Donald Trump ran the tables taking all five states in the April 26 presidential primary which has been dubbed the Acela primary because the five states Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island represent stops on the northeastern corridor’s Acela Train. Trump also walked away with 109 of the 118 delegates up for grabs solidifying his position as the “presumptive nominee” for the Republican ticket. Hillary Clinton also had a great night winning four out of the five states with the fifth state Rhode Island going to Bernie Sanders. Ted Cruz had a dismal night coming in third in every race with the exception of Pennsylvania where he finished second. In a desperate attempt to remain a player in the race, the Senator from Texas announced the next day that Carly Fiorina would be his running mate. Speaking of vice president picks, Trump has publicly stated that he is considering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as his vice president.
While Trump’s east coast sweep was anticipated, the margin of his victory was higher than expected. The real estate magnate took the majority of the vote in every county in all five states. In Rhode Island, Trump had a huge victory taking 63.8% of the vote and 10 delegates with Ohio Governor Kasich coming in second with 24.9% and 5 delegates and Cruz coming in third with 10.4% and 3 delegates. In Connecticut, Trump took 57.7% of the vote and 28 delegates followed by Kasich at 28.5% and Cruz at 11.7%. In Delaware, Trump took 60.8% of the vote and 16 delegates followed by Kasich with 20.4% and Cruz at 15.9%. In Maryland, Trump took 54.4% of the vote and 38 delegates followed by Kasich at 23% and Cruz at 18.9%. In Pennsylvania, Trump took 56.7% and 17 delegates, followed by Cruz at 21.6% and Kasich at 19.4%.
Hillary Clinton further cemented her positioned as the Democratic nominee. The former Secretary of State had victories in four out of five states. In Connecticut, Clinton took 51.6% of the vote and 27 delegates while Sanders took 46.6% and 25 delegates. In Delaware, Clinton took 59.8% of the vote and 12 delegates and Sanders took 39.2% and 9 delegates. In Maryland, Clinton won 63% of the vote and 59 delegates and Sanders took 33.2% and 32 delegates. However, the Senator from Vermont was the winner in Rhode Island taking 55% of the vote and 13 delegates vs. Clinton with 43.3% and 11 delegates.
So where do we go from here? For the Democratic race, Clinton with 2151 delegates is well on her way to securing the 2,383 delegates needed for the nomination. Sanders, has truly fought the good fight and along the way tapped into public discontent as manifested through his primary wins and large crowds on the stump. Given that the Democratic establishment never intended for the self-professed socialist to be a serious player in the Democratic race, kudos to Sanders that he achieved such traction. However, now the rubber is hitting the road. There are some saying that Sanders should drop out of the election and let Hillary assume the crown. However, Sanders’ supporters maintain that he still has a mathematical possibility, however slight, of securing the nomination. Donald Trump has also made comments that Sanders should run as an Independent. The third party scenario would obviously benefit Trump in the general election because it would splinter the Democratic vote.
As for the Republicans, the message is clear. Following his Acela victory, Trump now has 954 delegates which brings him within striking distance of the 1,237 threshold needed for the nomination. He clearly is the only candidate who has a mathematical chance of securing the nomination short of a brokered convention. In his victory speech following the east coast primary wins, Trump told the crowd, “I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely.” Trump followed up his five state sweep by delivering his first significant speech foreign policy speech in DC on April 27. In the 45-minute speech, he drove home his message that his “foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security first.” While Trump’s speech garnered some praise from individuals such as former UN ambassador John Bolton, it did not take long for the pundits to start bashing it. For instance, David Rennie, the Washington Bureau Chief at The Economist described it as “Trumpdoctrine-mercantilism, nationalism, Russo philia, distrust of grasping allies-is basically @PatrickBuchanan without the book-learning,” The pundits’ immediate dismissal of Trump’s speech demonstrates that no matter how many primaries Trump wins, the media and the Republican establishment will continue to dismiss him as a bombastic media personality with a Cliff Notes knowledge of foreign policy. Again, this is yet another example of the “anyone but Trump” movement.
Speaking of the “anyone but Trump” movement, the tea leaves are indicating that Cruz and Kasich have no intention of exiting the race anytime soon. Neither Cruz at 562 delegates nor Kasich at 153 has a mathematical possibility of securing the nomination. Furthermore, Cruz’s naming Carly Fiorina as his running mate the day after he lost five primaries shows that he is truly tilting at windmills. It is also an obvious pandering effort to garner the women vote and make more headway in the upcoming California primary. As for Kasich, with only one win, his home state of Ohio, his presence in the presidential race continues to be that of a spoiler.
As we move into the May 3 Indiana race and the subsequent primaries, it will become patently clear that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the respective Democratic and Republican nominees. The Democrats are coming around to accepting Hillary as their nominee. Eventually, the Republicans are going to have to acknowledge that the people have chosen Trump. They cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room by saying that he is a RINO or a donkey in elephant’s clothing.