New York primary results

The result of the New York primary is not good news for the Bernie Sanders campaign. While he was expected to lose, the almost 16-point margin of defeat (57.9%-42.1%) is large enough that it has to be seen as a major setback and a downer after his recent string of successes, even though he still picked up 106 delegates to Hillary Clinton’s 139. He will have to do much better in the five primaries next Tuesday (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island).

On the Republican side, Donald Trump’s margin was y-u-u-g-e, 60.4% as opposed to John Kasich who finished a distant second with 25.1% and Ted Cruz who got merely 14.5%. Trump pretty much won all the delegates and now has 845 of the 1,237 needed to win on the first ballot of the convention. He needs 392 of the remaining 674 delegates or 58%. There will be 172 delegates awarded next Tuesday.

This result has to be bad news for Cruz. It is true that New York is Trump’s home state but coming in third behind Kasich is what will hurt him. Kasich, of course, treats second place finishes as big victories. Cruz now needs 678 delegates to win on the first ballot, an impossibility. So his only hope is for Trump not to win on the first ballot and for the delegates of the other candidates (Kasich and those who have dropped out) and even Trump delegates to switch to him. This is a long shot.

It is looking increasingly, and depressingly, like a Trump vs. Clinton election in November.


  1. screechymonkey says

    Cruz now needs 678 delegates to win on the first ballot, an impossibility. So his only hope is for Trump not to win on the first ballot and for the delegates of the other candidates (Kasich and those who have dropped out) and even Trump delegates to switch to him. This is a long shot.

    I wouldn’t say a long shot. If Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, he probably doesn’t win at all, and unless a #NeverCruz movement can quickly coalesce around a third option — and that one I’d say is a longshot --Cruz is well-positioned to win on the second or subsequent ballot.

    What you’re calling “Trump delegates” are not necessarily Trump supporters. They’re just party members, usually long-time party loyalists and/or county and state party officials. You know, “establishment” types that Trump has been railing against. They get selected to go to the national convention in pretty much the same way that most of them probably went to the last convention, and the one before that…. In most states, they are “assigned” to a candidate and told that under state party rules, they are required to vote for that candidate on the first ballot. (Some states bind them on later ballots as well; Pennsylvania doesn’t bind them at all — the vote that is about to take place there is purely advisory for the GOP delegates.) But they aren’t necessarily Trump supporters, and in fact by and large they aren’t according to the reports I’ve read. Partly because Trump isn’t as popular among the party regulars who typically get selected as delegates, and partly because Trump’s campaign has done a lousy job of recruiting his true believers to run for and obtain delegate positions. Also, a lot of the party activists are very concerned about what a Trump nomination would do to the party, both in down-ballot races this year (they don’t want to lose Congress again) and for the future (they don’t want the GOP being branded, more than it already is, as the party of racist reactionaries).

    So after the first ballot, most delegates are legally free to vote for whoever they want. Some may be genuine Trump supporters. Others may feel morally bound to follow the primary results of their state even if they’re no longer technically required to. But a lot of them will vote their own personal preference, and all signs are that Trump is going to suffer much more “delegate leakage” than the other candidates.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I wonder if there’s anybody more politically savvy than I who can answer this question:

    What exactly does it mean when a delegate is “pledged” to vote for a particular candidate? Do they actually have to make a pledge before they’re allowed in? What are the penalties if they don’t vote the way they’re supposed to? It’s not like anyone is holding a gun to their heads, and there’s no LEGAL way to compel them to vote in a particular way. If they’re supposed to vote for Trump, and they refuse, would they be replaced by alternates, or what? And how long would that take?

    I can see this a s a scenario if Trump is very close to the cutoff — just a few dozen votes in either direction. A block of delegates might easily decide that it’s worth it to break their pledges just to see what would happen.

  3. screechymonkey says

    “Pledged” delegates is usually just the phrase used to distinguish the delegates assigned to a candidate from those delegates (what the Democrats call “superdelegates”) who aren’t assigned but may have declared a personal preference.

    I don’t believe there’s any kind of actual pledge involved. It’s simply a matter of “I’m a GOP delegate from Florida, which was a winner-take-all state won by Trump, so the party rules say I have to vote for Trump on the first ballot.”

    As to what happens if a delegate breaks that rule and votes for someone he or she isn’t “supposed” to: nobody knows. I’ve read several articles asking that question and concluding that not even the experts know for sure. I’m not even sure if the voting is done in a way that would allow anyone to identify which delegates voted which way.

