US election

Are we headed for a Trump vs. Clinton general election race?
The latest round of the US presidential election has seen big victories for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. So is it now all-but-certain that we are looking at a Trump-Clinton contest in November? The FT’s digital comment editor Sebastian Payne puts the question to Gideon Rachman and Washington bureau chief Demetri Sevastopulo​.

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Less than 24 hours after he was trounced by Donald Trump in the Acela primaries, Texas senator Ted Cruz made the unorthodox move of naming Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard boss, as his running mate – something that in most elections only happens when the presumptive nominee, which Cruz certainly is not, arrives at the convention.

Speaking in Indiana which votes next week, Cruz gave a few reasons for the move, including the need to “give the American people a clear choice”. It came across as a desperate effort to change the narrative after he lost his mathematical path to reaching 1,237 delegates – the number needed to win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention on Tuesday. Read more

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The race for the White House has moved to the northeast with five states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware – served by the so-called “high-speed” Acela train voting on Tuesday. In the Republican race, Donald Trump is hoping to build on the momentum from his big win in New York last week as he tries to reach the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid a contested convention.

To help understand the convoluted battle for delegates, we have compiled an explainer on contested conventions. If you’re confused, believe me you belong to a big club, including Trump who has been slower than Ted Cruz in learning the ropes. Trump recently brought in Paul Manafort, a veteran Republican operative, to help him win the shadow battle for delegates, but there are signs that the billionaire is unhappy with Manafort’s efforts to make him sound and appear more presidential. Read more

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Some pacts last forever. Others can barely make it through 24 hours.

While Ted Cruz and John Kasich valiantly announced late on Sunday night that they had formed an alliance to stop Donald Trump in Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico, there are already signs that this new partnership may not be working out as planned. Read more

Bernie Sanders brought his “Feel the Bern” revolution to Gettysburg where Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most famous speeches in US history. Playing tag-team with Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a rising star in the Democratic party, he recited part of Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address: “This nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Watch his speech for yourself.

Sanders frequently talks about the need to reform the criminal justice system. In Gettysburg, he lambasted a system that allows private companies to run prisons. He also reminded the packed room about the infamous “kids for cash” scandal in the state that involved a businessman who ran prisons bribing a judge to send more business – jailed kids – in his direction. Read more

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Fresh off the New York primary, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are engaging in a war of words… over restrooms.

On Thursday morning Trump was asked on the “Today” show about a recent bill signed by North Carolina’s governor which restricts transgender people to using public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. Read more

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The biggest political news of the day comes not from the campaign trail but from the US Treasury. After fierce debate in Washington, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that Alexander Hamilton’s face will remain on the $10 bill, appeasing fans of the award-winning Broadway hip-hop musical Hamilton, while the abolitionist Harriet Tubman will grace the face of the $20. Read more

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Umpteen New York pizza slices, hot dogs and “Victory” ice cream sundaes later, the five remaining presidential candidates are bidding adieu to the Big Apple. And some are more anxious to leave town than others.

While polls don’t close in New York until 9pm today, three of the candidates — Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich – had all fled town by midday, a telltale sign for how they expect tonight to play out. Read more

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Donald Trump is hoping for a big victory in the Republican primary in New York tomorrow to erase the painful memories of the past few weeks, which have included losses to Ted Cruz in Utah and Wisconsin. The Texan has also vacuumed up, and locked in, delegates in states in ways that will help him if the GOP presidential battle ends up in a contested convention. Read more

After a rough and tumble debate with Hillary Clinton on Thursday night in Brooklyn, Bernie Sanders flew overnight to Rome for a conference on inequality where he was scheduled to meet Pope Francis. Unfortunately for Sanders, whose trip cost him two days of valuable campaigning time in New York: the pontiff had to cancel the meeting to travel to Greece.

Instead of a photo-op with one of the strongest voices for tackling inequality, Sanders ended up sitting beside Evo Morales, the leftist president of Bolivia, whose appearance in the same shot probably does not help Sanders an awful lot with American voters. Read more

Donald Trump has had a tough few weeks. He was hammered in Utah and Wisconsin and failed to win any delegates in Colorado which has a complicated multi-tiered electoral process that the tycoon says shows that the system is “rigged” against outsiders like him. But he is heading into the New York primary on Tuesday with a commanding lead of more than 30 points over John Kasich and roughly 35 points over his main rival, Ted Cruz. Trump also learned today that Florida prosecutors have decided not to prosecute his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who had beencharged with “battery” for allegedly manhandling a female reporter at a rally.

