Coal mine canary perched on NY Primary

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders smiles as a bird lands on his podium as he speaks during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., on Mar. 25 (robot bird provided by ultra-secret Socialist Super PAC). AP photo by Steve Dykes.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders smiles as a bird lands on his podium, while he speaks during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., on Mar. 25 (robot bird provided by ultra-secret Socialist Super PAC). AP photo by Steve Dykes.

BY MAX BURBANK | “The Badger State.” “America’s Dairyland.” Or, as Wikipedia calls it, the state with “No Official Nickname.” Wisconsin. How about the “We Hate Frontrunners State?” What the hell happened there? Game changer, right? Super dramatic plot twists galore.

Wisconsin Democrats love long walks on the shores of two different Great Lakes, beer, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and, apparently, cranky old socialist Jews — a trait they share with the last seven states holding primaries or caucuses. You’d think that would cheer Bernie up a little. Conversely, you’d think the insurmountable delegate lead every single major media outlet insists Clinton enjoys, despite Sanders winning the last seven contests, would insulate her — but maybe not.

Both candidates seem a little stressed. Over the course of the last week, Clinton and Sanders have started to look a little like your parents. You know, still married, but only because of you, and starting to hate you for it almost as much as they loathe each other?

Design by Michael Shirey

Design by Michael Shirey

“I’m not certain your ‘Father’ has the realism and foreign policy experience to be qualified to remain married to the Democratic process. I don’t even know that he is a Democrat.”

“You want to talk qualified? Maybe if I was a Wall Street bank your ‘Mother’ would think I was too big to fail. The real question is, who are you kids going to vote for? ’Cause that’s the one you’re going to have to live with.”

The favored media narrative on the Republican side is that Trump had a pretty bad week leading up to his Wisconsin thumping. One might be tempted to say that Cruz “schlonged” him, if that wasn’t the kind of outrageously skeevy phrase mostly found in links to cheaply produced niche porn, where the use of anachronistic Yiddish slang potty talk is considered “hot.”

Big D kicked off his seven-day tumble by retweeting unflattering pictures of Cruz’s wife and repulsively threatening to “spill the beans” on her (an act no one wants to visualize), which he defended by telling Anderson Cooper that Cruz “started it.” Cooper, finally locating his AWOL journalistic spine, replied, “With all due respect, sir, that’s the excuse of a five-year-old.” Ouch. I think it’s the “all due respect part” that really makes it sting. I mean, if that’s all the respect Trump is due, he shouldn’t be running for treasurer of a Kiwanis bake sale, let alone the Presidency.

The Yuge One’s Campaign Manager/Enforcer Corey Lewandowski did his part to make things worse by getting charged with “simple battery” for yanking former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ arm like he was trying to start a balky lawnmower. Trump, abandoning previous claims that Fields was making the whole thing up for attention, now stated Creepy Corey had no choice but to rough her up ’cause she had this pen thing that could easily have been “a little bomb.” That’s in quotes because I didn’t “make it up for attention” — it’s literally “something Trump said.”

Apparently unsatisfied with the percentage of women voters who’ve come to like him less than E. coli, Trump finished the week by boldly stating that there had to be “some sort of punishment” for women who had abortions. Maybe Ivanka (aka the Marilyn of Trump’s Muntser family) told him he’d gone too far, as the next day he released an official statement declaring he had not changed his position on abortion, and then went on to completely change his position on abortion. He would never punish the ladies. Donald loves the ladies. It’s doctors that need to be punished. Unless doctors vote, in which case another statement might need to be released tomorrow.

"So we totally forgot about that whole 'register to vote' thing, but you guys didn't, right? Right? Boy, this is, like, the quietest rally ever." Photo via

“So we totally forgot about that whole ‘register to vote’ thing, but you guys didn’t, right? Right? Boy, this is, like, the quietest rally ever.” Photo via


It took the AP less than two hours after the polls closed to Call Wisconsin for Cruz, which was a yuge disappointment for fans of the D-ster’s late night infomercial/press conferences. I was personally looking forward to seeing Donnie crush that poseur Charlie Sheen’s world record for using the word “winning” the most times, and maybe buying a Trump Chamois Cloth or two. Because, maybe you didn’t know this, but they are tremendously absorbent, the most absorbent, really, believe me, you are going to be so happy.

So here we are, just days from the New York primary with a real nailbiter! This is an absolute must-win for Clinton, but also for Sanders. That means after New York it’s all over, or it would mean that if phrases like “must-win” meant anything beyond upping the word count in columns like this one.

For Bernie it’s all about the delegate math. He’s got momentum — but without winning New York by a comfortable margin, he has no credible shot of catching up, is what every major media outlet owned by a huge corporate conglomerate says. For Clinton, a loss in her home state would be a devastating psychological blow that would in no way keep her from winning the nomination, but holy crap THAT FRIGGIN’ BIRD! WHAT THE HELL? DID THE CLINTON TEAM SOMEHOW FORGET TO PUT A BIRD EXTERMINATOR ON THE FRICKIN’ TEAM!?

For the Democrats, screw policy, this comes down to one simple question: Which candidate is the New Yorkiest? The woman who 15 years ago made her home in the census-designated hamlet of Chappaqua, lured by the scenic vista of the Saw Mill River, the convenient access to the greatest city on earth and the siren song of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s ass vacating its long-held senate seat? Or the native son, Brooklyn born and bred Central Casting Jewish lefty who loved New York so very much he couldn’t even wait till he was 30 to climb aboard the express hippy train to Vermont?

“So the primary in your state is really soon, right? I mean, like, really, really in ‘live to see the day’ soon?” Photo via

“So the primary in your state is really soon, right? I mean, like, really, really soon…as in ‘live to see the day’ soon?” Photo via

A contested GOP convention, with its almost certain promise of Republican on Republican violence, suddenly seems more inevitable than just a tantalizing possibility! That pretty much has to be the story, because it’s Ratings Crack, a needle of pure pharmaceutical adrenaline plunged through the chest wall and into the fibrillating heart of Big News! Hell, it could give papers, actual physical, hold ’em in your hand NEWSPAPERS another three months off the respirator!

But what about we get a grip for a second? Breathe. Trump isn’t just going to win New York, he’ll win it so, so big, the biggest really, you’ll have such a big win, believe me. Because Cruz. It is scientifically impossible to calculate the degree to which New Yorkers despise Ted Cruz. This love child of a bowl of Cream of Wheat and some sort of smug-ass, hairless guinea pig was already DOA in the Empire State before that whole “New York Values” thing. And just what the hell is that, anyway? Is it Republican Bastard Code for Jews or LGBTs? Do his strategists have some grand scheme wherein losing every single vote in New York State is strategically advantageous? Someone needs to tell Cruz the New York Primary isn’t a game of Friggin’ Hearst, you can’t shoot the moon.

In a few days, all the pundit bluster about Ol’ Tiny Hands having leveled off on crazy votes will be drowned out by a Trump victory press conference/rally/product trade show/frat party so gigantically crass, vulgar and terrifying, it will make all previous Trumpstravaganzas look like a Kasich rally.

Kasich. Kasich?

You know, that other guy still running for the Republican nomination? Never mind. You’ll remember him on the 20th, because he’ll be the guy that doesn’t win but gets every single delegate that doesn’t go to Trump when not even one New Yorker votes for Cruz.


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