Like a basketball game that has been grinding along from one overtime to the next, this primary season seems to be finally reaching a turning point.
Cue the highlights: Here are my three things to watch this week in politics.
DRIVING TO THE RIM: Trump has topped the 1,000 delegate mark, and the symbolism is not lost on GOPers. He is now within range of clinching the party’s nomination with or without a strong showing in Indiana’s primary this week. For Ted Cruz, the clock is fast running out on his hopes of forcing a contested convention. If Cruz underperforms expectations in the Hoosier state, he may see many more party bosses easing over to Trump’s side of the gym. On the other hand, if that happens Cruz will have more time to work on his sports metaphors (see: “basketball ring”) or complain about John Boehner who called him “Lucifer in the flesh.” Which, btw, is a great band name.
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CLOCK MANAGEMENT: Many moderate Democrats have been quietly stewing over the Bernie Sanders candidacy, and I think they’re about to get loud. The unexpected surge of support for the liberal Vermonter forced Hillary Clinton to shift farther left than some strategists think wise. Now they want her to get back to her General Election game plan, which is all about the seizing the political center. If she hammers him in Tuesday’s vote, watch for her surrogates to renew their cries for Sanders to be benched.
THROWING ELBOWS: As predicted, the effort to Dump Trump on the Republican side has lost a good bit of energy in the wake of his latest wins, but that seems to have only inflamed the opposition among Democrats. In California it got rough as last week wound down with hundreds of protestors surrounding a Trump speech venue. I suspect we’ll see more of the same this week even as the candidate – as always, basks in the glow of the headlines that follow.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of My Year of Running Dangerously, and despite being relatively tall he’s not very good at basketball.)