By Amrit Singh
The fourth Super Tuesday took over what the media likes to call the "Acela Corridor," named after the train which services the Northeastern region at play last night (April 26): Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island all held primary contests, with a big takeaway: It's looking like it's Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's world. Donald won all five contests (and by yuuge margins), while Hillary took four of the five, adding to her pledged delegate and popular vote lead over Bernie. That doesn't mean the Cruz, Kasich and Sanders campaings are going anywhere anytime soon necessarily. But it does mean we probably know who will be facing-off in November, and that we can expect them to start punching across party lines more, while the rest of the field will be under increased stress to drop out of the race, or constantly justify their presence. The fourth Super Tuesday was a consequential one. With 10 states left to vote in this primary season, here's where we are coming out of yesterday's contests:
HILLARY WON BIG, BUT NOT AS BIG AS SHE WOULD HAVE LIKED
Look, there's no denying it: By winning the delegate feasts of Pennsylvania and Maryland, in addition to Delaware and Connecticut, Hillary was last night's big winner, and established that she's pulling away with this contest. But, she would have loved to win Rhode Island, too. By leaving R.I. on the table, she left Bernie a lifeline, and an argument to continue: He's still taking states, and winning delegates, and that dovetails into the new rationale Bernie offered after his rough night last night.
BERNIE'S NEW RATIONALE: WE WANT DELEGATES SO WE CAN IMPACT THE PARTY PLATFORM
In a statement last night, Bernie put a new spin on his continued quest to take his campaign all the way through the California primary and into the convention: Bernie wants to acquire as many delegates as he can in order to have as large an impact on the party platform as possible for his key issues: A national $15 minimum wage, ending "disastrous" trade policies, and breaking up the big banks. And if you're reading between the lines, this is the first time Bernie's acknowledged, if even only implicitly, that he won't be the nominee at the DNC in Philadelphia this July.
DON’T EXPECT HILLARY TO ASK BERNIE TO BOW OUT
Despite the implicit concession and the tough math facing Bernie, he's clearly in it to the end. And Clinton may want Bernie to exit the race, but Hillary won't ask Bernie to drop out. Not outright, anyway. (Implicit and surrogate political pressures are their own sort of shadowy beast.) Why won't Hillary call for Bernie to quit? Because back in 2008, it was Hillary in his position, trailing then Senator Obama. And she kept running. As Hillary knows first-hand, when you have a passionate constituency egging you on, and a head full of steam and conviction, it's difficult to pull over. It's less about "can I win," and more about "have I done all that I could?" And if you know Bernie, you know his answer.
TRUMP'S POSTING BIGGER NUMBERS THAN EVER
It’s not just that Donald is the undisputed frontrunner. It's that he's coalescing the Republican party behind him in ways few people expected. Donald won 59 percent of the vote, beating his closest opponent by an average of 35 percent. These are huge numbers, unprecedented for Donald, offering not just a dominant display of his being the guy to beat, but also a reminder that we still don't know exactly where the ceiling is to his appeal. (Watch his pitch to young Black voters in an interview with our own Lawrence Jackson, here.)
TED CRUZ IS NOW MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED FROM CLINCHING THE NOMINATION WITHOUT A CONTESTED CONVENTION
After Trump's huge popular and delegate wins, Cruz is without a path to 1,237 before the RNC in Cleveland. (He's always been an improbability, but now the math is impossible.) So, it's official: Cruz can only secure the GOP nomination through a contested convention—and the only way he can do that is by stopping Trump from getting 1,237 delegates before the convention. This explains Cruz's interest in conspiring (or as Trump says, "colluding") with Kasich to "stop Trump" by coordinating their campaign efforts—giving even more fuel to Trump's popular complaint that the system is "dirty" and "rigged." In any event, as it stands, that whole "Stop Trump" movement isn't exactly working out.
THE STOP-TRUMP MOVEMENT IS NOT EXACTLY WORKING
Like I just said. The #NeverTrump coalition and Super PAC (headed by Katie Packer), which exists with the primary purpose of blocking Donald from getting the nomination by any means necessary is not exactly inspiring the people. Cruz was largely shut out, Kasich still has only one primary victory, and exit polls suggested a full 70 percent-plus of people said they used their vote to support a candidate, rather than to block another. The political wisdom on this one goes like this: It's easier to inspire people to be FOR something, than to be AGAINST an idea. When Mitt Romney made his speech and said, basically, "anyone but Trump," he experienced the same backlash. And now, Trump is sitting pretty.
FOR TRUMP, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO INDIANA
Indiana votes on May 3rd. The state is worth 57 delegates. Trump can't mathematically clinch the nomination by winning there, per se, but if he loses there, he might be in trouble: Despite Trump's big win at the polls last night, his surest way to the nomination is to secure that 1,237, and Indiana is key to that math. Without 1,237, we're looking at a contested convention, a scenario for which he is ultimately ill-prepared and ill-situated to win. This means all eyes are on Indiana in a major way—and the Stop Trump vs. Pro-Trump spending in the state is about to get fierce. This is prime popcorn material, and it just so happens, popcorn is good for the Indiana economy. Everybody wins!
@FactsOnly is a weekly column on the presidential election written by REVOLT 2 Vote Chief Political Correspondent Amrit Singh. Last week we took on the New York Primary. For more on the election, join the conversation using #REVOLT2Vote, follow the author on Twitter and Instagram, or @FactsOnly on Twitter and Instagram, too.