WTF Happened in the New York Primary, Explained
In a 2016 campaign full of unpredictable twists, perhaps most surprising is that “New York values” are in line with the bulk of the nation’s.
The pivotal Empire State primary — odd to write those words — has reversed the momentum of both parties’ underdogs, and given frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton a formidable helping of convention delegates.
Clinton has been validated by the voters of her adopted home state, who slammed the door on the comeback dreams of Brooklynite Bernie Sanders.
Trump, the native son, may ultimately thank New York for helping him close the biggest deal of his life — and a chance at securing the GOP nomination without a convention fight in Cleveland.
Here’s what you need to know.
How did Trump do it?
There are sub-plots, but we don’t need to dwell on them. Trump took more than 60 percent of the vote. He won nearly every demographic running away, scoring yuuuuge with those with a high school degree or less (69 percent) but also taking New Yorkers with postgraduate degrees (51 percent). Different from elections in red and even purple states, Trump’s support didn’t falter with far-right voters — or at least with those who pass as far-right voters in New York. Trump won self-described “very-conservative” New York Republicans by a margin of 62-27 over Ted Cruz.
What happened to Cruz?
To borrow a line from Dennis Miller when he used to be funny, Cruz got stomped like a narc at a biker rally. The mainstream GOP consolidation behind the senator that appeared to be taking shape after the Wisconsin primary came undone. The New York #NeverTrump bloc preferred former Lehman Brothers banker John Kasich, 25 to 15 percent, over the Texan who mocked their state’s values.
New York’s winner-take-nearly-all apportionment gives only second-place finishers in each congressional district a shot at picking up delegates. Cruz was shut out on the night. He lost so badly that Trump didn’t even feel the need to call him “Lyin’ Ted” in his victory speech, adopting a more civil tone to inform supporters that “Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated.”
Does this mark a Kasich resurgence?
Kasich won bragging rights, defeating Trump in his home borough of Manhattan. But delegate-wise, not so much: Kasich scored only a handful of delegates — five of New York’s 95 — with one still to be determined.
But we’re still on for a contested convention in July, right?
Chaos in Cleveland remains a likely outcome. But after hauling in nearly 90 delegates, Trump has a clearer shot at securing the critical 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright.
As Twitter’s go-to delegate counter @Taniel put it: “For Trump to get 1237, everything needed to go well in NY, PA, MD, DE, CT, WV, IN, NJ, CA. He checks off NY—& looks strong in next 4.”