After New York, the path ahead to claim the nominations

Though front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton picked up big wins in New York, both parties’ contests for the presidential nomination are far from over. For more on where the candidates go from here, Judy Woodruff talks to Susan Page of USA Today and Reid Wilson of Morning Consult.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    As you heard in our lead story, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton celebrated wins in New York lasted night, but the campaign is far from over, with plenty of important battles ahead.

    For more on the race for the White House, we turn again to Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, and Reid Wilson, chief political correspondent for The Morning Consult.

    And we welcome both of you back to the program.

    So let's start with the Democrats, Susan. Where is this Democratic race after Hillary Clinton's big win last night?

  • SUSAN PAGE, USA Today:

    A 16-point victory, even though Bernie Sanders had spent $2 million more than she did on ads in New York state. It was really home, sweet home, for Hillary Clinton last night.

    And it puts her on a much steadier track. She lost in Wisconsin. I think that — she had lost in a series, seven of the last eight contests in states. So, this was a big victory. She heads now to states that should also be pretty friendly territory next Tuesday in the Mid-Atlantic. She now could win the nomination even if he doesn't win another primary by keeping it close because of the proportional allocation of delegates in the Democratic Party.

    So, she said last night she could see victory in her sights. I think that's pretty accurate.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But, Reid, what does Sanders, what do his people see in these results last night that give them hope?

  • REID WILSON, Morning Consult:

    Well, they see that both candidates are going to struggle to get the 2,383 delegates that they need to actually win the Democratic nomination.

    Hillary Clinton has a significant lead, and she's got a much better path. She only needs to win about a quarter of the remaining delegates to be allocated to get to that level with the superdelegate support. However, the Sanders folks, and we heard Jeff Weaver talk about this a little bit last night, believe that they can convince Democratic superdelegates to switch their allegiances to Bernie Sanders.

    That's a real long shot. These superdelegates are party leaders and elected officials who have spent a long time in the Democratic Party and they know the work that Clintons have done for the Democratic Party.

    Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has not done the same kind of legwork to try to elect fellow Democrats.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And isn't it, Susan, just getting — it has been and it's even more mathematically difficult now for Bernie Sanders to get to that number.

  • SUSAN PAGE:

    Yes.

    And he's done a remarkable job. He's posed a much more serious challenge than I think anyone, including himself, expected at the beginning. But at this point, the debate is, what does Bernie Sanders want?

    I expect Bernie Sanders to stay in the race. Usually, candidates don't get out of the race until they run out of money. He's not going to run out of money. But the debate is, what is the role that he sees for himself going forward, and will he do everything he can to unite the party if and when Hillary Clinton is the nominee?

    In the exit polls last night in New York, 25 percent of Sanders supporters said they wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall. She really needs his help to bring the party together if and when she's the nominee.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    You ask what he wants. It sounds like he's still saying he wants to be the nominee. He's not ready to give that dream up.

  • REID WILSON:

    And the irony is that if Hillary Clinton becomes president, if the Democrats take back the U.S. Senate, Bernie Sanders is in line to chair a major committee.

    Remember, he is still technically an independent. He hasn't been elected to the Senate as a Democrat. And once again, this is a party that remembers the work that its members, that its politicians have done to help the rest of the party as well.

    Bernie Sanders doesn't necessarily have to chair this committee if his fellow senators don't think that he…

  • SUSAN PAGE:

    Although it was interesting Jeff Weaver said this afternoon that Bernie Sanders would remain a Democrat after this contest.

    That answers a question that we had had. There's one problem for the Clinton people. There are two things that opponents often want that he doesn't want. He doesn't need help retiring his debt. He is more successful than she is in raising money. He also doesn't want to be on the ticket.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    He doesn't want to be her running mate.

  • SUSAN PAGE:

    He doesn't want to be her running mate.

    So, that makes it a little bit more complicated to figure out how you bring him in the fold.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, let's talk about the Republicans.

    Donald Trump — Reid, does the trajectory of the Republican race change because of New York? Because contest after contest before this, Ted Cruz was feeling his oats, but after last night, what do we see?

  • REID WILSON:

    And Donald Trump won a substantial victory. He won 26 of the 27 congressional districts within New York. Ironically, the only one he lost is the one he actually lives in, in Manhattan.

    And his path gets a lot easier. He won 90 delegates. That's a bigger prize than any other state is going to offer until we get to California in June. And he's got some — he's leading in polls in the five states that will vote next week, in states like Pennsylvania and Delaware and Rhode Island and Connecticut — and what's the fifth? I'm — Maryland. Sorry.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Maryland.

  • REID WILSON:

    All of which he's leading in. So, if he's able to win all of the 118 delegates that are up next Tuesday, his path gets even more clear.

    However, he still has to win 52 percent of the remaining delegates after that. I'm saying his chances are plausible, but precarious.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It just sounds like, Susan, up until now, so much of the talk was about what happens at the convention for Donald Trump. But now people are — you hear more conversation about how he could actually get to the number he needs before Cleveland.

  • SUSAN PAGE:

    It's clear he's going to get pretty close. I think it's pretty clear he's going to get close to the number.

    For one thing, what can they throw at him that they haven't thrown at him so far? It's not like his controversial views are a mystery to voters. They have heard him talk about it. His temperament, people have seen it, and they continue to vote for him.

    And I think there's an argument he's made that's been pretty effective, which is the fair play argument. Americans really believe in fair play, and you see a majority — a significant majority of Republican voters saying if somebody has most delegates, but isn't quite up to a majority, they still should be the nominee.

    I think that is a pretty effective argument. He's not there yet. But after last night and a 35-point victory, you definitely see a path for him to avoid a contested convention.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It was interesting, Reid, last night, a lot of conversation about, well, Donald Trump seems to be moderating his tone. He's not calling him lyin' — Senator Cruz lyin' Ted.

    But, today, campaigning in Indiana, he was right back to the same language.

  • REID WILSON:

    And this is sort of the dichotomy of Donald Trump. Right?

    Every candidate moderates after a primary election. Trump doesn't have to necessarily moderate on ideological issues. He has to moderate on his personality. He has to appear presidential. And we have seen little flashes of this, his press conference in Mar-a-Lago after winning primaries back in March, and then last night a much more subdued, much more staid conversation, press conference, as well as the fact that he has actually stayed off the Sunday television shows for a couple of weeks in a row after the longest stretch that I can remember of being consistently there.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Susan, what is Ted Cruz's — or John Kasich, who we haven't even mentioned yet?

  • SUSAN PAGE:

    I think John Kasich has a very tough path ahead. I mean, it's not mathematically possible for him to come into the convention with a majority of delegates.

    He's a little out of synch with his party. I think he's kind of moderate for a very conservative party. And for Ted Cruz, he is now out of his elements when we go to these states, to New York, to the Mid-Atlantic states that vote next Tuesday.

    These are not friendly territories for Ted Cruz. He has run a very effective campaign. He is very shrewd in terms of the delegate selection process, but he has a really — he really needs something bad to happen to Trump's path for there to be an opening for him, I think.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, we're going to be watching. Next week, it's Pennsylvania and then on to these other states.

    Thank you both.

  • SUSAN PAGE:

    Thank you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Reid Wilson, Susan Page, thank you.

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