“Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?” — Robert Orben
It’s over, and it wasn’t close. It was, in fact, a wipe-out. The state of New York took the two big-money front-runners and catapulted them over the moon. Hillary Clinton trounced Bernie Sanders by more than 15 points, placing her firmly in the driver’s seat for the Democratic nomination. Clinton’s victory margin, however, was left in deep shade by Donald Trump, who utterly obliterated his remaining two opponents. He beat John Kasich by 35 points and beat Ted Cruz by 46 points. The Washington Generals do better against the Harlem Globetrotters most nights.
The delegate math gets pretty bleak going forward for the three underdog candidates who haven’t been featured on television with dreary regularity over the last three decades. Trump ran the delegate table — Cruz picked up no delegates in New York, zero, dot — while Kasich looks to maybe pick up a few, which still leaves him several thousand light years behind his opponents. Clinton picked up 30 more delegates than Sanders, which puts her in striking distance of the prize with next week’s contests in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island coming over the horizon. If she runs the table and then takes Indiana’s 92 delegates on May 3, that’s pretty much the ballgame.
For the record, this happened:
Presidential primary voters in the five boroughs ran an obstacle course of ineptitude to cast their ballots: Broken machines, shuttered precincts and purged voter rolls. The most complaints came from Brooklyn, where entire sections of poll books listing the names of eligible voters were reported missing, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The problems started when early-bird voters in Queens and Brooklyn arrived at sunrise — only to find themselves unable to vote. Mayor de Blasio issued a statement charging that entire buildings and city blocks of voters were among the 126,000 voters purged from the Brooklyn books since last fall.
Queens resident George Mack said he arrived at P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens to vote right at 6 a.m. He and 50 fellow voters learned all three on-site machines were broken. Volunteers told voters to place their ballots in a slot, and they would all get processed later. A state voter complaint hotline received 562 phone calls and 140 emails between 6 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. — more than four times as many as in the 2012 general election.
“I’m feeling profoundly snuffed,” Lexie Smith, 27, a baker from Bushwick who wanted to cast her ballot for Bernie Sanders on Tuesday – but instead was instructed to vote via affidavit.
Tammany Hall is alive and well, it seems. Between the purged voter rolls, the busted machines and the fact that Independents were not allowed to cast a ballot, it is fair to say that Tuesday’s results were not entirely indicative of the true opinions of New York voters. This primary/caucus season has been a hot mess from an organizational standpoint in a number of states, a fact that will make already frustrated voters even more livid and even less likely to step into the booth the next time around.
Next Tuesday looks to be a bad day for Sanders, Kasich and Cruz, as both Trump and Clinton hold commanding leads in the states involved. Clinton has a solid lead in Pennsylvania and will almost certainly win Maryland. Sanders wants to see it through to California in June, but Clinton’s amen chorus in the “news” media is going to get very loud going forward about why he needs to exit the race. Meanwhile, reports of the Trump campaign’s demise have, as ever, been greatly exaggerated. After next week, if the polls hold, his path to the nomination will be eight lanes wide.
I’m thinking about getting my passport updated. This campaign season has revealed a great deal about the underbelly of this nation, and the view isn’t pretty. On one side we have a quadruple-bankrupted blowhard who has turned hate into the coin of the political realm, who has put forth no concrete policy proposals aside from something about a wall because it’s gonna be great folks, and who thinks September 11 is a place you can get a Slurpee and some beef jerky. On the other side is a candidate who voted for the war in Iraq, voted for the Patriot Act, thinks the Reagans were AIDS activists, and has to walk very slowly down the block, lest all the Wall Street cash in her pockets falls out and gets blown by the wind back to the people it was stolen from.
If this is the best these United States can do to choose front-runner candidates for the highest office in the land, I want no part of it. “The vine bears three kinds of grapes,” wrote Diogenes. “The first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.” I have arrived at the low place of disgust, and there is no joy in it whatsoever.
I hear Edinburgh is beautiful this time of year.