Welcome to our new politics briefing. You can find it Monday through Friday at 5 a.m. and updated throughout the day.
Turning the page in Bethpage
Donald Trump reached for home-field advantage to a crowd of thousands in the first mega-rally of his New York primary campaign Wednesday night.
Trump fans at the Grumman Studios in Bethpage got what they came for and no doubt have seen before. They responded enthusiastically to his cues to chant “Build the wall” and “Lyin’ Ted” — the label Trump sticks on Ted Cruz.
Cruz cleaned his clock in Wisconsin, but Trump suggested he expects a happier ending here on April 19 because New Yorkers “know me the best.” He ripped Cruz’s sneers at “New York values” by paying tribute to the heroes of 9/11.
As Trump rallies go, it was relatively trouble-free, with the candidate choosing to be the voice of calm. He repeatedly urged “don’t hurt the person” as a protester was getting ejected.
A fall from the Trumpoline
Trump’s 13-point loss in Wisconsin is raising hopes among the #NeverTrump crowd. “As Trump constantly reminds us, no one likes a loser,” wrote Washington Post conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin.
The math suggests an increased chance of a contested Republican convention, with Trump on pace to fall short of locking down a majority of delegates before they gather in Cleveland, as Newsday’s Yancey Roy explains.
But there’s no sign yet that Trump is faltering in New York. A new Monmouth University poll puts him way up in his home state at 52% to 25% for John Kasich and 17% for Cruz.
If a margin that huge holds, Trump gets the lion’s share of the state’s 95 delegates and a new bragging opportunity. He’s got a dozen days to steady his campaign.
Click here for delegate tracker.
Newsday columnist Dan Janison points out that New York’s Republican convention delegates will be chosen by the party and not the candidates — and how they'd be released from their pledges if and when the convention goes to a second ballot.
Whoa! Who’s not qualified?
Bernie Sanders chose to take Hillary Clinton’s slams at him in recent days as a message from the former Secretary of State that the Vermont senator is not qualified to be president.
Then he declared Wednesday that she’s the one who isn’t qualified. He based this claim in part on her huge PAC fundraising and Iraq war vote. Her camp responded she never said that -- but tweeted that Sanders’ accusation marks a “new low.”
Party all the time?
Sanders wanted both the New York state and national party apparatus shut out from a role in the April 14 Brooklyn debate, seeing pro-Clinton bias, but relented on the Democratic National Committee.
Clinton pointedly wondered in a Politico interview about the Democratic Party bona fides of Sanders, elected as an independent socialist. “He’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one ... I don’t know quite how to characterize him.”
Squawking ’bout my generation
Sanders, the 74-year-old senator from Vermont, is the oldest candidate in the race, and he’s at a loss to explain why older voters are among his weakest demographics in his primary battles with Clinton.
“We’re getting killed, frankly,” Sanders told film director and supporter Spike Lee in an interview posted by The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s the weirdest thing in the world.”
“We have a lot of work to do in terms of reaching out to seniors,” said the septuagenarian.
Cruz values in the Bronx
Cruz visited with a group of conservative black and Hispanic pastors group at a Chinese-Latino restaurant in the Bronx Wednesday, Newsday’s Matthew Chayes reports. They had no quarrel with his use of “New York values” as an epithet,
One of them, State Sen. Rubén Díaz (D-Bronx), said, “New York values are good for some people and not good for others. We’re Christian, we’re evangelical.” Police removed hecklers from inside the restaurant, including one who shouted that Cruz was a “right-wing bigot.”
A sorry exchange
Clinton has been attacking Sanders for opposing legal efforts to hold a gun manufacturer liable in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre and tweeted support for a family member who said Sanders should apologize. Asked about this by a CBS reporter, Sanders retorted that maybe Clinton should apologize to victims of the Iraq War.
Stop the music
Valley Stream native Everlast is demanding Trump stop using his House of Pain anthem “Jump Around” at his rallies, Newsday’s Glenn Gamboa reports.
He called Trump a “race-baiting, ignorant, divisive and potentially dangerous sociopath” and wrote on Facebook “using my copywritten work to represent any part of his campaign is akin to stealing.”
What else is happening:
- Conventional warfare There are many ways GOP detractors could trip up Trump in Cleveland, such as challenging some delegates' eligibility.
- NBC News and Politico report a surge of infighting within the Trump campaign ...
- Trump's inside man Ed Brookover, charged with "managing" Trump delegates, is an "establishment" operative, as The Hill tells it.
- Cruz ain't cruisin' among all GOP activists and insiders who dread Trump, the Washington Post reports.
- Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a border-state Republican, calls Trump’s idea to stop immigrants crossing from Mexico with a wall “naive” ...
- A McClatchy-Marist poll says 1 in 4 Sanders supporters wouldn’t vote for Clinton in a general election ...
- Clinton and Trump lead in a Quinnipiac poll for the April 26 Pennsylvania primary ...
- Kasich picked up backing from a well-known Washington name, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden ...
- The State Department doesn’t want seven officials and aides for former Secretary of State Clinton questioned in a lawsuit ...
- Roger Stone has actually been taken seriously enough to be banned from two networks, the Post says.