Posted: April 26, 2016
PORTRAIT OF A PRIMARY
By Celia Cohen
Delaware looks like it was right to decide to have its presidential primary the same day other neighboring states were voting.
It was enough to attract three of the five candidates still standing to stop by -- even if they did it mostly because they did not have to go out of their way, so they could treat Delaware like a delegate-rich county of Pennsylvania or Maryland.
A state can dream, right?
Anyway, the proximity ploy worked, for all that it was worth.
Delaware got a case of the D.T.'s. It heard some B.S. It won an audience with the Queen -- sorry, at the Queen -- from H.R.C., that is, Her Royal Candidacy.
Donald Trump was in for the Republicans. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton were in for the Democrats. All but Ted Cruz and John Kasich for the Republicans.
Then the voters went out and acted like they also thought they were just another county. They voted on Tuesday like they were lumping themselves in with the other states also holding primaries, namely, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Trump won here. So did Clinton. It made Delaware part of the argument that the front-runners were closing in on the nomination.
Trump romped through Delaware with 61 percent of the vote over Kasich with 20 percent and Cruz with 16 percent. Trump carried all three counties, although he lost to Kasich in Wilmington among the small pocket of Republicans who live in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.
Clinton was also a decisive winner with 60 percent of the vote over Sanders with 39 percent. Clinton swept all three counties and the city.
In the other states, Trump was the projected winner in a sweep of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and Clinton was being called the winner in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut, with Sanders taking Rhode Island.
Going into the primary, Delaware was the black hole of voting -- nothing but a single robo-poll, showing Trump and Clinton ahead -- but it hardly threw the political prognostication set.
That crowd also knew to treat Delaware like some other state's county.
Here is Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, which takes its name from the number of Electoral College votes: "I'll assume Trump is favored, based on his polling leads in Pennsylvania and Maryland."
Likewise, from the Crystal Ball, created by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia: "Given his northeastern performance so far, Trump's losing Delaware would be a considerable surprise."
In other words, this is one of those situations where the tail does get wagged by the dog.
The primary voting here showed itself to be a reflection of what the two parties have become, the Democrats going institutional and the Republicans going ideological.
The Democrats have turned poor Will Rogers on his head.
Not only are they an organized party, they are the establishment, churning out the winners for high office election after election, most notably, the governor, the senators and the congressman, and then the whole lot of them endorsed Clinton and she carried the state.
The Republicans went all Tea Party.
They have veered largely into movement politics, so naturally they delivered the state to Trump, the one-man business conglomerate who has run his campaign like a hostile takeover of the party.
If the borders are gone, and Delaware politics look a lot like politics elsewhere, the voters still have that small-state predilection to see the candidates for themselves.
Not that the primary would have gone differently, but Trump and Clinton went a long way toward securing their standing here by stopping by.
Tennyson, the famed poet, would have gotten Delaware all wrong. 'Tis better to have wooed and won, than never too have wooed at all.