April 26 marked another American voter primary Super Tuesday. Both parties put five states up for grabs, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, and the grand prize, Pennsylvania.
Trump wins 5 States
For Republican Donald Trump, it was a sweep. Trump won all five states and secured enough delegates to put him within 300 delegates from securing the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination. Ted Cruz and John Kasich still believe their unity will block Trump from the necessary points, but with 616 delegates still up for grabs, they have their work cut out for them.
For Hillary Clinton, however, the night was defining. While still lacking in the points to officially secure the Democratic Party nomination, her four state victory, including the grand prize, secured her position at the top and left very few with any doubt that her rival, Bernie Sanders, was not going to win the nomination.
Sanders not defeated
Sanders did not concede the race in his hour-long speech after the polls closed, but he may as well have. He chose very specific wording and never mentioned his path to the White House. He said his campaign was shifting its focus to an “issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come.”
He made it clear he is now running to push his progressive platform.
“The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.”
His campaign sent out an email after the primaries, making it clear Sanders is going to run for every vote remaining, but said he was not looking for delegates to secure the nomination, but reiterated that “Every vote we earn and every delegate we win is a testament to our ideas, to our movement, to our political revolution, and our willingness to take this campaign for the Democratic nomination all the way to the convention.”
Sanders hopes to push the Democratic Party further to the left and plans to do so by showing Clinton his voters still support him and that she cannot win without them; a strategy that may be virtuous but likely all for not. Speaking to MSNBC during a Town Hall before the Tuesday primaries, Clinton was asked if she felt she needed to adopt some of Sanders positions to secure the White House. Clinton answered with what appeared to be a solid “no,” saying that she is winning because of her platform, and that is what voters want.
“I’ve got 10.4 million votes. I have 2.7 million more folks, real people, showing up to cast their vote, to express their opinion than Senator Sanders. I have a bigger lead in pledged delegates than Senator Obama when I ran against him in 2008 ever had over me. I am winning. And I’m winning because of what I stand for and what I’ve done and what I stand for.”
She continued by balking at the idea that Sanders demanded that Clinton adopts more progressive policies before he will support and campaign for her presidency.
“Let’s look at what happened in 2008, because that’s the closest example. Then-Senator Obama and I ran a really hard race. It was so much closer than the race right now between me and Senator Sanders. We had pretty much the same amount of popular votes. By some measures, I have slightly more popular votes. He has slightly more pledged delegates.
“We got to the end in June and I did not put down conditions. I didn’t say, ‘you know what, if Senator Obama does x, y and z, maybe I’ll support him. I said, ‘I am supporting Senator Obama, because no matter what our differences might be, they pale in comparison to the differences between us and the Republicans.’ That’s what I did.
“At that time 40 percent of my supporters said they would not support him. So from the time I withdrew, until the time I nominated him — I nominated him at the Convention in Denver — I spent an enormous amount of time convincing my supporters to support him. And I’m happy to say the vast majority did.
“That is what I think one does. That is certainly what I did and I hope that we will see the same this year. “