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Real Winners And Losers: New York Values Edition

Featuring smells, newspapers, and Trump



Although the exact numbers attached to each primary and caucus remain unknown until after the polls close, it’s usually pretty clear who the victor will be long beforehand. Thus far in the 2016 cycle, the only shocker has been Michigan, where Bernie Sanders surprised everyone. Otherwise, voters — who may individually think that their final choice was dictated by a brew of research, gut instinct, and the alchemy of influence — are often predictable. New York, an extraordinarily diverse place that values loyal Democrats, looked like a Clinton state on Tuesday. And it was — although the race also highlighted how much demographics diverge at the upstate/downstate divide. Clinton easily won the state, but Sanders was the favored candidate of most of the counties up north, where the population is much more rural, far whiter, and closer to Vermont.

New York is also a state filled with rural conservatives, former factory towns, Northeast Republicans, and Staten Island — all of which made it look awful Trump-friendly. This was Trump’s best state yet, with Staten Island especially strong: About 80 percent of Republican voters there cast their ballots for him.

Demographics over the past month have been unkind to Clinton, and about as good as usual for Trump. For the next few weeks, the primary system will linger in the Northeast, where it looks like the two front-runners could continue the streak started today, continuing to make voters’ collective biographies the most reliable winner of the primary. For those hoping that a bit of idealism or Kasichmentum might steal the spotlight, there’s nothing to stop you from dreaming — but that method doesn’t always have the best track record.

And so we beat on, boats against the current, etc. etc. etc.

The Smell of New York

L’eau de New York does not get a lot of love. Here is a list of things the city smells like, according to search results from several local newspapers and Google: "Stale urine," "a dead animal," "just awful," "like vegetable stock left on the stove for two or three weeks," "what you give to birds when you go to Petco," and "dying cats."

On April 11, Heidi Cruz said, with a straight face, in front of cameras and people she trusts, that she loves that smell, marking yet another occasion of the Cruz campaign standing up for something that a majority of Americans think is questionable. Since no other candidates took the trouble to pander to the stench wafting from curb puddles in late August, it seems likely that Ted Cruz won the vote of bad smells with New York values.

Judging from the results, this may be one of the only votes he won. But congrats, New York smell. Enjoy the spotlight and chance to be a coddled special interest while you can.

The New York Daily News and New York Post

Back in 1990, the New York Post featured the cover headline, "THE BEST SEX I’VE EVER HAD." Next to the headline was a picture of a grinning Donald Trump. Like J. Walter Weatherman, the Post was content to wait decades to finish the joke. In early April, the newspaper ran the headline, "THE BEST EX I EVER HAD," paired with a story about Ivana Trump.

The daily is so happy to have Donald home, it even endorsed him, with lots of backhanded compliments. In fact, the Post seemed incandescently happy about the primary in general: Its Election Day cover looked like a rom-com/horror film poster about the Democratic race. Other headlines on the website included gems like "Kasich’s pizza blunder may have been a cry for attention" and "WTF is wrong with John Kasich?"

The New York Daily News seemed pretty excited about the whole primary, too, judging from its covers, which include "HE’S WITH STUPUD TOO"; "SLAM BAM! (Thank you, ma’am.)"; "HE SAID, SEE SAID"; "TAKE THE F U TRAIN, TED!"; and "WOMB RAIDER."

We have a feeling that campaign coverage in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island won’t quite be the same.

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Bronx Republicans

According to the New York Times, a Republican in the Bronx has "as much influence over the Republican presidential nomination as the combined votes of 46 Republicans in parts of Illinois." There are about 721 voters to each of the three delegates in the borough; only 1,682 Bronx Republicans cast ballots in the 2012 primary. All that power means that the Bronx got lots of attention from the more desperate Republican candidates, who could try to win a couple of delegates in the most efficient, if artery-clogging, way here. In the end, the Bronx used its electoral superpowers to bolster the Trump campaign, maybe because Kasich ate all its food.

California, unsurprisingly, is also home to several districts where a single Republican voter can be very powerful. We’ll see how those voters chose to use their gift from the RNC gods on June 7.

Donald Trump


Donald Trump’s Sterling Reputation for Competence and Attention to Detail

Trump’s tightly run campaign has earned him the reputation of someone who micromanages every detail, from the rigid way he sticks to the facts in his speeches, to his regimented Twitter account, to the various campaign surrogates in his employ, to his mastery of the delegate allocation process.

LOL, JK, the dude is a shambling disaster.

