Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton haven’t yet won their respective parties’ presidential nominations, but they’re very close. It’s been a long, tense campaign; Trump has successfully leveraged widespread discontent with the Republican elite, while Clinton has finally seen off the challenge from Bernie Sanders, whose supporters must now rally behind her.
But the pair are already behaving as if they were their parties’ respective presidential candidates. After Tuesday’s five-primary sweep in the northeast, Republican contender Donald Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton both feel their nominations are within reach.
“We will beat Hillary so easily,” Trump said in New York, adding: “I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” meaning he is only waiting for the official blessing at the Republican National Convention in July – even though he has not yet reached that magic number of delegates that would make him untouchable: 1,237.
Meanwhile, Clinton is busy pursuing reconciliation with her rival. In her victory speech in Philadelphia, she listed all the things she and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have in common: defending the average citizen against Wall Street, advocating for the rights of gay and transgender people and extending government assistance to those who need it.
Clinton is busy pursuing reconciliation with her rival. In Philadelphia, she listed all the things she and Bernie Sanders have in common
It was a message aimed at the progressive and younger voters who have backed Sanders. And it was a speech made with the November elections in mind, in which she urged sensible Republicans to stop Donald Trump.
“Mr Trump accused me of playing the ‘woman’ card,” she began. “Well, if fighting for women’s healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”
The Republican frontrunner swept Tuesday’s five primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Clinton won in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware, while Sanders carried Rhode Island.
Tuesday’s so-called “Acela” primaries – a reference to the high-speed rail system that connects that northeast region of 25 million people – took place in a Democratic stronghold that includes both large multi-cultural cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as small rural towns that wouldn’t be out of place in the west or south.
The nation will hold 14 more primaries between now and June 14. The next decisive contest will take place on May 3 in Indiana, a rural and industrial hub. And finally, California, the largest state in the Union and the one that awards the highest number of delegates, will hold its primary on June 7.
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Meanwhile, Clinton and Trump will try to convince their rivals to exit the race and support them in their bid for the White House. Sanders will likely come under pressure to bow out of the race and unite the Democratic Party behind the former first lady. According to the Associated Press, Clinton has already won 1,622 delegates and 519 superdelegates (delegates who are not awarded based on popular vote). Sanders has received 1,282 delegates and 39 superdelegates. Whoever reaches 2,383 first wins the nomination.
In the meantime,Trump is leading among Republicans with 950 delegates. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, his closest rival, has garnered 560. The race continues until either reaches 1,237 delegates.
Republican leaders hope the property magnate will fail to meet that requirement so they can reshuffle delegates at the convention and thus prevent him winning the nomination.
English version by Dyane Jean-François.