Hillary Clinton went 4-1 and Donald Trump went 5-0 in Tuesday’s primaries in five states but Clinton all but clinched the Democratic nomination while Trump faces a crucial contest next week to gather enough delegates to clinch the nomination before the Republican convention in July.
Clinton rival Sen. Bernie Sanders won in Rhode Island while the former secretary of state won Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Sanders said Tuesday he’s in the race to the end and predicted he’d win next week in Virginia.
Trump’s opponents, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all but conceded the five states to Trump and are attempting to contest next week’s primaries and block Trump’s slow march toward the nomination.
Here’s what political analysts and strategists made of Tuesday’s results:
Don’t mock The Donald: The strength of Trump’s victories should make any anti-Trump Republican shiver, but Democrats should not ignore the implications of the consolidation of the Republican vote behind The Donald. It is almost impossible to deny him the nomination after obtaining over 50 percent in five states.
Hillary must be careful not to mock him; she could lose many of the blue collar voters she has had difficulty winning, but needs to win.
— Rick Ridder, a Democratic strategist based in Colorado, is a former presidential campaign manager
No way to win: O-V-E-R. Sanders can certainly keep running hard but the path is no more. I hope he begins the process of coming together to focus on beating Trump and winning back the Senate, and urges his supporters to do the same.
— Achim Bergmann is a Democratic consultant
It’s not looking good: “Trump has the momentum and is sucking up all oxygen with the perception that he is moving steadily towards receiving the Republican nomination. Cruz and Kasich have to focus on peeling off delegates from Pennsyvlania and look ahead to Indiana in order to keep hope alive, but it’s not looking good.”
— Ron Bonjean is a veteran Capitol Hill communicator and GOP strategist
Momentum has been fickle this year: Hillary Clinton took the stage and gave the speech of a presumptive nominee. Yet, she lost 40 percent of the states tonight and it’s almost May. She may be one of the weakest Democratic nominees in modern times.
While it can argued that Cruz and Kasich didn’t contest these states tonight, it’s still evident that Trump is going to outperform expectations. He will have a lot of momentum going into Indiana, but momentum has been a fickle mistress in the GOP primary thus far.
— Bruce Haynes is president of Purple Strategies
All about Indiana: Trump has demonstrated that he can carry the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic by wide margins and he’s obviously going to carry California. The bigger test is next week. Winning a Midwest state like Indiana not only gets him closer to being the nominee but shows a growing appeal.
— Bob Kish is an Ohio-based GOP consultant
Running up the score: “Donald Trump started his Rhode Island rally yesterday by defending Tom Brady — tonight he put on a Brady-like clinic and ran up the score before many of us even turned on the television.
While the 5-state sweep is going to help him continue his momentum, what is really important for Trump is that he will likely pick up 100 or more delegates. If he ends up winning Indiana next week, it’s hard to see how he does not sew up the nomination in California.”
— Ian Prior is communications director for American Crossroads
Still have to win Indiana: “These states don’t change anything. All previous predictions of an open convention were already based on the expectation Trump would sweep all these delegates.”
He still has to win in Indiana and ring up a big victory in California or else he has no chance of 1,237 [delegates] before Cleveland.
It’s arguable that Cruz should never have gone east and no reporters should bother with covering these much.
The question remains whether Trump can crack 50 anywhere except his base in the Acela corridor.”
— Brad Todd is a GOP strategist
— Eric Garcia, Simone Pathé and Alex Roarty contributed to this report