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Your politics briefing: On the road again; Whither Sanders?

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a panel discussion on gun violence at St. Paul's Baptist Church on Wednesday April 20, 2016, in Philadelphia. Credit: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

NY strong, front-runners move on

Next up in the presidential primary race are five states along the Northeast corridor — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, strengthened by their New York wins, have a chance to bury or break their opponents in Tuesday’s contests, which are being called “The Acela Primary,” The Washington Post reported.

Ted Cruz, the biggest loser in New York, is hoping to make a strong stand in Pennsylvania, where delegate-selection rules could put a roadblock in Trump’s way. Of the state’s 71 Republican delegates, 54 will be elected as unpledged, meaning not bound to any candidate, according to The New York Times.

Polls this month show Trump with 41% to 48% of the popular vote, and Cruz and John Kasich battling for second place.

Clinton heads into next Tuesday’s states with an advantage in all polls taken so far and from the rules: Except in Delaware, independents — a source of strength for Bernie Sanders — can’t vote next Tuesday.

Given his steeper uphill climb, a key question is how Sanders plays it next -- whether he will stay on message or launch harder attacks to play on Clinton's negatives.

The math

Newsday’s Yancey Roy counts the delegate numbers after the New York primary.

Trump’s chance for a first-ballot victory is stronger, but he has little room for error in the states ahead.

Clinton’s triumph put her 80% of the way toward clinching the Democratic nomination.

Long Island boost

The primary’s winners were particularly strong on Long Island, besting their statewide margins — often significantly — amid high voter turnout, Newsday’s Paul LaRocco reports.

Clinton took 63 percent of the vote in Nassau County, one of her highest county shares and 5 points higher than her overall victory over Sanders. Trump’s domination of the GOP field was thorough in Suffolk: He won with 73 percent.

The take-away

In raw votes, Trump came up bigger on Long Island than Clinton, and that raises intriguing questions, Dan Janison writes: Could Trump carry Nassau and Suffolk counties if he faces Clinton in November? Will that run counter to trends in the rest of the state?

Trump’s win came after both county chairmen — leaders of the local GOP “establishment” — got behind his campaign.

Delegate tracker

Click here.

King: Be happy, but worry

“I can’t control my glee and my joy and my happiness that Ted Cruz got crushed last night,” Rep. Peter King said on “Imus in the Morning” Wednesday. But King is also concerned about the front-runner’s grasp of world affairs.

Trump has touted his “unpredictability” as an asset. Bad idea, said King.

“You have to have some kind of permanence to American policy or some sort of stability to it, so they know where you’re coming from,” King said. “And I think that could end up scaring off both enemies and allies.” (Audio clip here)

Lyin' ain't dyin'

Trump’s substitution of “Senator Cruz” for “Lyin’ Ted” in his New York victory speech prompted a lot of talking-head chatter that the insult-generating mogul’s new advisers had succeeded in softening his tone.

Nope, he just gave it the night off, telling Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he “thought it would be very undignified ... at that particular moment.”

The epithet was back when Trump spoke to a rally in Indianapolis Wednesday. Like a lot of supposed trends in the Trump campaign, its half-life was one news cycle.

Healing the Bern

After a day off at home in Vermont to “recharge,” Sanders is due to campaign Thursday and Friday in Pennsylvania, where a new Monmouth University poll shows Clinton ahead by 13 points.

Sanders’ strategist Tad Devine acknowledged to ABC News that “we lost more [delegates] than we thought we would” in the New York primary. But he contended that Sanders could finish strong in the remaining states and influence superdelegates to back him.

Clinton held events Wednesday in the Philadelphia area, joining former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to outline her plans to curb gun violence.

New York devalued

Cruz had even less reason to talk nice about New York after getting crushed in Tuesday’s primary, and didn’t bother, as he tried to belittle Trump’s win.

“Let me tell you what Trump and the media want to convince everyone — that Pennsylvania is a suburb of Manhattan. ... Manhattan has spoken and Pennsylvania will quietly follow into obedience,” he told a rally in Hershey.

Later, speaking with reporters outside the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in Florida, he said, “What’s clear today is that we are headed to a contested convention.”

What else is happening

  • The impact of presidential primaries on Assemb. Todd Kaminsky's apparent win in the 9th Senate District is discussed here.
  • State GOP Chairman Ed Cox has endorsed Trump, two days after the billionaire piled up big margins from New York's Republican voters.
  • The FAA grounded Trump’s Cessna 750 Citation X jet a day after The New York Times reported its registration had expired. He has other planes ...
  • Clinton could win it all — the nomination and the presidency — and still face an uphill struggle to reverse negative voter views of her, writes The Washington Post’s Dan Balz ...
  • Trump could get richer off the presidency, although his statements on the trail may have cost his business private partnerships for now.
  • Business-as-usual DC lobbyists are now part of the Trump effort, Politico suggestsAt least four Republican senators, including John McCain, say they will skip the national convention to campaign for re-election in their home states, Bloomberg News reports ...
  • Cruz’s campaign manager said Trump’s nomination would be a down-ballot disaster so bad that “it could be a situation where we’d have to rename our party” ...
  • Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), reaching back to his comedy past at a roast in Minnesota, declared Cruz “the love child of Joe McCarthy and Dracula” ...
  • Trump plans to hire a speechwriter, The Wall Street Journal (a paywall site) reports ...
  • Trump now claims to the New York Times that if he had not run, Jeb Bush “would have been the nominee” ...

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