The Real Election Is About to Begin
After this week’s primary contests, it is safe to presume the 2016 election is now between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both frontrunners had an excellent night on Tuesday.
Clinton won four of the five states that voted, crushing Sen. Bernie Sanders at a time when he really needed to win. The avowed Socialist was attempting a late-stage comeback for the Democratic nomination.
He only managed to win Rhode Island.
By contrast, Clinton swept Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, and Delaware. She won most of the available delegates, putting her lead (almost) out of his reach. Only a miracle could save Sanders now.
He needs more than 80% of the remaining delegates to even stand a chance. And even then, Sanders would still need to convince “super delegates” to abandon Hillary. (Source: “3 winners and 2 losers from Super Trumpsday,” Vox, April 26, 2016.)
These “super delegates” are important because they can switch sides at any point before the convention. Most of them are part of the Democratic Party establishment, so it’s no surprise they support Clinton. She is the establishment.
All told, it looks like Hillary Clinton has this primary election wrapped up. She pivoted towards the general election in her victory speech.
“With your help we’re going to come back to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention with the most votes, and the most pledged delegates,” she said. “We will unify our party to win this election, and build an America where we can all rise together.” (Source: “Hillary Clinton Victory Speech 4-26-2016,” NBC News, April 26, 2016.)
Clinton also made sure to compliment Bernie Sanders in her remarks. A third-party run by the Vermont-native would bleed votes from the Democratic side, leading to a GOP victory in November.
“I applaud Senator Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality,” she said. “And I know together we will get that done.” (Source: Ibid.)
Bernie Sanders seems to understand that his path to the nomination is virtually impossible. Although it may disappoint some of his supporters, he seems ready to lower his ambitions. His concession speech from Tuesday was telling.
“I look forward to issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come,” he said. “That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform.” (Source: “Sanders Statement on Primary Elections,” Bernie Sanders campaign web site, April 26, 2016.)
Sanders is no longer talking about winning. His talk of “influencing the debate” is a tacit admission of failure. He is saying he won’t be the nominee.
At this point, all Hillary has to do is drop a few conciliatory lines to calm down the Sanders people. And that’s exactly what she did.
“Whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there’s much more that unites us than divides us,” Clinton said, pointing to the Democrats’ agreement that “wages are too low, and inequality is too high, that Wall Street can never again be allowed to threaten Main Street, and we should expand Social Security.”
Ladies and gentlemen, the general election has begun.