Ted Cruz once suggested – it feels like years ago but was only January – that Republican voters would not choose Donald Trump because of his ‘New York values’. The idea behind the diss was that Trump’s elite social liberalism would not play well with the conservative majority. Well, Cruz was wrong – and New Yorkers repaid him last night with a giant slap in the face, as the Donald swept to victory in his home state. Poor ol’ Ted came in a distant third.
Everybody knew Trump would win in New York, but the extent of his victory is staggering. He won almost two-thirds of the Republican vote, which meant he was awarded 89 delegates. Cruz, with less than 15 per cent on the vote, won none.
The famous statistician Nate Silver, who has misjudged the Trump phenomenon so badly that he now has to start articles by admitting he can’t predict the future, suggested on his website that, according to an aggregate of expert opinion, Trump would win 71 delegates. This, Silver wrote, would end up leaving him about 29 short of the 1237 he needs (in theory) to secure the Republican nomination in the first round at the party convention in Cleveland in July. Well, that was wrong, too.
Whether Trump will hit that magic 1237 delegate number remains uncertain, but he is a lot closer today than the pollsters expected he would be. It is clear that if the Republican Party was hoping to stop Trump at a brokered convention on the grounds that he still did not have a delegate majority, they had better start coming up with another plan.
In his victory speech, delivered, naturally, from Trump Tower, the Donald did his best to sound presidential and dignified. He called Cruz Senator Cruz, not ‘Lyin’ Ted’. And he thanked New Yorkers, ‘the people who know me best.’