New York Times
By Alan Rappeport
April 6, 016
Setting their sights on the next big delegate prizes, the presidential candidates descended on New York and Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon, with Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders looking to extend the momentum from their Wisconsin victories while Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton work to regain their footing after stinging defeats.
Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, who still have wide delegate leads in the Republican and Democratic nominating contests, will be working furiously to win New York, where their opponents are devoting significant resources to try to score upsets in the delegate-rich state in its April 19 primary. With both candidates having deep roots in the state, losses would be especially painful. Mr. Trump, who has been uncharacteristically quiet on Wednesday, planned an evening rally that is expected to draw thousands of supporters.
A poll released Wednesday showed Mr. Trump with more than 50 percent support, and showing particular strength in New York City, Long Island and western New York. Still, the pressure is intense on Mr. Trump, who is enduring the most challenging stretch of his insurgent candidacy. His rally in Bethpage, Long Island, which is expected to draw up to 10,000 people, comes after a week of damaging questions about his treatment of women and knowledge of policy. And his double-digit defeat in Wisconsin further emboldened the Stop Trump movement within the Republican Party.
“The shine is off and the Donald’s impermeable Teflon coating has finally been pierced,” said Ryan Williams, a Republican political consultant and former spokesman for Mitt Romney. “The sheer magnitude of the margin of Trump’s humiliating loss shows that his trail of outrageous comments is finally catching up with him.”
At an event in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton questioned the rhetoric of her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, asserting that he “doesn’t have a plan at all” in a number of areas.
Mr. Trump is planning to respond to the onslaught of negative attention with a series of more polished policy speeches and endorsements from Republican county chairmen in New York. But in a sign of what his campaign will bring to the media-saturated New York metropolitan region, the police on Long Island will be bracing for potential violence at his campaign event, as throngs of protesters are also planning to greet Mr. Trump with “No Hate in Our State.”
“We have listened to him disparage his fellow Republican candidates, denigrate the Democratic candidates, belittle the press and deprecate all who disagree with him,” the Long Island Progressive Coalition wrote in a Facebook post organizing the protest. “On this day we will come together, and say no to his thirst for hatred, and violence.”
New York should be friendly terrain for Mr. Trump, as a new Monmouth University poll showed 52 percent of likely Republican voters supporting him. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio came in second place with 25 percent, while Mr. Cruz trailed them at 17 percent.
But Mr. Cruz is hoping conservative voters will forgive his disparaging remarks about “New York values” and fall behind him as he courts the Stop Trump movement by arguing he is a viable alternative who can win important states. The Texas senator was not too far from Mr. Trump on Wednesday as he headed to the Bronx for a meet-and-greet event at a Latino restaurant, courting voters in a borough where Hispanic evangelicals are a potent political force.
At one point, Mr. Cruz was asked in Spanish about bringing his hard-line message on undocumented immigration to a community of immigrants.
“Our community, the Hispanic community,” he said, before the reporter asked if he could answer in Spanish. He said he understands the language better than he speaks it.
“I have the problem of a second-generation immigrant,” he said, before sprinkling in a bit of Spanish — closer to “Spanglish,” he allowed — and addressing the question.
“I think the most powerful value in the Hispanic community is the American dream,” he said.
He added that the news media often tried “to convey any Republicans as somehow mean and nasty” to the Hispanic community.
Mr. Trump stayed off Twitter and morning talk shows in the wake of his Wisconsin defeat, but his frustration was palpable in a statement the campaign released overnight assailing the millions of dollars in attack ads leveled at him. His spokeswoman called Mr. Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” and described him as a “Trojan horse” who was being used by the Republican establishment to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.
As Mr. Trump tries to correct course, drama within the campaign could be percolating. Mr. Trump has shrugged off reports of internal strife, but calls to fire his campaign manager, who is facing battery charges, could grow if Mr. Cruz’s team continues to outmaneuver them in the hunt for state delegates across the country. The loss in Wisconsin means that it is increasingly likely that Mr. Trump will need to be ready for a fight at the convention in Cleveland starting on July 18 unless he pulls off a string of big victories in coming states.
“The threat of Trump using Wisconsin as a potential springboard to the nomination probably focused the minds of anti-Trump voters in Wisconsin, and many strategically voted for Cruz as a way to block Trump,” said Kyle D. Kondik, the director of communications at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “The chances of a contested convention just went up, but Trump still has a chance to finish April strong.”
On the Democratic side, Mrs. Clinton is also looking to finish the month on a better note after losing six of the last seven states to Mr. Sanders. With Wisconsin behind them, both candidates were headed to Pennsylvania, one of five states holding primaries on April 26. A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday found Mrs. Clinton holding a six-point lead among likely Democratic voters in the state.
Despite his recent gains, Mr. Sanders faces a challenge when it comes to erasing Mrs. Clinton’s lead of more than 200 pledged delegates. Math is not the only concern, however, as increased scrutiny this week appeared to lay bare some gaps in the Vermont senator’s knowledge of policy.
In an interview in New York with the The Daily News’s editorial board, Mr. Sanders struggled to explain how he would carry out his Wall Street reform plans, and he was vague when asked about the economic ramifications of thousands of bankers losing their jobs.
Mrs. Clinton, who has clashed repeatedly with Mr. Sanders over financial regulation, took notice of her rival’s apparent blunder in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday and suggested that he was not prepared to be president.
“Well, I think he hadn’t done his homework,” Mrs. Clinton said. “He’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions.”
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