Tuesday's primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska were still important, even though the Republican presidential nomination has effectively already been decided.
For Republicans, it confirmed the Trump Train was still picking up momentum toward Donald Trump's nomination. For Democrats, it hinted that Hillary Clinton's wall of invincibility may be more like a façade.
GOP voters went to the polls in West Virginia and Nebraska, where the presumptive nominee won in landslides. In West Virginia, he took nearly 77 percent of the statewide vote, as well as all 34 of the delegates—all but three are voted directly at the polls—while in Nebraska, a winner-take-all state with 31 delegates, he received more than 61 percent of the vote.
Trump got even better news from American Samoa and Louisiana, which redistributed their delegates Tuesday afternoon. He picked up 16 more delegates there, bringing his total to 1,143. He will clinch the nomination with just partial delegate hauls in the next two states, Oregon and Washington, and with winner-take-all New Jersey, where he was leading by a substantial margin last week, before polling efforts were suspended in the GOP race.
"It is a great honor to have won both West Virginia and Nebraska, especially by such massive margins," Trump said after the results were announced Tuesday. "My time spent in both states was a wonderful and enlightening experience for me. I learned a lot, and that knowledge will be put to good use towards the creation of businesses, jobs and the strengthening and revival of their economies.
"I look forward to returning to West Virginia and Nebraska soon, and hope to win both states in the general election. Likewise, my time spent last week with the great people of Oregon will hopefully lead to another victory next Tuesday."
The situation for the Democrats, who voted only in West Virginia on Tuesday, got much more interesting. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by more than 15 percentage points, picking up 18 of 29 delegates in the process.
Clinton, however, snatched up nearly all of the superdelegates again, walking away with an effective tie.
It still counts as a win for Sanders, who has now won 19 of the nominating contests leading up to the Democratic National Convention.
"Every vote we earn and every delegate we secure sends an unmistakable message about the values we share, the country's support for the ideas of our campaign, and a rejection of Donald Trump and his values," he told supporters Tuesday night. "Now we're on to two more primaries next week in Kentucky and Oregon, where we also hope to do very well. So let's keep going.
"We fully acknowledge we have an uphill climb ahead of us, but we're used to that. We have been fighting uphill from the day this campaign began, and we're going to stay in the race until the last vote is cast."
The former secretary of state now has the support of 2,209 delegates to the senator's 1,460. But, when superdelegates are factored out, the margin shrinks to 1,646-1,296. Superdelegates are unbound and may pledge their support to any candidate, a lesson Clinton learned the hard way in 2008 when they shifted their support at the last minute to then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.
The Republican National Committee also noted the cracks that are beginning to form in Clinton's campaign. Chairman Reince Priebus released a statement Tuesday night directed at the Democratic front-runner:
"It is nothing short of embarrassing that Hillary Clinton has now been defeated 20 times by a 74-year old socialist from Vermont, and for the second straight week lost a state she carried in 2008. Setbacks this late into the primary calendar show her long track record of dishonesty and hypocrisy continues to alienate large swathes of Democrat voters.
"Whether it's her vows to decimate the coal industry, the FBI's investigation into her reckless conduct as secretary of state, or her support for a left-wing majority on the Supreme Court, Hillary Clinton has shown she is incapable of delivering the leadership our country desperately needs."
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