NEW YORK — After Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLet's 'reimagine' political corruption The Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second MORE picked up a decisive win in New York's presidential primary on Tuesday evening, her allies were quick to send a message to rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersSchumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight McConnell warns Biden not to 'outsource' Supreme Court pick to 'radical left' Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement MORE: It’s over.
They say the win puts Clinton in the homestretch and well on her way to clinching the Democratic nomination, leaving no path for Sanders.
“The voters have spoken,” said Eric Jotkoff, a Democratic consultant who worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “Now that it is basically mathematically impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, it is time for our party to come together in support of Hillary Clinton.”
“My hope is that after New York it becomes clear to everyone that Secretary Clinton will be the nominee,” he continued.
On the heels of Clinton’s win in the Empire State, Bradley Bannon, a Democratic strategist, said Sanders has moved from “implausible to impossible” territory for winning the nomination.
“His campaign is starting to remind me of a big Hollywood disaster movie where you’re expected to ignore reality and suspend disbelief,” Bannon said. “At some point, you can’t suspend disbelief anymore.”
On CNN, Van Jones, a Democrat who worked for President Obama, declared that the Vermont senator’s political revolution was over.
In the lead-up to Tuesday’s contest, Clinton’s campaign aides maintained that the contentious and increasingly bitter primary battle was exactly what they thought it would be.
They say they expected the Democratic debate in Brooklyn last week to be scrappy, and they knew their opponent would draw large crowds, as he did in Washington Square Park and Prospect Park. And they knew Sanders would sharpen his attacks.
But at the same time, Team Clinton knew it had to protect its advantage in the state, and their candidate campaigned hard because, as one aide put it earlier in the week, “I don’t think it’s going to be a blowout.”
Still, the Democratic front-runner, surrounded by many members of her former Senate staff, spent the bulk of her time in New York City and its five boroughs, where she played dominos, drank bubble tea and popped by an Irish bar.
Those close to her say she had fun getting reacquainted with her former constituents all over the state. Meanwhile her husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonLet's 'reimagine' political corruption How Biden can get his presidency back on course The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems ready for Supreme Court lifeline MORE, largely campaigned upstate, where he appeared at several events each day.
Critics, including some Democrats, have argued that Sanders had momentum on his side, causing Clinton to fight for a state she represented for eight years in the Senate.
On Tuesday night, before a large, raucous crowd, Clinton emerged to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” alongside Bill Clinton, her daughter, Chelsea, and son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky.
“New Yorkers, you’ve always had my back, and I’ve always tried to have yours,” she said.
And in a lengthy speech, she moved quickly to appeal to Sanders supporters who have threatened to stay home in the general election.
“I believe there’s much more that unites us than divides us,” she said.
Going forward, aides say they still expect Sanders to keep the pressure on Clinton. One aide predicted he might win an upcoming contest or two and compete all the way until June, just as Clinton did in 2008.
One aide said Clinton will take on the general while continuing to compete in the primary, where upcoming states including Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland vote next week.
At the same time, Clinton aides and allies said they are unsure about Sanders’s tenor going forward and whether he will continue to attack her. One aide acknowledged a fear that Sanders’s rhetoric is destructive for the Democratic Party and is creating sound bites for Republicans.
As Clinton did in her speech, Jotkoff said it’s important for Sanders supporters to come over to Clinton’s side.
"While I sympathize with Sen. Sander's staff and supporters, and know all too well how it feels to be on the side that comes up short, the issues at stake this fall are too important,” he said. The notion of a President Trump or Cruz is too scary for us to stand divided."