Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Trump easily wins two primaries, Sanders beats Clinton in West Virginia

Published Tuesday, May 10, 2016 8:36PM EDT
Once derided as a publicity seeking celebrity with no serious shot at nomination, Donald Trump now stands on the cusp of becoming the most voted-for candidate in modern Republican history.

Unopposed but still openly loathed by many GOP figureheads, Mr. Trump scored massive victories in the West Virginia and Nebraska primaries on Tuesday. The wins – likely to be followed by a string of similar victories in every remaining state before the GOP convention in July – give Mr. Trump even more leverage in his quest to bring the Republican Party in line behind his populist, nativist movement, which has attracted millions of frustrated and often angry conservative voters.

In the Democratic contest, Senator Bernie Sanders captured his 19th win of the primary season in West Virginia. But because of the proportional nature of the Democratic primary elections, a victory would only narrow the gap of pledged delegates between Mr. Sanders and likely nominee Hillary Clinton – a gap of almost 300 delegates – by a handful at most.

Still, Mr. Sanders has said repeatedly he will not drop out of the Democratic primary race ahead of the party’s national convention in July.

In response, Ms. Clinton has inched to the left over the course of the primary season. Most recently, this week, she said she would be in favour of allowing Americans to buy into the Medicare health-care program after a certain age – a move almost certainly influenced by Mr. Sanders’s repeated calls for a public health-care system similar to the one found in Canada. The longer Mr. Sanders remains in the race, the longer Ms. Clinton will face pressure to win back the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with similar proposals.

“If I got beaten as badly as I beat him, and all the other candidates he endorsed, I would not be able to give my support either,” Mr. Trump said.

For Mr. Trump, Tuesday’s primaries represented little more than a victory lap – a chance to further tighten his stranglehold on a party that, just a year ago, he had almost no relationship with whatsoever.

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