Donald Trump has declared himself, after following up his New York win April 19 with victories in five other Northeastern states Tuesday, the “presumptive nominee” of the Republican Party. Is it a done deal?
Not quite. Trump’s 40% of total primary votes so far have yielded him 48% of pledged delegates — not exactly the unfair system he’s been decrying. He must win about 56% of those yet to be chosen to get to the 1,237 majority necessary for the nomination.
There are signs in the Northeastern primary results that he may get there. For the first time, he significantly outperformed his poll showings. For the first time, he got more than 50% of the vote (he came closest earlier in Massachusetts, with 49%).
But turnout in these primaries hovered around just 10% of eligible voters, lower than in any other state but Louisiana. That’s partly because registered Republicans are scarce on the ground in the Northeast: 37% of registered voters in Pennsylvania, between 21% and 29% in the other closed primary states. Not coincidentally, none except Pennsylvania has come close to voting for a Republican presidential nominee in recent years.
The Northeastern results are the latest example of a phenomenon seen throughout this Republican race: Voters in one state are not much moved by the choices of voters in an earlier contest.
Donald Trump won in New Hampshire after losing in Iowa. Marco Rubio came in second in South Carolina after stumbling to fifth in New Hampshire. Trump won four of five big states on March 15 but got beat by Ted Cruz in Wisconsin April 5 — after which, Cruz finished third in five of six states in the Northeast.
This reminds me of the 1980 Democratic race between Edward Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. Just when Carter seemed to have things wrapped up, Kennedy would get a big win. Then Carter would come back.Read the rest of Michael Barone's op-ed HERE.
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