURY ROAD: Billionaire Donald Trump steamrolled his competition along the I-95 corridor last night, and Hillary Clinton pretty much sealed the deal for the Democratic nomination. Trump was expected to do well in the Northeast, where he was leading by double-digits in every contest held last night. Clinton won all, but Rhode Island—though her delegate count is now an insurmountable obstacle for Sen. Bernie Sanders to overcome. Yet, his insurgent campaign has done better than any could have projected. The question is whether Trump will be able to reach the magic number of 1,237 before the Republican Party’s convention.

Guy had a great Tuesday night preview on the Acela Corridor showdown:

Trump’s Tremendous Strength…In Weakness: To be fair, there is a paradoxical element to the Democrats as well. Sanders may have tons of money, momentum, and enthusiasm, but he’s hundreds of delegates behind Clinton, along with a deficit of a million vote-plus voters. With Trump, he will be one of the weakest frontrunners in modern political history. His favorable/unfavorable ratings are a total disaster, but he’s surpassed Romney’s primary vote total from 2012, and he could even eclipse George W. Bush’s current record of 10.8 million votes. Oh, and the New York Times’ Nate Silver says that Trump is theoretically two states away from victory:

By sweeping five states on Tuesday, he pulled only a few hundred Republican delegates short of the 1,237 he needs to win without a contested convention.

He has long been favored in the polls in two of the remaining primary states, New Jersey and West Virginia. That leaves Indiana and California as the crucial prizes that would put Mr. Trump over the top — and while he was once thought to be vulnerable in both states, polls have shown him with a modest lead.

Mr. Trump is by no means assured of holding his advantage, but it explains why his beleaguered rivals are now urgently coordinating to stop him in places where they believe they can beat him.

One big reason Mr. Trump’s math looks so good is something he has complained mightily about: party rules. In fact, the delegate rules (mostly favoring the winner, as opposed to proportional allocation) worked in his favor on Tuesday, and those rules allowed him to amass nearly half of the pledged delegates heading into the night, despite 38 percent support in the popular vote before Tuesday.

Mr. Trump won at least 105 of the 118 pledged delegates Tuesday, with the potential to win even more if the final count broke his way.

All Eyes On The Hoosier State: Like Florida was with Rubio, Indiana may be the place where the Cruz camp had to mount a last stand against Trump, according to National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar. He noted that he doesn’t need a blowout to stop Trump; a “razor-thin” margin of victory is more than enough, forcing the billionaire real estate magnate to hustle in order to sweep most of California’s 172 delegates, which radio host Hugh Hewitt has said is an unlikely scenario. In short, if Trump doesn’t do well in Indiana, contested convention seems pretty much assured. Hence, why Trump is pouring cash into the state to end the Texas senator’s presidential campaign. Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard noted that Cruz has essentially collapsed, which prompted the shaky Cruz-Kasich alliance, though should Trump should emerge victorious in Indiana–it’s pretty much over for both Cruz and Kasich. That sense of desperation isn’t helped with the rumor mill spinning that Carly Fiorina will be announced as Cruz’s running mate in about an hour.

At any rate, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight says it’s Trump’s nomination to lose at this point.

UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) endorses Ted Cruz.

Delegate Count:

The Indiana primary is on May 3. 

UPDATE II: Donald Trump takes majority of PA’s unsecured delegates (via ABC News):

Donald Trump has won a vast majority of the unbound delegate count in the state of Pennsylvania, according to an ABC News analysis. Of the 54 available free-agent delegates in the state, 39 of them told ABC News they will support Trump on the first ballot of the Republican convention.

Twenty-three said they will support the Republican front-runner, while 16 additional delegates -- who said they would vote for the winner of their congressional district on the first ballot -- will also back Trump.