April 25, 2016 - Steve Handelsman

April 25, 2016
Steve Handelsman

Here are story lines from last week’s New York Primaries:

More than half a million New York Republicans actually want Donald Trump to be our President.  Trump’s 60% share of his homestate’s primary vote has all but assured him the G.O.P. nomination for President.

But the one real game-changer of this election was not Trump, his game stayed pretty much the same and his success followed a predicted path, it was Ohio Governor John Kasich who made a critical difference.  The four New York delegates he won were enough to eliminate Ted Cruz from even a mathematical chance to win the race before the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

The #StopTrump movement is gasping for life and grasping at straws, neither of which seem to be Cruz of Kasich as an alternative Presidential candidate.

On the Democratic side, the room at the top looks like the Trump suite…homestate favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton decisively beat Bernie Sanders and her lead in delegates to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia looks insurmountable.  Now, at last, it seems safe for Secretary Clinton to turn her fire exclusively on Trump and her sights of the general election.

Which leaves as the most interesting question right now, this one: What is Bernie to do?  He owes it to his supporters to keep his ideas alive, and he will have enough money to run all the way to the convention….but at some point he’s got to say, “It’s over,” and focus on how he and his surprising crowd of supporters are going to use the rest of the Presidential marathon.

In other words, he’s got to come out and say, it’s not about me any more, it’s about us and how we can re-shape the Democratic Party, with or notwithstanding the nominee.

Meanwhile, the big story since New Yorkers cast their ballots is the surreptitious recording given to the Times of Donald Trump’s new campaign manager Paul Manafort’s plan for “A New Don.”

The good news for Democrats is that everything about this story suggests a cynical manipulation in which the brash anti-establishment spew of the primary campaign is to be exchanged for a more civil, more centrist more, well, establishment-friendly tone for the general elections. Can Trump and Manafort pull this off, or will it finish his job of offending everyone in the country, by becoming the very thing he won the nomination decrying?

The bad news for the Democrats isn’t news at all, but speculation, that somewhere there is a surreptitiously-recorded dub of one of Clinton’s secret speeches to Goldman, Sachs or other too-toxic for polite company backers of the Clinton candidacy. This is, of course, double-speculation – that there is such a recording and that it contains material that could damage Mrs. Clinton. The only reason one would believe these speculations to be true is the candidate’s own behavior.  Nobody hides what they are proud of.

Now, back to Bernie…he’s accomplished a lot in a losing effort and would be better off celebrating and re-promoting that than in keeping the heat on the woman who beat him. One big accomplishment in New York was introducing what the rest of the world thinks of as simply obvious sanity…but in New York and other parts of the United States is treated as high-risk courage…that the only route to peace for Israel is through respectful treatment of and sincere negotiation with the Palestinians. If Bernie didn’t single-handedly change the debate on Mideast policy, he did open it up in ways future candidates will benefit from.

Reading Room

“What Will Bernie Sanders And His Supporters Learn From New York?” – The New Yorker

“The end is coming: A top Sanders adviser hints at a quiet finish” – The Washington Post

“Inside Paul Ryan’s quest to set the Republican agenda” – The Washington Post

“Can Paul Ryan and Donald Trump coexist within the Republican Party” – The Washington Post

“How Donald Trump is ruining Paul Ryan’s speakership” – The Washington Post

“How Paul Ryan is quietly shaping the presidential race” – The Washington Post

“In address, Paul Ryan pledges a ‘complete alternative’ to the Democratic agenda” – The Washington Post

“Trump’s fabricated new image” – The Washington Post

“Obama’s push to hire veterans is causing confusion and resentment, officials say” – The Washington Post

“Donald Trump to Reshape Image, New Campaign Chief Tells G.O.P.” – The New York Times

“Ted Cruz, Facing Hard G.O.P. Path, Seeks a Good Argument” – The New York Times

“Long Primary Carries Costs for Hillary Clinton: Money and Time” – The New York Times

“Paul Ryan, a Mirage Candidate, Wages a Parallel Campaign” – The New York Times

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