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Big Wins Send Trump and Clinton Barreling Toward Each Other

PATRICK HEALY AND JONATHAN MARTIN

Wednesday, April 27, 2016Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 8.37.00 AM

Good Wednesday morning. The election results of the five states voting on Tuesday, for which The Times provided live analysis, increased the chances that Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton would be their parties nominees.

Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton barreled toward a general election showdown on Tuesday night as they dominated primaries in Maryland, Pennsylvania and others across the Northeast, piling up enough delegates to close in on their parties’ nominations.

Looking past their fading rivals, the two even taunted each other in dueling election-night events. Mrs. Clinton chided the Republican’s penchant for harsh language by saying that “love trumps hate.” Mr. Trump, who has sporadically adopted a more civil tone, all but proved her point when he argued that Mrs. Clinton’s entire appeal boiled down to her gender.

“Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she would get 5 percent of the vote,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump had the more convincing performance on Tuesday: He swept all five primaries, winning landslides of more than 30 percentage points over his rivals, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio. His routs represented a breakthrough: He received more than half the vote in every state, after months of winning primaries by only pluralities.

The big night for Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton intensified the aura of inevitability around their nomination bids and created urgent new challenges for their rivals. More significant, it increased Mr. Trump’s chances of avoiding a fight on the floor of the Republican convention in July and of claiming the nomination on the delegates’ first ballot.

On the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont won only the primary in Rhode Island and fell further behind Mrs. Clinton in their race to amass 2,383 Democratic delegates to clinch the party’s nomination.

Mrs. Clinton, who took the stage at an election night rally in Philadelphia to “Eye of the Tiger” from the “Rocky” movies, predicted that she would return to the city this summer for the Democratic convention “with the most votes and the most pledged delegates.”