The highly touted “Stop Trump” movement derailed and ended up at the bottom of the Hudson River on Tuesday. Donald Trump scored his biggest victory to date in New York. Trump not only broke 50 percent, he ended up winning with 60.5 percent of the vote—35 percent more than his closest rival, John Kasich. The new BFF of the Republican Party establishment, Ted Cruz, won only 14 percent of the vote. Trump walked away with 94 percent of the 95 delegates from the Empire State.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, as expected, won her adopted state. Her victory was large but not nearly as decisive as Trump’s. Clinton won 55 percent of the state’s 247 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Sanders won 106 delegates or 45 percent. This does not count the Super Delegates, most of whom endorsed Clinton last year before Sanders got into the race.
In his victory speech Tuesday, Trump continued to attack what he calls is a “crooked and rigged” system. He said that delegates should be decided by the voters not the party bosses. He is referring to states like Colorado that awarded 100 percent of delegates to Ted Cruz without allowing Republicans to cast a preference at the precinct caucuses. In other states where Trump won, Cruz ended up with the lion’s share of delegates.
The GOP establishment has coalesced behind Ted Cruz, who they actually hate, in an effort to stop Trump from getting the nomination. They were successful in Wisconsin and they were coming close to writing Trump’s obituary. Tuesday night, however, they were noticeably quiet. For his part, Cruz remains upbeat, even invoking Bernie Sanders in his speech Wednesday in Hershey, Pennsylvania, broadcast live on CNN. He said he won twice as many votes in Texas as Trump did in New York. Cruz said “help is on the way.” He did not elaborate.
The Democratic race in New York essentially followed the polls. The reason Sanders out-performed polls in other states is that unaffiliated voters could vote, and same day registration was allowed. Sanders won the vast majority of both of those groups. Tuesday, Sanders won only six of the 27 Congressional Districts, but he nearly tied in seven others. Clinton’s margin came from New York City.
New York has a closed primary system where only Democrats can vote. In order to vote, a person needed to register as a Democrat last October. For decades, the New York primary system has been criticized by electoral reformers who call it a rigged “incumbent protection” primary.
Since the days of Tammany Hall, the New York primary has been called undemocratic. In 1976, the state was sued by electoral reformers and the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court did not grant injunctive relief saying it was too close to the election for the state to change the law, but Justices suggested that the state loosen up its deadlines. It did by reducing the one- year requirement back then to six months now—one of the most restrictive in the nation.
Not surprisingly, there were charges of voter “suppression” on the Democratic side. Reports in the media Tuesday indicated that 126,000 voters were removed from the voter rolls in Brooklyn. Other reports claimed that as many as 30 percent of the voting stations were inoperative in parts of New York. In some precincts, voting hours were reduced. New York Mayor DeBlasio, a strong Clinton supporter, vigorously denounced the reports. Social media was on fire all day with complaints about voting irregularities.
While the allocation of elected Democratic delegates was generally proportional to the popular vote, the Republican delegates were not proportional. Trump won 61 percent of the vote but received 93 percent of delegates. But, when the un-elected Super Delegates are added to Clinton’s total, New York’s delegates are no longer proportional to the vote of the people. Super Delegates mirror the disproportional Republican system, which Trump calls rigged in other states, but not in New York.
Former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, Gary Hart, published an op-ed in which he called for the DNC to change the rules for the next election to allocate Super Delegates proportionally to the vote of the state. In 1984, Gary Hart won half the primaries but did not receive a single one of the 800 super delegates.
The Super Delegates may behave just as badly in 2016. If they do, the Democratic Party will be badly divided until they change the system.