While California is the biggest “prize” as far as delegates go, with 247 delegates up for grabs, New York carries with it the second most delegates in the Democratic primary. But New York also brought with it some added drama considering it’s the state where Hillary Clinton served as senator for eight years and currently resides, whereas Bernie Sanders is a Brooklyn-born native – though it’s been many years since the senator from Vermont lived in the Empire State.
A lot was on the line for both candidates tonight. Hillary Clinton really needed to get a win to try to prove that Sanders’ recent string of victories wasn’t any real indication that the momentum had truly shifted, while Sanders needs just about every win he can get considering he still trails by over 200 delegates. Because the number of delegates each candidate is awarded is based on the actual winning percentage, it’s not just winning that’s important, but the margin of victory as well. That’s especially true for Sanders who needs roughly 56 percent of the remaining delegates if he wants to catch up to Clinton.
Well, the Clinton campaign’s efforts in New York have paid off as she’s been declared the apparent winner of the state – and it appears that it wasn’t even close.
So, where does that leave us?
Well, for Clinton this was huge. Not that she had to have the win, but losing New York could have been a massive blow to the optics of her campaign heading into a crucial stretch of states next week. While the final numbers won’t be known for a few more hours, this win will definitely help make up for some of the gains Sanders had made over the last few weeks with his impressive streak of wins. In fact, if it’s large enough (say 15+ points) she might be able to erase nearly all of the gains the Sanders campaign had made.
For Sanders, this is a back-breaking defeat. While I know his campaign and his most die-hard supporters will try to spin this the best they can, this essentially could put an end to his presidential hopes. I’m certainly not expecting him to suspend his campaign, but losing New York by a large margin makes his already highly improbable chances of catching Clinton nearly impossible. While he’s still not mathematically eliminated, at this point, you have to be optimistic to the point of borderline delusion to believe Sanders is going to be able to catch Clinton without a political miracle the likes of which our nation has never seen.
Though we’ll find out a lot more on April 26th when a key grouping of northeastern states (Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut) are all headed to the polls. If Sanders can pull off huge wins in each of those states, there might be some small shred of hope for his presidential aspirations.
Until then, a big congratulations to Hillary Clinton on her huge New York victory.
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