Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored the most victories in...

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored the most victories in their respective races on Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Credit: AP

For a while, the 2016 New York presidential primaries, scheduled for April 19, shimmered with possibility. It felt like it could be the year New York mattered in the nominating contests, could have a big say and a big day.
 
But now, as Super Tuesday gives way to woeful Wednesday, the Empire State is likely looking at another year of being “primary”ily irrelevant, particularly on the GOP side of the ballot.
 
And what makes the likely outcomes in the nomination process so clear is that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump actually had worse nights than many experts and polls had predicted, yet they still beat their opponents handily.
 
Trump did what he needed to do, winning seven of 11 states by midnight, with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia. That’s not just a headline, it’s most of the story.
 
Sen. Ted Cruz won his home state of Texas, Texas lite (Oklahoma) and Alaska, but little else. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio got to deliver his oft-used victory speech Tuesday night, but this time with his first actual victory, in the Minnesota caucuses. And while it would be unfair to say Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson underperformed expectations, that’s only because nobody had any expectation that they would do much in the way of garnering state victories or many delegates. Kasich was surprisingly strong in nearly winning Vermont, but saying that improves his chances of stopping Trump is like saying you can make an ocean smaller by taking a swallow of it.
 
So each of these gentlemen can keep fighting, but it almost certainly will end in futility. Rubio can hold out hope that his home state of Florida will bail him out, though he trails there; and Kasich can dream that his likely win in Ohio will launch him into … relevance. And Carson is free to keep doing whatever it is he’s doing, but people are going to stop noticing. Everyone wants to be the last candidate standing against Trump, but the math indicates that would still leave any of them in second place.
 
On the Democratic side, New York has a somewhat better chance to be a primary player, but hopes there are dimming, too. Clinton handled Sanders Tuesday, winning seven states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Sanders at that point had won Vermont, Oklahoma, and the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses.
 
Sanders raised $42 million last month and the calendar gets a lot more northern and a lot whiter going forward, which gives the Vermont senator a puncher’s chance and a justification for staying in the race. But you cannot do as poorly as Sanders has so far with black voters and win the Democratic nomination. And Clinton is starting to feel, if not inevitable, extremely likely, if only in response to Trump’s success and the feeling among Democrats that Clinton is the tested warhorse that can beat him.
 
All of this brings to the fore an odd and previously unimaginable consolation prize for having no say in the nominees. New York, reliably blue and endlessly ignored by general election presidential candidates since 1984, might well be the biggest prize in play in the 2016 presidential general election. Trump and Clinton both have a lot of history here, and a huge following, and in a race this weird some polls suggest the race could be a tossup in a lot of normally noncompetitive states, including New York, meaning the state’s concerns would finally have to be addressed in a presidential election.