In the night’s most unsurprising finish, Donald Trump cleaned up in New York, clocking both Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The Smartest, Toughest People In The World™ voted overwhelmingly for a loudmouth braggart liar con man who whines about how mean Ted Cruz is to New Yorkers for suggesting they are leftists who vote for loudmouth braggart liar con men.
Naturally, the media declared the Republican nomination race over.
Here are five lessons going forward.
No, Trump Won’t Win States Like New York Over Hillary. Trump has been bragging about his massive turnout, and how he will turn blue states red. It isn’t going to happen in New York. Hillary is more than doubling his vote output in New York State, even as Trump wins upward of 60 percent of the vote. No wonder, as Nate Silver reports, “Clinton’s chances of becoming the next president are now 71.4 percent, according to Betfair, the highest she’s been at any point of the election cycle.” Trump’s now going to make the same case in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He’ll likely lose both in a general election.
Trump Does Have Momentum. Trump will end up winning virtually all of the New York delegates, significantly upward of 90, and consolidating his hold on states like Pennsylvania and Delaware coming out of tonight. Trump’s about to head into some very favorable states; he outperformed expectations tonight. He spent his night showing more discipline than he has since his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; he stuck to jobs and whining.
Whining Is An Actual Strategy. Trump used his campaign speech tonight to reiterate that he should be handed the nomination even if he finishes short of the majority of delegates. “We’ve won close to 300 more delegates than Senator Cruz,” Trump stated. “It’s really nice to win the delegates with the votes. It’s really nice.” He added, “It’s a crooked system, the system is rigged.” The goal here is twofold: to drive out his supporters to make the delegate system irrelevant, and to tacitly threaten fireworks at the Republican National Convention if he isn’t handed the nomination. So far, both strategies seem to be working – an inordinate number of anti-Trump Republican seem to be making their peace with Trump as the nominee.
John Kasich Must Go If Trump Is To Be Stopped. Ted Cruz did well in Borough Park, South Williamsburg, and Crown Heights. John Kasich did well in Manhattan. They’ll win hardly any delegates. That pattern will hold true in states ranging from Indiana to California, where a split vote guarantees major Trump victories. Kasich’s presence in the race has now become an extension of the quixotic candidacies of Ben Carson and Marco Rubio and Jeb! Bush – he’s depriving Cruz of a one-on-one shot to stop Trump short.
The System Is Rigged. Trump lies to say that the system is rigged. The real rigged system is the one that gives 95 delegates to New York, which hasn’t voted Republican since 1984, and 155 delegates to Texas, which hasn’t voted Democratic since 1976 – and New York is essentially winner-takes-all, while Texas is proportional representation, plus Texas had 2.7 million voters, while New York had significantly less than 700,000 votes total. The system is rigged for outsized impact in blue states that will not be up for grabs in November.
Nonetheless, the Trump campaign has to feel back on track, particularly with the hiring of new campaign strategists to help gather delegates. We’ll see if, as Cruz asked, Trump can run a lemonade stand.