NEW YORK — After a fierce campaign, especially on the Democratic side, New Yorkers went to the polls on Tuesday. Who got the verdict they wanted, and who took a hit in the Empire State?
Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' MORE (D)
Clinton scored a huge win and now stands on the brink of extinguishing Bernie SandersBernie SandersMcConnell warns Biden not to 'outsource' Supreme Court pick to 'radical left' Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement Ocasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision MORE’s hopes of being the Democratic presidential nominee. Barring something totally unexpected, she will be the party's standard-bearer.
Clinton will boost her already sizable delegate lead. Sanders is running out of time to reel her in. Of the contests that remain, the three with the biggest number of delegates — California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey — all went for Clinton in 2008 even amid her losing battle with then Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCutting through the noise of COVID risk: Real-life consequences of oversimplification Russia-Ukraine conflict threatens U.S. prestige Appeasement doesn't work as American foreign policy MORE. She leads in polls of all three states this year.
At campaign events in the run-up to primary day, Clinton repeatedly told New York audiences that she had their backs during her time in the Senate and that she hoped they would return the favor. They did so emphatically.
Businessman Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE (R)
Trump’s victory was even less of a surprise than Clinton’s; polls had long predicted that he was on course for a blowout win. That duly came, the mogul being projected as the victor as soon as polls closed at 9 p.m.
The win is important because Trump had lost altitude recently. His chief rival, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProgressive millionaire group backs Cisneros, McBath in first public endorsements Manchin and Sinema must help Biden make the Supreme Court look more like America Flake meets with Erdoğan in first official duties as US ambassador MORE, defeated him by double digits in the Wisconsin primary earlier this month. He was outmaneuvered in several state-level delegate battles. And his campaign has faced stories of inner turmoil amid the arrival of new faces.
But none of that was in evidence as a jubilant Trump walked through supporters and members of the media at Trump Tower on Tuesday evening to Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.”
The businessman claimed he would win “a lot more delegates than anybody projected” and sought to put his own headline on the night insisting, “We don’t have much of a race anymore.”
The Cruz campaign — and Trump’s many opponents within the GOP more broadly — will desperately try to claim otherwise.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D)
New York City’s mayor has walked an unusual path during this year’s primary. He was a slow — and, it seemed to some, reluctant — endorser of Clinton. Then in the campaign’s closing stretch, he faced embarrassment when a comic sketch by the two sparked controversy for a racially-tinged joke — and the former secretary of State pinned responsibility for it on him.
Still, de Blasio chose the winning side. The mayor has been struggling of late. His approval rating earlier this month dipped to an all-time low of 35 percent, according to a NBC New York/Wall Street Journal poll. Clinton’s win comes as a welcome boost.
It’s been years since New York saw such a political spectacle at the presidential level. The state’s primary is often too late in the calendar, or its result too much of a foregone conclusion, to matter. This year, voters got to see a real fight on the Democratic side for the first time since 1992, when Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems ready for Supreme Court lifeline Arizona bill would allow legislature to overturn election results Manchin and Sinema must help Biden make the Supreme Court look more like America MORE’s victory stabilized his status as the Democratic front-runner. And there was also the Trump roadshow, as the mogul ventured out of the city to less glamorous locations like Poughkeepsie and Buffalo.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R)
The former mayor backed Trump, though he was always careful to finesse the degree of his support.
In an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on primary day, Giuliani noted that he had voted for Trump but added, “I said I supported him, but I don’t endorse him because I’m not part of the campaign.” When Tapper asked, “So, now you’re endorsing him?” the former mayor replied, “If you want to interpret it as an endorsement, you can.”
But the primary result was still a good thing for Giuliani.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R)
Kasich did something important on Tuesday: He relegated Cruz to third place. When all the votes are counted, it seems possible that Kasich could defeat Trump in Manhattan.
On the other hand, the businessman appears certain to defeat Kasich by more than 2-to-1 overall. Kasich's path to becoming the GOP nominee is still all but impossible. Nothing that happened in New York changed that.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
The Vermont senator had a very bad night, with his margin of defeat against Clinton steeper than the polls suggested. Even many liberal regions of New York City where he was expected to perform strongly didn’t come through for him.
Sanders has had his chances before to deliver the kind of blow that could have thrown the Clinton campaign into turmoil. He came very close to defeating her in the first contest of the cycle, the Iowa caucuses. Suggestions of a win in the Nevada caucuses were also dashed.
Now, with this defeat in New York, the hour is getting very late for Sanders. He can stay in the contest, but only the very faintest flicker of hope remains.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R)
Cruz came third. In a way, that’s all one needs to know.
The degree to which he was marginalized in New York says nothing good about his chances of winning the nomination. He was virtually invisible in the Empire State, both on the airwaves and in person. His most memorable moment came when he received a distinctly mixed reception during and after a campaign stop in the Bronx.
Several other contests are coming up in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic region, and the New York result augurs trouble for Cruz’s chances. Being seen as a candidate whose appeal is limited to the conservative states of the South and the Great Plains could be fatal to his chances of thwarting Trump at the Republican National Convention in July.
It wasn’t just the result itself that came as an unwelcome blow to the forces seeking to deny Trump the nomination.
The businessman’s speech took repeated aim at the idea that anyone other than the person wins the most votes should emerge as the nominee.
“It’s really nice to win the delegates with votes, you know — it’s really nice,” Trump said wryly at one point before inveighing once more against “a crooked system, a system that is rigged.”
Film director Spike Lee
Lee has been one of the most vocal of Sanders’s celebrity supporters in recent weeks, going so far as to produce an ad for the candidate. Riffing on the title of one of his best-known movies, the director urged New York’s Democratic voters to “do the right thing” and back Sanders.
Even in Lee’s beloved Brooklyn, however, that argument didn’t carry the day. Clinton looks set to easily carry the borough.
--Updated on April 20 at 6:30 a.m.