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Why does the New York Primary matter?

The pivotal New York primaries are now over with Trump and Clinton as the victors. The Interel Washington Group's Peter Peyser, a native New Yorker, shares his on-the-ground insights on why the New York primaries are so important in this election season.

New York is called the “Empire State,” but it hasn’t been the largest US state since the late 1960’s. Now it is the fourth largest state. But because it contains the nation’s largest city – which is also the media capital and financial capital – it receives more attention than it might otherwise. Add to that the fact that this primary comes at a time when both nominating contests are still hotly contested and the results on NY take on an outsized importance.

New York voters also put candidates to a test like none others.  Candidates must pass cultural tests in addition to political ones. Eating pizza with a fork? Definitely a problem. Not knowing how to get into the subway system? Problematic.  All the candidates in this primary have had difficulty passing these tests. The pressure cooker of the last two weeks has tested the candidates more intensely than they have been so far.

The two winners – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – passed the test by being “real New Yorkers”. Trump, the rambunctious, take-no-guff version. Clinton,  the unflappable, I’ve-seen-it-all type.

Among the losers, Democrat Bernie Sanders appeared a bit unhinged by the pressure. On the Republican side Ted Cruz never lived down his earlier criticism of ” New York values ” and John Kasich seemed like a fish out of water (he’s the one who ate pizza with a fork.)

The New York primary may be viewed as the one where the two leaders solidified their position. It will certainly prove to be the one where they passed a test as challenging as the ones they may sometime face as a President.


Peter A. Peyser

Peyser Associates LLC

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