My short bio: I've been covering the 2016 presidential campaign for The New York Times since January 2015. Before that I was a reporter at Politico covering Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, the 2014 midterms and the 2012 presidential race. Today we're talking about Super Tuesday, when a number of states go to vote, and the state of the 2016 race. ** UPDATE: Hey folks, I'm wrapping up here, but thank you for such committed reading and smart questions! **

My Proof:

Comments: 185 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

ThomasFinklehorn22 karma

Hello! I started following your twitter after I met you briefly before the Iowa Lincoln (or was it Reagan?) Dinner in Des Moines back when I was a student reporter. Of the reporters I read, it seems you and the staff at the NYT were the most measured/cautious to not treat Trump as a 'joke' candidate. Did you have any inkling early on that Trump was unlike other burnout candidates a la Herman Cain? To that point, I'm amazed that there are still skeptics within the media and particularly within the GOP that Trump can somehow be stopped - save a brokered convention - as he's now polling nationally at 49%.

maggienyt16 karma

Hi there - nice to meet you again! Since the first debate I have not thought treating Trump like a "joke" was advisable, given where he was in the polls and given his ability to command media and survive controversies that would have killed other candidates. I also never thought he was a boom-and-bust candidate like Cain because he was a known commodity well ahead of the 2016 campaign cycle. He's spent years being broadcast into homes of millions of people on "The Apprentice," where he sat in a leather chair and looked, well, leaderly. That said, I did not think he would be as dominant as he is now and was skeptical that he could hold this plurality win. I did not think even in November that he was likely to be the nominee. And I misread early on, when he first got in, how strong he would be.

Mesaros16 karma

How has reporting changed given the near fact-free environment we are currently in? Facts matter less than ever.

maggienyt22 karma

I don't think it's quite right to say facts have little to no impact. But I do think we are operating in a particularly post-truth moment, as my colleague Michael Barbaro wrote a few months ago. In this primary race, direct contradictions to what candidates have said have mattered little to their supporters in many cases.

b4ssm4st3r12 karma

I am working abroad in the UK and my coworkers have been quizzing me about the election process and why Super Tuesday is a big deal. I already talked about how it is what sets the stage for the rest of the election process but do you think there is anything else to add?

maggienyt11 karma

It's mostly that there are a number of states voting at the same time in different regions of the country, providing candidate an opportunity to prove the breadth of their support. In the case of Clinton, she hopes to basically squeeze Sanders' ability to prove he can expand support and make his path toward accruing delegates very hard. The same is true of Trump on the Republican side. But if Trump performs convincingly tonight, it is going to be very hard for Republicans in a divided party to stop him.

soricore2 karma

I'm one of those intrigued coworkers she mentioned. Although I work in the UK with /u/b4ssm4st3r I come from Spain, where the electoral process is incredibly different. How well would Trump need to do today so that he could after all become President? Is there a line that can't be crossed?

maggienyt8 karma

Trump can't become president till November! Before that he'd need to win the nomination, which requires 1,237 delegates. Tonight won't give him that, but it could give him a commanding lead in the delegate slog.

tochterauselysium12 karma

As it's looking increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, do you think the division between her supporters and Bernie's will be costly for the Democrats going into the general election, or will it be more like 2008?

maggienyt40 karma

I think Clinton's challenge is with younger voters, which has been clear throughout the primary. That's a challenge she'll retain with or without the current primary fight. But for all the talk of a rough campaign, the Democratic primary has been nothing like how nasty it was in 2008.

doncspinners11 karma

what's it like to work at a newspaper on election night? are there a lot of people shouting across the room?

maggienyt22 karma

Not really but there is lots of food everywhere.

The_Flo7610 karma

Besides Trump, is there anything that surprised you about 2016 election?

maggienyt19 karma

Great question. One surprise has been how little super PACs have mattered. Part of that is because they basically are only useful to air ads, and negative ads still have the most currency. But given the hype about how this was going to be the super PAC election, it hasn't worked out that way.

dimplejuice9 karma

Which campaigns provide the best rapport/access between the candidate and the media? Which are the worst?

maggienyt15 karma

Good question - few of the campaigns provide steady candidate access, and I think the definition of rapport has been changed a bit, since all of the candidates have run against the media in one way or another this cycle. Clinton hasn't taken questions from her traveling press in almost three months, which would have been unfathomable in her 2008 race. Trump does not routinely "gaggle" or hold press conferences, but he does take reporters calls with regularity. Cruz has held a number of briefings and so has Rubio.

letmeruinthisforyou7 karma

Hi Maggie, I've loved your work since the Politco days and was thrilled when you came to the Times. Also I love your Twitter! Thanks for doing this.

Question: At what point does the Democratic party start to get impatient with Sanders for not dropping out? I see little reason for him to drop out insofar as he can (re)cast himself as an issue/protest candidate. But, at a certain point, he becomes a distraction from the looming general.

