Fat lady hasn’t yet sung her nominations

The old saying, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings,” is true for both the Democrats and the Republicans. A quick look at the state of the races will clearly show that the fat lady hasn’t even arrived at the building yet.

There is gripping drama in the Democratic race. Hillary Clinton is a galloping pacesetter, several strides ahead of Bernie Sanders.

Clinton increased her delegate lead by 40 percent last week. If she continues to win by the percentages she’s racking up, Clinton will enter the convention a stretch runner and a closer, needing only a few score delegates to cross the finish line.

It’s not enough for Sanders to win – he has to win big. Sanders had several near-wins in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. And while these photo finishes make good news copy, the “proportional rule” means Sanders split the votes with Clinton, effectively making those races a wash in delegate gains.

To get the nomination, Sanders has to take most of the remaining primaries by an average of 60 to 66 percent of the votes.

Coming up are five Western state caucuses (Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Washington, Hawaii), plus the Arizona primary where voter makeup favors Sanders’ populist message.

In the primary states that follow the Western caucuses, namely New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, Clinton will hit her home stretch stride.

These are the kinds of states in which Sanders said Clinton couldn’t compete well, but she just won in states like these with her victories in Illinois and Ohio. She also won a narrow victory in Massachusetts.

Clinton and Sanders are like heart lockets, split in half, yet fitting perfectly when together. Like steel on steel, they sharpen one another.

And like split heart lockets, they need each other’s supporters to be a whole. Each one has hold of an important constituency of the Democratic Party. By themselves, without the other’s supporters, it will be difficult to win in November.

Their debates are healthy. Both have honed their campaign skills, and each has better defined, tested and strengthened their positions. Most important is their mutual conviction that more jobs are needed, and that diversity and compromise are essential to bring that about.

The landscape on the Republican side is dominated by Donald Trump. He’s all but used the independent media as his own publicity agents.

Trump embraces bad publicity for the sake of attention. Being a bad boy has gotten him this far.

But Donald Trump is nowhere as close as Hillary Clinton is in leading the pack. Trump has created a myth – selling the sizzle rather than the steak – that he’s always a winner.

Yet, Trump lost his very first primary, in Iowa, and fell short of a grand slam in both Super Tuesdays. The truth is that Trump underperformed in the second Super Tuesday voter sweepstakes.

Kasich’s win in Ohio has made this a jockey’s race, where the outcome is determined by the rider’s strategic decisions, rather than hoof power.

Despite Trump’s hyperbolic assertion, “If we win Florida, it’s over; if we win Ohio, it’s really over,” the fat lady is even farther from the stage in the Republican race. There’s even a chance her performance will be cancelled.

It’s gobsmacking irony that the author of “The Art of the Deal” is twitching his nose like a frightened rabbit at the reality that he might have to make a few deals to win the nomination.

Trump loves playing the victim, such as when he says that if he has the most delegates, he must automatically win – or there will be rioting.

He’s embracing bad publicity. Maybe Trump will riot in his penthouse suite, but that will be about it. Not even Trump has enough money to pay the legal fees for a riot.

Ronald Reagan lost a brokered convention to Gerald Ford in 1976. Sorry, Donald, you win by crossing the finish line, not by giving it to the lead horse at the three-quarters turn.

The convention is the voice of the people. If no candidate has the delegates to win on the first ballot, then all delegates are released to vote their consciences. If Trump wants to win, he must keep his delegates, and persuade delegates pledged to Cruz, Rubio, Kasich and others.

There is no “Stop Trump” conspiracy; that’s merely more Trump-inspired media hype. Yes, a few super PACs are trying to slow his roll.

And there are pro-Kasich and pro-Cruz movements, and it’s fair game for them to do all they can within the rules to win. One would expect that the author of “The Art of the Deal” would do no less. Meantime, the fat lady can warm up her vocal chords.