Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are favored to win most or all of the five presidential primaries in the Northeastern US today. But at least on the Republican side that still won’t provide clarity about the nominee.
If polls are correct, Tuesday's primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island could give a boost for the frontrunners in the race for the Democratic and Republican presidential nomination. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are expected to win most, if not sweep all of the states and expand their lead in the delegate count ahead of their rivals. The latest polls had both Trump and Clinton ahead of their competitors by comfortable margins.
"Trump is probably going to run over Cruz and Kasich in the Northeast," predict the election specialists at FiveThirtyEight in their primary forecast. They and other polling experts expect Trump to win all five contests against Ted Cruz and John Kasich. While a sweep would certainly help Trump's delegate count, it won't bring closure to that seemingly never-ending story that the Republican primary race has become.
No clarity for Republicans
"Normally you would have clarity by this time, especially with a lead like Trump has,” said Inderjeet Parmar, a US politics scholar at City University London. "But he polarizes and repels a large number of Republicans. I think it is not going to be clear at all."
Because of the arcane voting and delegate rules which vary from the state to state, even a Trump sweep in all five states may therefore not boost his delegate count by all that much against his competitors.
"It looks Trump is going to win reasonably well again," said Parmar, who suggests looking at the winning margins, because in some states they affect the delegate assignment. But even that, he adds, may not be conclusive, as there are states like Pennsylvania where not all of the state's delegates awarded to the winner, are actually bound to vote for the winner.
Clinton closing in on nomination?
The newly formed, and already teetering Cruz-Kasich alliance is not expected to play any role in Tuesday's vote. That pact was formed with the later primaries in Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico in mind where Cruz and Kasich believe they have a better chance of defeating Trump than in the five states on the East Coast.
Compared to the Republican race, things are much less complicated for the Democrats. An East Coast sweep by Hillary Clinton could bring her close to reaching the necessary delegate majority (2,383).
"On the Democratic side it is far clearer that she is very likely to be the nominee," said Parmar. "It is really about how well Sanders is doing in going down in defeat." If Sanders continues to do reasonably well, this will increase his leverage in shaping the party platform at the Democratic convention, noted Parmar.
Should Trump and Clinton score big wins, as expected, it would also give them bragging rights that they represent large swaths of their party's constituents and that the other candidates should drop out. But those calls would likely go unheeded.
On the Republican side because Cruz and Kasich still hope to deny Trump the necessary delegate votes to clinch the nomination. On the Democratic side because Sanders wants to continue to make his progressive case, said Parmar: "I don't think he is going anywhere."