Cruz appeared with his wife Heidi, a Goldman Sachs banker, and their two young daughters at a CNN town-hall debate last night. The presence of the children helped humanise Cruz who is sometimes compared to a vampire and has almost no friends in Washington. This is just one of the jokes about Cruz in the US capitol: “Why do people take an instant dislike to Ted Cruz? Because it saves time!” Read more

Welcome to the Scottish edition of #Trumpistan. Donald Trump is busy wooing the people of Scotland. The tycoon, whose mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, this week penned his inaugural column for The Press and Journal, a newspaper in Aberdeen, near where he built a controversial golf course.

“When I just arrived on the scene in Aberdeen, the people of Scotland were testing me to see just how serious I was – just like the citizens of the United States have done about my race for the White House,” writes Trump, before continuing with, “I had to win them over … Well, Scotland has already been won – and so will the United States.” Read more

Paul Ryan, the popular House Speaker, poured cold water on the idea that he would rescue his party from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the main rivals for the Republican nomination, at July’s convention in Cleveland. Trying to end speculation about his ambitions, he said he would not accept the nomination should the Republican race end up being decided by a contested convention in July.

“Let me be clear. I do not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party,” the 46-year old Wisconsin congressman declared following a trip to the Middle East where he was repeatedly quizzed about the 2016 race. Read more

Donald Trump has a big poll lead in New York ahead of the April 19 primaries in the Empire State. But the mogul revealed on Monday that he has already lost the votes of two key supporters: his children Ivanka and Eric. The pair were not registered as Republicans and failed to meet the registration deadline. “They had a long time to register, and they were, you know, unaware of the rules, and they didn’t register in time,” Trump told Fox News. “So they feel very, very guilty.” Watch the interview in which he also poured cold water on suggestions that he would pick Ivanka as his VP.

Trump lashed out at the GOP electoral process after Ted Cruz won most of the delegates in Colorado over the weekend. The Texas senator notched up 34 delegates in the state where voters are excluded from a process in which party members pick the representatives that will head to the Republican convention in Cleveland. “That is not the way that democracy is supposed to work,” Trump railed. “The system is rigged. It is crooked.” Read more

We know that Pope Francis was unimpressed with Donald Trump after the pontiff accused the mogul of not being Christian because of his stance on immigration and wanting to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. But is the Pontiff leaning towards Bernie Sanders? The Vermont senator announced with pride on Friday that the Vatican has invited him to speak at a conference about social and economic issues – one of his signature subjects. But it turned out the invitation did not come from Pope Francis himself, so we might have to hold our breath a little longer. The Vatican story was a nice break for Sanders who has spent much of this week trying to explain why he was unable to explain one of his main goals – to break up the banks. Here is our story on what Sanders wants to do.

The Democrats and Republicans are focusing on New York, which holds its primary on April 19. Trump is back in force on Twitter after recovering from his disappointing loss to Ted Cruz in Wisconsin. He reminded people on Friday that running for president is not the only thing he does every day. “So great to be in New York. Catching up on many things (remember, I am still running a major business while I campaign) and loving it!” Read more

The 2016 political circus is travelling to the Big Apple, and some candidates are surviving the move better than others. On Thursday, Ted Cruz got a Bronx cheer from the New York Daily News. “Honey, how do we get out of the Bronx…Take the F-U Train, Ted!” read the paper’s front page, emblazoned with a photograph of Cruz and his wife Heidi. Read more

Donald Trump had a terrible night on Tuesday, although you would not know that from his Twitter feed, which went uncharacteristically dark for hours after it emerged that Ted Cruz had crushed him in Wisconsin, aka the Badger State. Looking beyond the headline results should make the tycoon even more concerned, as his Texas rival has started making inroads into some groups – lower-educated and lower-income voters – that had been fertile terrain for Mr Trump.

The creator of this Trump colouring book may need to add some kryptonite to the superhero image of the billionaire on the cover. As for Mr Cruz’s image, he likes to make a virtue out of the fact that he is anti-establishment (which has inspired T-shirts like this), but the Texan may need to change his tune now that the establishment is coming on board to defeat Trump. Read more

After a 10-day lull in the primary calendar, we are back to the races with Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries in Wisconsin. Over the past week, the parties’ contenders have fought it out in Wisconsin, aka “America’s Dairyland” – a key battleground. Read more

Donald Trump is clearly not satisfied with simply being the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. Watch the video he tweeted out today, which suggests that he sees himself as Luke Skywalker. His Republican opponents, who are scared stiff that he will destroy the party, might prefer to say Anakin Skywalker.Trump is facing the prospect of losing to Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. That would increase the odds of a contested convention in July, which in turn would raise GOP hopes that the establishment could parachute in someone to save the party. Increasingly, the whispers in Washington are about Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has denied wanting the job, but has chastised Trump on several occasions recently. Read more

April Fools! These aren’t your real candidates. Oh, wait.

For every 2016-themed April Fools meme dominating the internet, there is yet another reminder that this campaign is very much for real. Read more