Anyway, Donald Trump’s latest totally avoidable screw-up is that one of the planes that he’s traveling the country in isn’t even registered to fly. Dude has been doing cross-country trips, running for president, with expired tags. Can you even imagine the depths of incompetence of a Trump administration? I cannot.

People Trying to Vote

As many voters figured out in the run-up to this primary, New York State doesn’t exactly make it easy to vote. There is no early voting. Same-day registration doesn’t exist. You can register online through the DMV — but the deadline for changing parties for already registered voters was way back in October. New York is one of 11 states that runs a closed primary, which means anyone not affiliated with one of the two major parties in ineligible to vote in the primary. Many voters were unaware about the fact that they should have been thinking about the election seven months ago, and were not happy today when they tried to cast a ballot on Tuesday.


As always, there were other problems that made it difficult for people to exercise their civil rights and civic duties. An entire block of voters realized they had disappeared from the rolls when they got to their polling place in Brooklyn. Some early-bird voters arrived at their polling location to find that it hadn’t opened yet. At other locations, machines meant to scan ballots were broken. City Comptroller Scott Stringer plans to audit the Board of Elections. "It's time to drill down and finally find out why it is so tough for New York City to have fair, open and honest elections," he said.

State legislators have considered a few election reform bills over the years. Few have passed. Despite the attention the laws have received this month, it’s not clear that’ll change anytime soon.

It also seems unlikely that New Yorkers are going to make voting regularly a habit — especially in elections not related to the presidency. As Alec MacGillis points out, if people weren’t aware they needed to be a Republican or Democrat to vote, they probably haven’t been voting in too many local or state primaries — where voters have much more tangible power to pressure politicians to change local election rules.

In 2014, primary turnout was lower than it had been in more than 70 years.

John Kasich

Winners And Losers is proud to announce that we are awarding the Ohio governor an honorary degree in Loser Administration, since he seems unlikely to do anything else for the rest of the election cycle. Yes, he came in second in New York (and won Manhattan, the place that knows Trump best and has found him wanting). No, that is not like winning.

The real reason that Kasich deserves accolades for losing is because he is a composer of defeat, orchestrating not only his own downfall, but Cruz’s as well. The Texas senator has been busy playing Settlers of Catan with all the unbound delegates the past few weeks, trying to stockpile sheep and build the longest road in the hopes that the nomination ballot gets to a second ballot at the convention. Coming in third in New York doesn’t exactly help his quest — and it doesn’t bring Kasich any closer to being president, either. So just keep thinking about that time you won Ohio, John. It’s not going to get any better than that.

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The New York Observer

The New York Observer is owned by Donald Trump’s future son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is engaged to Ivanka Trump. Given this obvious conflict of interest, you’d think the paper would be scrupulous about making sure to avoid every appearance of bias in covering Trump, right? That’s what editor Ken Kurson said way back in July, admitting that the only available course of action was for the paper to stay neutral.

Then after it came out that the very same Ken Kurson later helped Trump write one of his speeches, Kurson decided that he was going to "revisit" the neutrality policy, saying in an email that he wasn’t going to let the "journalism police" tell him what to do. Yes, an adult human being used the phrase "journalism police" unironically and without shame. And then the New York Observer, just to show how little it cared about the "journalism police" and their petty concern with "standards" and "integrity," endorsed Donald Trump.

Since this pathetic display, the New York Observer has faced a mini-revolt, in which a couple of writers have already resigned in disgust. Sad!

People Who Don’t Live In New York City and Don’t Know Anything About It

Hey, personal note from Ezekiel here. I’ve been to New York City three or four times, and I’ve enjoyed my time there, but the thing about New York and New Yorkers is that they really care about New York. They care about it more than in the sense that it’s the place in which they like to live, and so they are attentive to its various quirks; they care about the Idea of New York and the Greatness and Uniqueness of New York, the Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, the Giant Anvil of Meritocracy, the Eternal Thresher That Separates the Wheat From the Chaff. That’s fine — I guess you have to love that stuff to be a New Yorker.

But this comes with an unpleasant side effect in which they also assume that everyone else deeply cares about New York. Since most of the media is from New York, you’re constantly hearing things about New York, year-round, even if there’s no real reason to be talking about the place. This is how the story of a rat foraging for food to take back to its hole or whatever became a viral news story and a lasting meme. But when New Yorkers actually have an excuse to talk about New York, as they have in the run-up to the New York primary, it’s 10 times worse. All of this is to say that I’m glad the New York primary is over and I’m glad I don’t have to hear people talking about New York ever again (until tomorrow morning). Thank you.