It’s been a busy week! Trump swept all five primary states on Tuesday. Ted Cruz made a Hail Mary VP selection in Carly Fiorina, and Bernie Sanders claimed he still had a pathway to the Democratic nomination. How appropriate that the week ended in a night of jokes at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
“Guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish, but instead, a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan,” President Obama told the WHCD audience. “That’s not an option, people. Steak or fish. You may not like steak or fish, but that’s your choice.”
Salt in the wound for the GOP establishment, which had one hell of a bad week.
Dominating his competition, Trump’s five-state primary sweep on Tuesday would have made Cobra Kai proud.
“When the boxer knocks out the other boxer, you don’t have to wait around for a decision,” Trump told his supporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s over.”
The Home Alone 2 actor won each state in landslide victories against his opponents.
Trump now has 956 delegates, needing only 281 more to win the nomination. Trump is the only GOP candidate who can still clinch the magic number of 1,237 delegates. It is mathematically impossible for either John Kasich or Ted Cruz to do so at this point.
Two days before Trump’s sweep, the Cruz and Kasich campaigns announced they were joining forces to block the frontrunner’s road to the nomination.
“Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee,” Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, released in a statement last Monday.
The plan calls for Cruz to campaign in Indiana (May 3rd), while Kasich tackles Oregon (May 17th) and New Mexico (June 7th).
But it didn’t take long to learn that Cruz doesn’t have a lot of faith in activating Wonder Twin powers with the Ohio governor.
Skipping the whole “presumptive nominee” bullshit, Cruz introduced former candidate Carly Fiorina as his VP running mate at a campaign stop on Wednesday.
On the same day, Kasich seemed to abandon the Cruz alliance altogether when discussing Indiana’s primary voters:
“I’ve never told them who to vote for,” Kasich told reporters. “They ought to vote for me.”
That worked out about as well as expected.
Cruz’s choice of Fiorina is clearly a desperate ploy to stop Trump. Although not the weakest selection of the former Republican candidates (hello, Jim Gilmore!), you have to wonder if Marco Rubio simply wasn’t returning Cruz’s phone calls on Tuesday.
The Florida Senator dropped out of the race on March 15th and still has more delegates than John Kasich.
While Trump clears his pathway to the nomination, Hillary Clinton was paving hers with concrete.
Bernie Sanders was the victim of a Camp Crystal Lake worthy-slaughter two weeks ago during the New York primary. Last Tuesday, the Vermont Senator lost four of five states to Clinton. Among the losses was Pennsylvania, which held the largest number of pledged delegates at 189.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver claimed “internal polls” showed the campaign was “doing very well” in Pennsylvania after the New York loss… even though every poll showed Sanders trailing Clinton by double digits.
I imagine Weaver is just typing “BOOBIES” into an upside down calculator while quietly chuckling to himself before telling Bernie which states “look good.”
Currently, Clinton has a lead of nearly 300 delegates over Sanders.
Realistically, it’s over for Sanders. Although it was a closed primary, New York showed Sanders did not change the dynamic of the primary race with minority voters.
While Sanders won the majority of New York’s white men at 57%, Clinton won the votes of:
- 67%of black men
- 79% of black women
- 67% of Latino women
- 75% of overall black
- 64% of overall Latino
- 63% of overall women
These numbers foreshadowed the disaster awaiting Sanders last Tuesday.
However, this hasn’t stopped Weaver or Sanders himself from claiming there is still a pathway to the nomination:
“Let’s make this clear, so there is no confusion: We are in this campaign to win, and become the Democratic nominee,” Sanders told supporters at Purdue University the day after his four state loss.
Contrary to Sanders’ optimism, the campaign had just about as bad a week as the GOP establishment.
The campaign announced 225 staffer layoffs in the wake of Tuesday’s primary losses. On Sunday, it was announced the Sanders’ campaign raised $25.8 million in April. That number is down by over 40% from March’s total of $46 million.
As the fire begins to flicker out of the Sanders campaign, Sanders could take a page from the Cruz playbook and announce Lincoln Chafee as a VP running mate and hope for the best.
As Bernie remains in the race over the coming weeks, what we can expect with certainty is that the Bernie or Bust crowd will become a louder presence on social media.
A recent McClatchy-Marist poll showed 25% of Sanders supporters would not support Hillary.
Come on Bernie or Bust, threatening to withhold your vote if you don’t get your way is not something Bernie Sanders would do. That’s a standard Ted Cruz tactic.
Bernie or Bust is nothing new to politics. In 2008, a March poll showed 28% of Hillary supporters would vote for John McCain over Obama.
Sanders has made it clear he wouldn’t risk the presidency going to a GOP candidate by running as an independent. After Clinton wins the nomination in pledged delegates, we’ll begin seeing the party unify just as it did in 2008.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting again that much of Sanders’ platform is shared by frontrunner Hillary Clinton:
- Nominate Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizens United and vowed to support passing a Constitutional amendment to keep big money out of elections.
- Support a federal minimum wage increase. Although Sanders favors $15, Clinton supports $12 (based on the work of people like Alan Krueger, former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors). However, Clinton does support state efforts to further increase the minimum wage.
- Vowed to close the gender pay gap and sign into law the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Will protect federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
- Support 12 paid weeks of family leave for American workers.
- Have a plan to invest in clean energy and end subsidies for the oil and gas industry.
Contrary to what Sanders has been saying on the campaign trail, Clinton has not accepted money from the fossil fuel industry. It’s a violation of federal campaign finance laws to accept money from any industry. Clinton has accepted funds from individuals who are employed by the industry… and Sanders has done the exact same thing.
As of this typing, Sanders has accepted $79,686 in contributions from individuals employed by the oil & gas industry.
To not vote as the Bernie or Bust group claims it’s prepared to do, is to abandon the policies for which Sanders fights on a daily basis… and worse.
Under a Trump (or Cruz) presidency, we’ll lose not only the progress we’ve made under the Obama administration, but also the Supreme Court for a generation.
In the time it took the Republican Party to take a Donald Trump candidacy seriously, he became their presidential frontrunner. After a potential win in Indiana this Tuesday, he’ll likely be their candidate.
If liberals and progressives make the same mistake, he’ll become our president.