Has Hillary Extinguished the Bern Once and for All? Big Wins Tuesday Night All But Cement Nominations for Clinton and Trump

Is the GOP race really "over," as Donald Trump says it is?

Photo: Getty (2)

Tuesday night’s critical primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island cemented the already wide leads of front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Although Bernie Sanders put up a good campaign fight – drawing thousands of supporters to his rallies and outspending Clinton on TV and radio ads in all five states, according to Politico – he lost four of the five primaries to the former secretary of state, who enjoys an abundance of institutional support in the Northeastern states.

The only state Sanders managed to win was Rhode Island, which was also the only one of the five primaries that was not closed (meaning only voters registered for a certain party could cast their ballots in that party’s primary). Going into the Acela Primary, Clinton had won every closed-primary state thus far and she continued her streak on Tuesday night.

Even if you’re doing “Bernie Math” things are not looking good for the Vermont senator. After Tuesday’s crushing losses, Sanders trails Clinton by more than 200 pledged delegates and hundreds more super-delegates, making it virtually impossible for him to win the nomination.

Nevertheless, the Democratic socialist does not seem ready to throw in the towel. In his concession speech Tuesday night in West Virginia, he made a direct pitch to influential party regulars called “supers” that he would be more likely than Clinton to beat Trump in November.

Politico‘s Glenn Thrush writes that although the supers are “highly unlikely to buy his argument,” “none of this matters” anyway. “His play now is for leverage on the issues he cares most about – campaign finance reform and income inequality – and he needs to decide whether he’ll go rogue (as the Sarandon-Robbins wing of his base wants) or do what he’s always done in the Senate: Accept his fate as an influential but not-dominant force in the Democratic party, swallow hard, and join the fold.”

Meanwhile, Trump earned the overwhelming majority of the 172 delegates at stake Tuesday night, and his Trump’s five-state sweep goes a long way toward helping him secure the nomination outright and avoid a contested convention this summer.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely,” Trump said in his victory speech Tuesday night, adding that his two remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, should immediately drop out of the race.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” he said.

He’s not entirely right. Yes, Cruz and Kasich are both mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination outright, but they could still succeed in their plot to stop Trump from winning a first-ballot victory.

If Trump wins the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination, there’s almost no stopping him. As Vox points out, “Even if Trump wins a majority of delegates in the primaries – ‘binding’ them all to vote for him – the delegates at the convention could simply vote to change the rules to ‘unbind’ themselves, so they could then vote however they want.”

Either way, Trump’s campaign is still in “deep, deep trouble,” according to Politico.

Two-thirds of voters disapprove of the billionaire businessman, and polls consistently show Clinton would beat Trump – often by double digits – in the general election, according to Real Clear Politics.

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