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US: Five states hold presidential nominating contests

Donald Trump is asking Republicans headed for Tuesday primaries for their vote if they don’t want to see a president who eats like rival John Kasich, “shoving” a pancake in his mouth.

world Updated: Apr 27, 2016 11:07 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
US Presidential elections,Donald Trump,Hillary Clinton
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.(REUTERS)

Donald Trump is asking Republicans headed for Tuesday primaries for their vote if they don’t want to see a president who eats like rival John Kasich, “shoving” a pancake in his mouth.

“I’ve never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion,” Trump said at a rally on Monday in Rhode Island, one of the five states holding nominating contests Tuesday.

“This guy takes a pancake and he’s shoving it in his mouth — it’s disgusting. Do you want that for your president? I don’t think so! I don’t think so! Honestly, it’s disgusting.”

Both Republicans and Democrats are holding primaries on Tuesday in Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania — called the “Acela Primary” after Acela, a high-speed train that connects them.

Trump had largely spared Kasich thus far as he was running a distant third, and last, in the Republican race. But he has since joined up with Ted Cruz to stop Trump, earning the tycoon’s ire.

Second-placed Cruz and Kasich have announced a joint strategy for the next bunch of nominating contests starting next Tuesday — that will see them get out of the way for each other.

They will take Trump on in one-on-one fights, hoping, tactically, to deny him the advantage of fractured anti-Trump votes that has let him win even without securing majority of the votes.

Cruz and Kasich’s strategy is not aimed at helping them win, but to stop Trump from winning 1,237 delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination before the end of the primaries/caucuses.

If he failed to get that number by June 7, when the last primaries take place, the race will be decided at a contested convention, where, Cruz and Kasich believe, they have a chance.

Trump leads the delegate count at this stage with 845, to Cruz’s 559 and Kasich’s 148. They need to get to 1,237 to secure the nomination from among the 733 still left.

While the Republican race is about stopping Trump, which is not likely to happen this Tuesday as Trump is set do extremely well, the Democratic race is about how long before it’s over. Front-runner Hillary Clinton is expected to win most of the delegates at stake, making it impossible for Bernie Sanders to continue, but he is determined to fight to the last.

Clinton leads delegate count with 1,428 to Sanders’s 1,153; their threshold is 2,382, with “Superdelegates”, who include present and past presidents, federal lawmakers and party officials. They are also called “unpledged” delegates who are not bound to any of the candidates, and are free to vote for who they like — Clinton leads this category as well, 516 to 39 as of Tuesday.

Indian American in the race

The Tuesday primaries will also determine the fate of Indian American Kumar Barve, who is seeking the Democratic party nomination for the House of Representatives from Maryland.

Barve, a member of the Maryland state House of Delegates since 1991, is seeking the party ticket from congressional district 8, which is a safe Democratic seat.

Whoever wins the nomination stands to easily win in the general election in November. For Democrats, thus, the Tuesday primary is the big election this cycle.

Barve is the first Indian American ever elected to a state legislature in the US, in 1990. If he wins now, he will be only the fourth Indian American ever in US Congress, but he is in a tight contest.

Other Indian-Americans in the congressional race in 2016 include California attorney general Kamala Harris, who is running for US senate and Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Mary Thomas, running for the House of Representatives.

First Published: Apr 26, 2016 21:24 IST