    Here’s another wrinkle for you: pretty much all of the rules for the convention and the nomination can be changed AT THE CONVENTION. The one that gets talked about a lot is Rule 40 for the Republicans, which specifies who can be nominated. There used to be no such rule, then in the 60s I think they required that a candidate have won at least three states in caucuses or primaries, and somewhere along the line it got increased. In 2012, the Ron Paul folks had gotten a lot of their own activists selected as delegates and were threatening to contest the convention, so Romney’s team got the RNC to amend the rule again so you need 8 (I think) states to be nominated, i.e. enough to exclude Paul. There’s been talk about how that Rule — which remains the default rule for 2016 for now — would seem to preclude any “white knight” scenario at the convention, but of course it can be amended just like it was in 2012.

    Anyway, my point is this: either the rules committee, or the convention as a whole, could pass a rule that “unbinds” the delegates and frees them all to vote for whoever they want even on the first ballot. Ted Kennedy tried this in 1980.

    For that matter, a few weeks ago I saw Ben Ginsburg, a veteran GOP lawyer and party insider, note that even the rule that requires a presidential candidate to get a majority could be changed, either to a simply plurality (which Trump would love), or to some sort of supermajority (which he would hate). That’s pretty unlikely, but the point is that there’s a lot of weapons that the party can employ if they can get a consensus to do so and they’re willing to risk alienating Trump voters.

  4. Holms says

    Jesus, what a choice. An emgomaniac whose political stances are whatever he had on his mind for the last day, or a business as usual missed opportunity whose social policies are determined by the last poll.

  5. stevendorst says

    I’m an ardent Bernie supporter, but I’m also a keen watcher of electoral integrity issues. Combining both, I never expected to see less than a 15 point margin for Hillary over Bernie in New York!


    Because the Democratic primary in New York is a closed primary. No “No Party Preference” people, nor people registered in any other party (can you say “Working Family”?) were able to vote for Bernie in the Democratic primary. And for those WFP people who say they DID vote for Bernie -- Yes, you did, in the WFP primary -- which has precisely ZERO effect on the Democratic primary results.

    And bear in mind that, in order to vote in NY as a Democrat, you had to have registered AS a Democratic LAST YEAR (I always forget if the deadline was October or November.) So the only proper people to poll in NY were people who registered -- as Democrats -- before the deadline. So far as I know, NONE of the polling firms did a competent job of making sure that the people they polled were in fact qualified to vote in the Democratic primary. Thus, the polls counted unknowable numbers of people who WANTED to vote for Bernie -- but couldn’t!

    For this reason, I don’t see NY as the catastrophe for Bernie that the MSM is painting it to be.

  6. screechymonkey says


    NY was bad for Bernie not because of whether or not he beat the expectations of the polls. NY was bad for Bernie because he just fell behind by another 33 delegates. Those 33 delegates just wiped out his gains in those seven straight contests that the Sanders campaign has been bragging about.

    Bernie is running out of states and time. He’s not going to catch Hilary by “moral victories.” He needs to start racking up some yuuuuuge victories by yuuuuuge margins in yuuuuge states like CA, PA, and NJ. And you’d better hope that this time the polls are overstating Hilary’s support in those states, because he’s way off the pace he needs.

    It’s basically over at this point. If this were an NFL game, Bernie would be down by 30 points in the 4th quarter, and you’re consoling yourself that he just held Hilary to a field goal on her last possession.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    If Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, he probably doesn’t win at all

    Trump has spent a long time and a lot of energy setting up in people’s minds the idea that politics is crooked and that he’s the outsider candidate who The Man is trying to stop. All of it is calculated. All of it is aimed at making it impossible for the Republicans to stop him without looking like massive, bare-faced criminals. He doesn’t need the 1237, he just needs a commanding majority -- the sort of majority he already has -- and any attempt by the GOP to nominate anyone else will look like (and be) a stitch-up… which is exactly what Trump is railing against.

    And he will, with some integrity, be able to run as an independent, despite having pledged not to, on the basis that the GOP extracted the pledge under false pretences.

    If he runs as an independent, he won’t win -- but he will split the Republican vote sufficiently that the Democrats could nominate Kim Jong Un and still win (I’ve seen various tinfoilhatters suggest that this has been his plan all along). The only question on my mind is -- do the Republicans hate him enough to trigger that scenario? Because they cannot possibly be so deluded as to believe they can win an election where they have to be Trump AND the Democrats.

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