Republican front-runner Donald Trump beat out his rivals in Tuesday's string of primaries, bringing the former reality television star closer to notching the magic number of 1,237 delegates needed to claim the GOP nomination and forestall a second round of balloting at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
After experiencing a setback on April 5 in Wisconsin, where Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the lion's share of the available delegates and boosted the hopes of anti-Trump Republicans, Trump's had better luck in his return to the Northeast. Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who began this week by announcing a coordinated effort to beat Trump, now look ahead to the May 3 Indiana primary in their effort to break his stride.
The #NeverTrump universe had been resting its hopes on Pennsylvania, whose bizarre delegate system gives the winner just 17 delegates, with the rest "unbound" -- in other words, free to support whomever they choose.
But Trump appears to be doing quite well with those unbound delegates. With the race on a razor's edge, it could make all the difference.
Trump, meanwhile, also blew out his rivals in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware. Polls going into Tuesday's contest in Maryland suggested that Trump was going to dominate the statewide vote and claim the bulk of the delegates on offer, with little opportunities at hand for Cruz and Kasich. FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver characterized their chances with blunt realism: "If Cruz and Kasich could somehow combine into one super candidate — let’s call him 'John Cruz' — that candidate could beat Trump."
The writing was on the wall early. As the Baltimore Sun reported the Sunday before the primary, only Kasich showed up in Maryland to make a go of things. Cruz had already "shifted his focus to Indiana."
Maryland's primary was a "back to basics" affair conducted with paper and ink, The Associated Press reported. Maryland's General Assembly voted to return to casting paper ballots in 2007 due to concerns about "glitches and security concerns" in previous elections.
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist