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Will debate move the needle?

With the days until New York’s primary dwindling, Thursday night’s Brooklyn debate may be Bernie Sanders’ last, best shot at changing the outcome on April 19.

In six polls that came out this week, Hillary Clinton has maintained leads in the double digits — 10 to 14 points.

If Clinton hangs on, she halts the momentum Sanders had started to build with seven primary wins since March 22, including hard-fought Wisconsin, and makes the delegate math for Sanders to stay alive until the national convention in July more daunting.

She’s also favored in early polling for the April 26 contests in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware will also vote that day.

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But if Sanders can put together a late surge, it ain’t over. He has cranked up the volume of his attacks on Clinton’s Wall Street ties, as his campaign looks to link in voters' minds Goldman Sachs' $5 billion fine and Clinton's $250,000 speech to the firm. Expect more of that in the debate. Read Yancey Roy’s story for Newsday and click here for where to watch.

And in a further sign that the pre-debate heat is turned up: Sanders repudiated a surrogate's remark about "corporate Democratic whores."   This brings up the question of how fiercely the candidates will address each other more than a month since their last debate.

Arch progressives cheer Sanders

Sanders got a wildly enthusiastic reception from thousands of supporters, many of them millennials, who jammed Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village for a nighttime rally.

Sanders spoke from a stage in front of the park’s majestic arch and predicted he would win a come-from-behind victory Tuesday, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reports. Pointing to the arch, he said: “That sends a powerful message. It’s like the doorway to change for voters.”

He was praised on stage by leaders of Transport Workers Union’s Local 100, which represents city transit workers and endorsed him earlier in the day. Sanders praised unions as “the last lines of defense against a vicious corporate agenda that is working hard to destroy the middle class.”

Bishop: Trump brings evil, ignorance

The Episcopal bishop of Long Island implored Suffolk Republicans to cancel a fundraising event featuring Donald Trump near the Patchogue site where an Ecuadorean immigrant was killed in a 2008 hate crime, Newsday’s Bart Jones reports.

“It is my job to oppose evil, ignorance and sin,” said Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano. “This planned ‘political event’ in Patchogue meets all three criteria.”

Protesters are expected there Thursday night and in Manhattan, too, when Trump and GOP rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich attend a party fundraiser at the Grand Hyatt. A Trump rally in Pittsburgh Wednesday night brought three arrests.

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Clinton: Republicans foster racism

The Democratic front-runner railed at Republicans Trump and Cruz at a convention of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Newsday’s Laura Figueroa reports.

Trump’s calls to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and Cruz’s pledge to increase surveillance of U.S. Muslims shows, Clinton said, that “America’s long struggle with racism is far from finished.”

“Some ugly currents that lurk just below the surface of our politics have burst into the open,” she said.

First ballot or bust for Trump

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It’s increasingly clear that if Trump can’t secure a first-ballot majority at the Republican National Convention, Cruz has enough delegates lined up to stop him in a second round, The Washington Post reports.

To get to the 1,237 needed to clinch the nomination, Trump has to improve his pace of delegate accumulation in the remaining states. Trump Wednesday hired veteran GOP establishment operative Rick Wiley to strengthen his operations.

The candidate's allies in New York, still distrustful of party leaders despite an armistice, are pushing to ensure the delegates picked keep their loyalty on a second ballot.

Tale of two venues

The locales for Thursday’s biggest pre-primary events have stories and symbolism of their own tied into the city’s economic revival, and those who made out from it, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

The Grand Hyatt Hotel, site of the state Republican fundraiser, was co-developed by none other than Trump — his first YUGE real-estate deal — with the assist of massive tax subsidies wheedled from a fiscally crippled city in the 1970s. It figured in the revitalization of the Grand Central area.

The Democratic debate is being staged at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Half a century ago, the shipbuilding facility became emblematic of lost manufacturing jobs. It has been reborn as an environmentally friendly, postindustrial industrial park for the new economy, home to enterprises such as Steiner Studios.

Turnout wild card

The presidential primary is expected by both Democrats and Republicans in Nassau to mean a bigger-than-typical turnout for the special election in the State Senate’s Ninth District to replace Dean Skelos, Newsday’s Paul LaRocco reports.

It’s also expected to generate voter confusion because there will be separate voting tables for the primaries in each party and the legislative contest between Republican Christopher McGrath and Democrat Todd Kaminsky. Which of them benefits from higher turnout is a mystery.

Cruz: Trump is tired of losing

Cruz, on CNN, explained Trump’s complaints about the delegate battle this way: “He’s throwing such a fit because odds are looking like he can’t get a majority.” Cruz also said Trump inspired his  attack on “New York values”  — it’s because of a 1999  interview in which Trump said his “New York background” influenced his past pro-choice views.

What else is happening:

  • Is Trump making peace with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? They met privately at Trump Tower, but Kelly said later he hasn’t decided whether to appear with her on a network special ... But now there's a new Trump-Fox food fight.
  • A Florida prosecutor has decided not to prosecute Trump’s campaign manager for battery over a March run-in with a reporter...
  • US Labor Secretary Tom Perez campaigns for Clinton at an organizing event today in Hauppauge, in the headquarters of IBEW Local 25.
  • A new Cruz radio ad aims its fire at de Blasio’s “socialist" policies and says, “when Cruz is president, de Blasio is done” ...
  • Ex-candidate George Pataki pops up on MSNBC calling Trump "the ultimate spoiled rich kid" who is "used to getting his way."
  • Trump's bizarre Joe Paterno remark raises eyebrows and questions.
  • Not all down-ballot GOP'ers fear Trump at the top of the ticket, the Wall St. Journal reports (pay wall).
  • Kasich’s campaign is circulating a Morning Consult state-by-state analysis that finds only the Ohioan can assemble a Republican Electoral College majority against Clinton ...
  • Sanders and Clinton separately visited picket lines to show support for striking Verizon workers ...
  • Trump’s team was absent, Politico reports, when Nebraska Republicans held local conventions, a preliminary step toward choosing the state’s delegates ...
  • Jane Sanders, the candidate’s wife, complains a grilling by the Daily News editorial board that put him off balance was “more of an inquisition” ...
  • The Trump campaign is feuding with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ...
  • No worries, Kasich. Relax, de Blasio and Trump. A poll says most New Yorkers find it acceptable to eat pizza with a fork ...
 

 

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