Our Woman in New York: Subplots Follow the Front-Runners

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 7.39.53 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Good Tuesday morning.

Though Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton are the favorites to win the New York primary, there are also some tantalizing subplots that could help direct the remaining stages of the races.


In 2008, the turnout in the state Democratic primary was at a high, with more than 1.89 million people voting for either Mrs. Clinton, then a senator from New York, or her rival, Barack Obama, then a senator from Illinois.

And more than 670,000 Republicans voted in a primary that, by then, was clearly leaning toward Senator John McCain of Arizona.

The likelihood of the Democratic turnout reaching the 2008 level is slim. But the Republicans could exceed their 2008 numbers given the enthusiasm that Mr. Trump has set off in pockets of the state, including Staten Island.

Black voters in Brooklyn

Large sections of heavily African-American areas in the city, particularly in Brooklyn, propelled Mr. Obama to victory in 2008. The votes were a shift in the black power structure of a city where Harlem had long been the center.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from central Brooklyn, was a key Obama backer in 2008 and is now supporting Mrs. Clinton.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s rival, spoke derisively during their debate in Brooklyn last week of her previous wins in the South, comments in which voters could hear a thinly veiled jab at primaries with lots of black voters.

A key threshold

Mr. Trump heads into Tuesday’s vote with a double-digit lead in the polls. The chances of his losing New York are remote, but his rivals, Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, are trying hard to keep his share of the vote below 50 percent to limit the number of delegates he can accrue.

The geography of victory for Mr. Trump, who barely campaigned in New York City, is also significant. Can he capture congressional districts in Manhattan, where Republicans are far from plentiful and are aligned more with, say, George E. Pataki, the former governor? If he can, it suggests he might still be able to grow support in the coming months if he tightens his message and becomes more disciplined.