What to keep an eye on for the upcoming primaries

Talia Tirella, Co Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

GOP candidate Donald Trump swept Tuesday’s five state contest, upping his delegate total to 950. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton won four state contests except Rhode Island, which went to Bernie Sanders.

Clinton now has a delegate count of 2,159 to Sanders’ 1,370, according to the New York Times.  

The 2016 presidential race is beginning to wind down logistically, with the next contest in Indiana on May 3. But campaign optics and rhetoric, and the chase to win delegates, will come to a head before the summer season officially begins and the conventions draw closer.

On the Republican side, only time will tell how the new Ted Cruz-John Kasich alliance between the second and third place candidates will play out.

Trump declared their alliance to be a “joke of a deal” and “almost dead” on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Will the Cruz and Kasich counter campaign efforts and splitting up of the final primaries, such as Indiana, achieve their goal of taking delegates from Trump?

With plans for Kasich to back down in Indiana and for Cruz to back down in Oregon and New Mexico, the Cruz and Kasich camps are hoping to focus on their respective strengths in those states where they think they can best perform in the coming months.

The main idea here is using political strategy not to collude or rig the system, but to simply accrue delegates that would otherwise go to Trump.

Trump is using the Cruz and Kasich alliance as more proof to his followers that politics, but the GOP in particular, is a rigged system that is treating him unfairly.

This strategy does have the potential to lead the GOP to a contested convention, but with Trump’s five state sweep, it seems as though his nomination is all but in the bag. Early summer contests will determine further delegate math.

On the Democratic side, will Clinton’s superdelegate majority prevent Sanders from making it to the nomination? Or will Sanders’ supporters turn out en masse to get their candidate nominated?

If Clinton continues to win with big enough margins, which seems plausible at this point, she could all but clench the Democratic nomination before the convention date arrives.

Despite repeated wins by popular vote in caucus states, Sanders will struggle to catch up to Clinton’s 519 superdelegates and 2,159 delegates.

As of Tuesday, Sanders has 39 superdelegates and 1,370 delegates. Despite several Sanders wins by large margins, Clinton has managed to gain the delegates necessary to edge close to the nomination.