Forward Progress: Frontrunners Soar

The latest primary Tuesday yielded more or less the same results as the previous one, with presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, padding their delegate lead in their respective Democratic and Republican Parties by winning the lion’s share in the April 26 primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. On the previous Tuesday, April 19, Clinton and Trump both won the big prize of New York, a state which she represented in the U.S. Senate for eight years and in which he was born, raised, continues to live, and upon whose largest city’s skyline he has made an indelible impression.

Clinton took the stage in Pennsylvania, which she won decisively over rival Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – she also won in Delaware and Maryland (as of this writing, she had lost Rhode Island and was losing Connecticut) – and promised that we could be a nation of “doers as well as dreamers.”  She quoted “a Democratic president,” her husband, Bill, who cheered her on, repeating one of his most famous one-liners: “there nothing that’s wrong with America that can’t be cured with what’s right with America.”

Clinton also reached out to Sanders’ sizable contingent – a group that has bested Clinton’s followers in enthusiasm if not in votes, and reminded the cheering audience that “there is far more that unites [Sanders and me] than divides us.”

In a now oft-heard dig at her likely general election opponent, Clinton said that rather than build walls, we need to tear down barriers.

Trump took the stage at Trump Tower, relishing victory in all five primary states. The clean sweep put Trump ever closer to the 1237 delegates he needs, further solidifying competing theories that he will be the nominee – because he will have far more delegates than either Senator Ted Cruz (TX) or Governor John Kasich (OH) – or that he won’t, because he won’t win on the first ballot – and then the delegates are released to go their separate ways. It seems that if he doesn’t clinch the 1237, Trump will come incredibly close – but the question is whether the top Republican brass will warm up to him between now and the Convention in July, and much of that may depend on how “presidential” he sounds, under the tutelage of campaign veteran Paul Manafort.

He announced that he gained the endorsement of Indiana Hoosiers legendary coach Bobby Knight, a week ahead of that winner-take-all state’s primary. He praised the media (a rare gesture on his part) for having treated him fairly over the previous two weeks, but defended Bernie Sanders for unfair treatment and suggested that he run as an independent.

He reported that the polls show him now pulling even with Clinton, and promised that “we are going to beat her so easily.”

His theme was jobs jobs jobs, and he promised to bring jobs back to troubled areas in New York, Pennsylvania, and other states whose manufacturing base has been hampered.

Unlike last Tuesday, when this writer covered him at his press conference on the same Trump Tower stage after his New York primary victory, this time he took questions from the press.  Standing by Trump’s side, for the first time since shortly after he endorsed him, was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, considered by some to be on his short list of running mates. Asked if Christie is on his list, Trump said he’s not thinking about it right now, but “Governor Christie is fantastic.”




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