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20 April 2016

Has Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both had a successful night in their home state of New York. 

By jonathan Jones

Big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in New York last night helped solidify their positions atop their respective primaries.

Trump won his home state with 60% of the vote, making it easily his best state in the country so far. Ironically, the only one of the state’s 62 counties he didn’t win was the one housing Trump Tower: Manhattan. But just across the water, Staten Island became Trump’s best county in the country so far, delivering him 82% of its votes.

How can a candidate peddling xenophobia, misogyny and anti-elitism do so well in a very diverse state often used as synonym for liberal elitism? Indeed, of the 50 states, New York has the third or fourth highest proportion who describe themselves as liberal, the ninth highest with college degrees and tenth highest who are non-white. The thing is, they don’t vote in Republican primaries.

There are 11.7 million registered voters in the state of New York and 7.1 million turned out to vote in the 2012 presidential election, but only 854,000 voted in yesterday’s Republican primary, 515,000 of them for Donald Trump. That means that Trump secured the support of just over 4% of New York voters. Though 44% of the state’s population are non-white, just 9% of the voters in the Republican primary were.

1.8 million people turned out to vote in the Democratic primary, and the candidate who represented New York in the Senate but was born in Illinois beat the candidate who was born in New York but represents Vermont in the Senate. Clinton won by a big 16-point margin, with 58% of the vote to Sanders’ 42%, and captured 139 of the state’s 247 delegates to the Democratic convention.

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That extends her lead in pledged delegates to 239, meaning that Sanders would now have to win 59% of the delegates in the remaining 19 contests to catch up. In fact, the polling and demographics of the upcoming states suggest Clinton is likely to win a majority of the remaining delegates, extending her lead over Sanders even further by the end of the primaries.

Trump’s 35-point win secured him 90 of the 95 delegates on offer for the Republican convention (John Kasich claimed the other five). That puts The Donald’s total up to 847 bound delegates, so for the first time since Super Tuesday he can boast of having won half of the delegates now bound to a candidate (despite having won only 38% of votes cast).

He is now 390 delegates away from the 1,237 he’d need to win the nomination on the convention’s first ballot. With just 620 bind-able delegates available in the 15 states remaining, that means Trump would need to win at least 62.9% of them to avoid relying on some of the 165 or more unbound delegates.

Next Tuesday is shaping up to be another very strong night for Trump’s delegate haul: he could even secure more than 100 of the 118 delegates up for grabs, with wins in all five of the states voting (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island). Even if he does, getting to 1,237 would still be tough, probably requiring wins in both Indiana and California on top of the two remaining states that look solid for Trump: West Virginia and New Jersey.