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Trump And Clinton Victories Mark Turning Point In Presidential Race

Pictures of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Images for wikipedia.org

In what’s being called a turning point, the presidential frontrunners in both parties claimed the majority of Tuesday’s five primaries including in Connecticut.Donald Trump swept all of Tuesday’s Republican primaries, taking Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Delaware.

With his lowest vote total of the five contests at about 54 percent, the frontrunner celebrated with a speech at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

“I think this one is maybe the biggest of them all,” said Trump.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee, absolutely,” he later added.  

On the Democratic side, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders grabbed only Rhode Island from frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state and U.S. senator spoke to supporters in Philadelphia.

“I applaud Senator Sanders and his millions of supporters for challenging us to get unaccountable money out of our politics and giving greater emphasis to closing the gap of inequality,” Clinton said. “I know together we will get that done because whether you support Senator Sanders or you support me, there’s much more that unites us than divides us.”

Clinton said party unity is necessary to prevail against the Republicans, who she says threaten Americans’ rights. She did not mention gun rights in that call. Clinton has attacked Sanders for his stance that a lawful gun manufacturer or seller should not be held responsible for crimes committed with a gun it made or sold. Clinton also focused on Trump and his recent remarks targeting her.

“Mr. Trump accused me of playing the quote ‘woman card,’” Clinton said. “Well if fighting for women’s healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay, is playing the woman card, then deal me in!”

Sanders came close to Clinton in Connecticut, getting 47 percent of the vote, but was crushed in Maryland where 63 percent of voters picked Clinton. Trump tipped his cap to Sanders, mentioning the large crowds the Vermont senator has drawn throughout the race.

“The Democrats have treated Bernie very badly and frankly I think he should run as independent,” said Trump.

The Associated Press estimates Clinton has 2,165 delegates to 1,357 for Sanders. Still, Sanders says he is the best bet to beat Trump, pointing to his support from independents, a view he hopes delegates at the Democratic Convention in July share.

“The elections are not closed primaries,” Sanders said. “We were in New York State last week. Three million people in New York State could not vote because they were independents. Well you know what, those folks and independents all over this country will be voting in November for the next president of the United States.”

Speaking on WAMC’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, a Clinton supporter, says Tuesday’s results may trigger a cooling in the Democratic race.

“Tuesday’s were likely the end of the competitive Democratic primary,” Murphy said. “I think everyone including Bernie acknowledges that Secretary Clinton is going to be the nominee. While he’s going to stay in the race because he feels it’s important to raise the issues that he’s been raising I don’t think he’s going to be attacking her in the way that he has and vice versa.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich took second in every Republican primary Tuesday except Pennsylvania, where Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz captured the silver medal. Trump blasted the pair for announcing that they were teaming up to beat him, ceding some of Tuesday’s contests and offering each other lukewarm support.

“Its collusion,” Trump said. “In business they put you in jail for collusion. In politics you’re allowed to get away with it. I thought it was a very weak signal and the Republican Party needs something much different than that.”

Trump added that if he’s elected president, American companies that take jobs out of the country will face penalties if they keep doing business in the U.S. He also made a brief mention of the wall – his symbol for a stronger border that has been one of the key campaign topics. The AP shows Trump at 992 delegates with Cruz in second carrying 562. Much of the focus for the next several days is expected to be placed on Indiana, the only state holding a primary May 3.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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