There were a few primaries last night — some ho-hum affairs that, in their own way, may have sealed the fate of the planet. By that, I mean that Donald Trump is way closer to putting his itty-bitty index finger on the red button that says “nuke” than anybody ought to be comfortable with.
Let’s look at the contests briefly, and then we can talk about where we go from here.
THE REPUBLICAN CONTESTS
In Arizona, voters handed The Donald another decisive plurality. Without topping 50%, Trump beat his next closest challenger, Texas Senator and walking mashed potato sculpture Ted Cruz, by a whopping 22 points. Because early voting started several weeks ago, dropouts Marco Rubio and Ben Carson got a few votes here and there.
Notably, John Kasich, who claims to be running for president despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, lost to Marco Rubio. Yes, he got less votes than someone who dropped out a week ago.
Because Arizona is a winner-take-all state, Trump walks away with every one of its 58 delegates. Counting this win, he has 739 of the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination outright.
Ted Cruz beat the snot out of Trump in Utah’s caucuses. This is a result of a number of things. Cruz has proven time and again that he’s better equipped to win caucus contests, which require a substantial time commitment from voters and usually have lower turnout. Trump also questioned the religious beliefs of favorite son Mitt Romney.
Ted Cruz will walk away with all of Utah’s 40 delegates, dampening the effect of Trump’s huge Arizona win.
Oh, and by the way, John Kasich is still in the race. Yep. He’s the little engine that couldn’t.
THE DEMOCRATIC CONTESTS
First, Bernie Sanders took the caucuses in Idaho and Utah. Woohoo, Berners. Now, let’s talk about the fact that this race is over. Hillary Clinton took Arizona, and, because all the Democratic contests are proportional, she still picked up delegates in the states Bernie won. Superdelegates aside, Hillary has a 300+ delegate lead over Bernie. If there were winner-take-all contests, there could be a glimmer of hope for Bernie when delegate-rich states like Cali vote. However, unless there’s an absolute collapse in support for Clinton, there’s just no realistic way that Bernie can catch up. Sorry.
The flip side of the coin is that Bernie has shown the ability to raise funds on a massive scale, and the more delegates supporting him at the convention, the more influence he has in things like VP selection, etc. There’s no incentive for him to get out, and he’s said he won’t.
Hillary will be the Democratic nominee for president. Get used to it. Trump has a fantastic shot — best shot you’ve ever seen, yuge shot, beautiful shot — of getting to 1,237 delegates. If he does, there will be no contested convention. In that case, it’s Hillary v. Donald. If there is a contested convention, it’s anyone’s guess.
Finally, in a worrisome turn of events, many voters in Arizona were turned away from the polls after waiting in line for hours. The number of polling places in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, were reduced by nearly 75% from four years ago. In a general election, such irregularities could spell trouble. Any of you old enough to remember Florida’s hanging chads in 2000? Yikes.