What's At Stake In Tuesday's Elections

Apr 24, 2016
Originally published on April 24, 2016 6:03 pm
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Turning now to the presidential campaign, we're heading what could be a decisive week. With five more primaries on Tuesday, front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are hoping to extend their leads in the Republican and Democratic races and possibly put the nominations out of reach of their opponents. NPR's senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving is on the line with a look at how things are shaping up. Hi Ron.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Hello Michel.

MARTIN: So can we start with something Bernie Sanders was asked about on a couple of interviews this weekend? It's an analysis that we did at NPR showing that he is losing in the states with the highest levels of income inequality. And that's interesting given that that's his issue. And Bernie Sanders said it's because poor people don't turn out to vote. Is that - is that really it? Is that why he's losing?

ELVING: You might think so. You might think that the people that would benefit the most from addressing income inequality would be his biggest fans, his biggest voters. But the truth is that among people who voted thus far, Hillary Clinton has been winning those voters who make under $30,000 a year.

And if you look at the 25 states with the worst income inequality - 17 of them have had primaries - 16 of those primaries have been won by Hillary Clinton. So really what you have to look at here is the rest of the demographics. Lots of these people are from minority communities; they're people of color. And at this point, Sanders is still struggling to connect with those communities, even this late in the process.

MARTIN: And he's also facing some tough odds on Tuesday. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island are all voting, and Hillary Clinton is looking good in the polls. What are you looking at?

ELVING: Pennsylvania is the big kahuna this week, and Clinton appears to be up there by anywhere from 8 to 15 points. She's planning to have her victory party at the Convention Center, where they're going to be handing out the nomination in July. That might be perhaps a coincidence. And she's also leading in Maryland, where she should do very well in the large black population there, Delaware - probability looking very good in Connecticut and Rhode Island as well. So at this point, if she sweeps all five - and of course we always have a certain amount of suspense about the polls - but if she were to sweep all five, at that point, Sanders' path would be mathematically infeasible.

MARTIN: OK, so let's turn to the Republicans now. Donald Trump is also hoping for a big night on Tuesday, and the polls are giving him a big lead in those contests. What are you looking in those races?

ELVING: In those races, it's the same states that matter most. But he's so far ahead at this juncture, Ted Cruz and the other stop Trump people are looking ahead to Indiana on May 3. That's beginning to look a little bit like the last stand for those folks because they don't really have a lot of the caucus states left. Their best chance is to wrangle delegates wherever they can get them and try to get commitments on a second ballot.

MARTIN: And, you know - you know, one more thing though. I mean, is the Republican Party starting to make peace with the idea of Donald Trump as the nominee? I know that the Republicans had a big meeting and - I believe it was in Florida this week. You know, what was the answer there?

ELVING: Yes, down on the white sand beaches of Hollywood, Fla., the Republican National Committee was having its spring meeting. And what we are hearing from our reporter who was there and other reporters who were there was that there was a great deal of bargaining and even some acceptance. People were trying to get the Trump people to talk to them in terms of where things might go going forward. And there was a lot of good response, both from the Trump people and from the Republican National Committee folks. So at least parts of the establishment are ready for a truce with Donald Trump.

MARTIN: One more thing though that Donald Jr. - Donald Trump Jr. made some news with comments that didn't really go along with the idea that Donald Trump's changing his template, right?

ELVING: Donald Trump Jr...

MARTIN: Briefly...

ELVING: ...Made some news primarily by saying that Ted Cruz - I mean Donald Trump, Jr. said that Ted Cruz needed at this point to rely on bribery to get delegates away. That's pretty loose talk and troublesome talk - actually...

MARTIN: OK.

ELVING: ...What Ted Cruz is doing is wrangling loose delegates.

MARTIN: All right, thanks Ron. That's NPR's Ron Elving.

ELVING: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.