Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Observations on Tuesday's primary

Here are snippets from the NY Times report.

Turnout by voters in Arizona, Utah and Idaho was unusually high, with long lines — some snaking for several blocks — at polling places and caucus sites.

Can Trump be stopped?

Increasingly, it does not appear so. Trump won all the AZ delegates.

Republicans hoping to stop Mr. Trump suffered another blow as he carried Arizona by a wide margin: He was on a course to receive more votes than Mr. Cruz and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio combined. If his opponents fail to defeat him in Wisconsin, where voters go to the polls in two weeks, they are unlikely to stop him from clinching the nomination on the last day of voting in June.

Mr. Trump’s easy victory in Arizona also provided a sharp rebuttal to assertions by Mr. Cruz that he would struggle in the remaining contests because so many of them allow only Republicans to vote. Aided by Arizona’s generous early-voting laws, Mr. Trump showed that he can win handily in states with closed Republican primaries, where Democrats and independents are barred from voting.

Mr. Trump’s more precise vulnerability appears to have been in states holding caucuses, where organizational strength can be decisive. But after Tuesday, there are no such contests left.

Is Kasich a viable alternative?

Not if you do the primary math. My friends rely on Kasich's reputation as a very conservative but "sane" candidate. That reputation did not translate into votes on Tuesday.

In a sign of how many Republicans had already voted, with 80 percent of Arizona precincts reporting, Mr. Kasich had received fewer votes than Senator Marco Rubio, who withdrew from the race last Tuesday.

Losing to a candidate with a dead campaign is not a good sign.

Clinton still front-runner

Arizona was the most heavily contested of the three states voting on Tuesday in the Democratic race, in which Mrs. Clinton has opened a nearly insurmountable lead after sweeping all five states that voted on March 15.

Only registered Democrats were allowed to vote in Arizona, posing an obstacle to Mr. Sanders, who typically overwhelms Mrs. Clinton among independents.

Utah and Idaho, by contrast, were voting through caucuses, not primaries, and have largely white populations — two frequent indications of success for Mr. Sanders.

But with Democrats allocating their delegates on a proportional basis, Mr. Sanders’s share of the combined 64 delegates offered by Utah and Idaho will do little to dent Mrs. Clinton’s lead of 319 pledged delegates heading into Tuesday’s votes.

So it does keep looking like Clinton vs. Trump in November.

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