Tonight marks the virtual end of the 2016 primary season. The District of Columbia will hold its Democratic primary next Tuesday, but that hardly counts.
The states that voted today are: California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota (Dems only), and South Dakota.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump is winning them all, as you would expect of the presumptive nominee. He’s running very well in California (in the early returns) and New Jersey.
Less impressive is his performance in South Dakota. Despite the fact that he’s the last man standing, he garnered only 67 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz (17 percent) and John Kasich (16 percent) between them won a third of the vote.
David Wasserman of FiveThirtyEight suggests that this result confirms what a “cultural mismatch” Trump is for the Upper Midwest. We’ve already seen Trump falter in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Not a great sign for Trump’s November prospects in this region.
On the Democratic side, Sanders won the North Dakota caucus. Clinton won New Jersey (big) and New Mexico. She leads narrowly in South Dakota narrowly, but with most of the vote counted. She’s narrowly ahead in Montana in the early returns.
California is the big one. Clinton is out to a substantial early lead — 63 percent to 36 percent with about 5 percent of the vote in.
Clinton was expected to lead early. For one thing, a decent chunk of the early vote is from absentee voters. They tend to be much older than the electorate as a whole, and Clinton has a big edge over Sanders with the elderly.
However, Clinton’s lead appears to be larger than expected at this point, so there’s a good chance she’ll prevail in California.
Either way, her delegate count is sufficient to make her the Democratic nominee. Voters thus will be presented with, for my money, the least appealing Democratic nominee of my lifetime and least appealing Republican nominee of my lifetime.