US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Steve Jobs' passing is a sad milestone (Mercury News)

This editorial from the Silicon Valley paper pays tribute to the late Apple co-founder.

2. Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the 'social contract' (Washington Post)

George F. Will explains why Warren is wrong.

3. Palin was right to forgo 2012 presidential run (Washington Examiner)

This editorial writes that it is time for Republicans to snap out of it, stop pining for a knight on a white horse and choose a nominee from among the candidates already in the race.

4. No to the Keystone XL pipeline (Los Angeles Times)

The jobs crisis is not an excuse for bad policy, say Sean Sweeney and Bill McKibben.

5. Who will be the GOP messiah? (Politico)

The Poll Gods are wrong, writes Roger Smith: Obama is the favourite.

6. Where's the Jobs Bill? (New York Times)

Congressional Democrats need to stop cowering and admit that higher taxes are necessary to revive the economy, and vote for the jobs plan, argues this NYT editorial.

7. Inside D.C.'s gun registry (Washington Times)

The D.C. Gun Registry office is not where you go for help getting a legal gun, writes Emily Miller: It's where you go to get more confused by bureaucracy.

8. Cell phone tells life story that should stay private (Chicago Sun Times)

Privacy laws in the United States need an upgrade, says this editorial.

9. For soldiers, the enemy may be themselves (Boston Globe)

The most dangerous year to be a soldier is the first year, and, as evidenced in a recent Army report, that has nothing to do with the Taliban, Iraqi insurgents, or poor training, writes Juliette Kayyem.

10. Teacher tests church vs. state (USA Today)

This editorial asks: What happens when a church, acting in a secular matter, tries to deprive someone's rights?

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Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. What now?

So a Clinton-Trump general election is assured – a historically unpopular match-up based on their current favourability ratings.

That’s it. Ted Cruz bowed out of the Republican presidential race last night, effectively handing the nomination to Donald Trump. “From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz said. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed.”

What foreclosed his path was his sizeable loss to Trump in Indiana. Cruz had bet it all on the Hoosier State, hoping to repeat his previous Midwest victories in Iowa and Wisconsin. He formed a pact with John Kasich, whereby Kasich left the anti-Trump field clear for Cruz in Indiana in return for Cruz not campaigning in Oregon and New Mexico. He announced Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential nominee last week, hoping the news would give him a late boost.

It didn’t work. Donald Trump won Indiana handily, with 53 per cent of the vote to Cruz’s 37 per cent. Trump won all of the state’s nine congressional districts, and so collected all 57 of the convention delegates on offer. He now has 1,014 delegates bound to him on the convention’s first ballot, plus 34 unbound delegates who’ve said they’ll vote for him (according to Daniel Nichanian’s count).

That leaves Trump needing just 189 more to hit the 1,237 required for the nomination – a number he was very likely to hit in the remaining contests before Cruz dropped out (it’s just 42 per cent of the 445 available), and that he is now certain to achieve. No need to woo more unbound delegates. No contested convention. No scrambling for votes on the second ballot. 

Though Bernie Sanders narrowly won the Democratic primary in Indiana, he’s still 286 pledged delegates short of Hillary Clinton. He isn’t going to win the 65 per cent of remaining delegates he’d need to catch up. Clinton now needs just 183 more delegates to reach the required 2,383. Like Trump, she is certain to reach that target on 7 June when a number of states vote, including the largest: California.

So a Clinton-Trump general election is assured – a historically unpopular match-up based on their current favourability ratings. But while Clinton is viewed favourably by 42 per cent of voters and unfavourably by 55%, Trump is viewed favourably by just 35 per cent and unfavourably by a whopping 61 per cent. In head-to-head polling (which isn’t particularly predictive this far from election day), Clinton leads with 47 per cent to Trump’s 40 per cent. Betting markets make Clinton the heavy favourite, with a 70 per cent chance of winning the presidency in November.

Still, a few questions that remain as we head into the final primaries and towards the party conventions in July: how many Republican officeholders will reluctantly endorse Trump, how many will actively distance themselves from him, and how many will try to remain silent? Will a conservative run as an independent candidate against Trump in the general election? Can Trump really “do presidential” for the next six months, as he boasted recently, and improve on his deep unpopularity?

And on the Democratic side: will Sanders concede gracefully and offer as full-throated an endorsement of Clinton as she did of Barack Obama eight years ago? It was on 7 June 2008 that she told her supporters: “The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.” Will we hear something similar from Sanders next month? 

Jonathan Jones writes for the New Statesman on American politics.