How will people try to force him out of the race without alienating his base of support? And how does Clinton pivot to a general in the twilight of the primary, without seeming dismissive of him? Seems to me that this is the next looming issue in the Dem primary.


maggienyt13 karma

Hi there - I think we use the terms "Democratic party" and "Republican party" fairly broadly. I think Clinton donors and supporters have been impatient with Sanders for awhile, and I don't expect that to change. I think a lot of party strategists and senior officials are mindful that he won New Hampshire by a landslide, has a strong fundraising base and has galvanized younger voters. And so I think there is an awareness that, should Sanders not forge a path forward in coming states, there's a risk of turning off his base.

maggienyt8 karma

And thanks for the kind words!

GotMoFans6 karma

If Donald Drumpf Trump dominates tonight and it leads to him winning most of the delegates in the remaining races, how will the Republican Party handle it? Will the GOP basically concede the Presidency and focus on the House and Senate?

maggienyt4 karma

I think it's too soon to say how this will play out, but a great deal depends on his margin of win tonight, where he wins and what happens on March 15 when Ohio and Florida vote.

Sassamaphone6 karma

Do you see Carson and Kasich dropping out after tonight?

maggienyt11 karma

Carson has said he is staying in. Kasich also has said he is staying in, and his home state, Ohio, doesn't vote until March 15.

weelittlelad6 karma

Hi Maggie, Thanks for the AMA!

Do you think Cruz will drop out after tonight if his delegate count is lower than Rubio's? If not, how long do you think he stays in the race?

maggienyt11 karma

Hi there. I think Cruz would only drop out if he lost Texas.

LuminiferousEther_6 karma

When will the results be available? Also, does rubio have any real chance of getting the nomination if trump dominates as hard as hes projected to?

maggienyt9 karma

The first polls in some states close at 7 p.m. EST, so you can expect results to start coming in over. As for Rubio, the path forward for anyone is going to be hard if Trump does as well as the polls indicate he will tonight. Rubio needs to win Florida to keep going.

domah6 karma

What do you expect to happen at Trump's press conference tonight? Being speculated that he will announce the race is over, and no further debates (& possibly Rick Scott endorsement).

maggienyt6 karma

Trump hinted the other day at the possibility at one of his events, asking the crowd if she should skip the debate and then saying he would go. Fox News is hosting the debate, with Megyn Kelly, whom Trump has targeted for really aggressive and at times ugly criticism, one of the moderators. What Trump will do is conjecture, but he has skipped a debate before - and it was the last one that Fox News hosted, right before the Iowa caucuses. But if he wins handily tonight in a number of states, he may feel he has the power to set the agenda in a new way. As for Rick Scott, he all but endorsed Trump in an op-ed a few weeks ago.

maggienyt1 karma

Trump hinted the other day at the possibility at one of his events, asking the crowd if she should skip the debate and then saying he would go. Fox News is hosting the debate, with Megyn Kelly, whom Trump has targeted for really aggressive and at times ugly criticism, one of the moderators. What Trump will do is conjecture, but he has skipped a debate before - and it was the last one that Fox News hosted, right before the Iowa caucuses. But if he wins handily tonight in a number of states, he may feel he has the power to set the agenda in a new way. As for Rick Scott, he all but endorsed Trump in an op-ed a few weeks ago.

chad13124 karma

What is the Republican path to victory at this point? If Trump wins, some have already started to mull a third party and many say they won't support him. Will they just focus on down ballots?

Is there any chance of a big name third party run?

maggienyt7 karma

There's a chance - Mike Bloomberg is still considering it, and there might be others. But a third party run is logistically really, really hard and expensive, in terms of petitions to get on ballots. Trump could have a path to victory but the Duke refusal to disavow on CNN on Sunday - and while I know he said he had an earpiece problem, he answered Jake Tapper repeatedly and showed no evidence of not hearing the questions - will linger in a general, and makes it easier for other Republicans to criticize him.

ReginaldLADOO3 karma

Did you ever see any of Jeb Bush's pocket turtles?

maggienyt4 karma

'Fraid not.

angelo_mateo3 karma

How important are black/minority voters to Bernie's campaign? What percentage of these voters does Bernie need to capture to come out of Super Tuesday in a good enough position to challenge Hillary till the end?

maggienyt7 karma

Hey there - it's a difficult question to answer in terms of percentages. He'd have to have a much better showing than he had in South Carolina, where more than half the Democratic primary electorate was African-American. Sanders needs to demonstrate he's grown in support with black voters, who are key to the Democratic national coalition, if he wants to make the argument he should be the nominee.

moarbuildingsandfood3 karma

  1. Did Chris Christie's endorsement of Trump catch the Times off-guard? Did it catch you off-guard?

  2. Do you think we are watching in real time the destruction of the Republican Party?

  3. Which presidential campaign provides the best food for media at events? How about the worst? (you can answer for 2012 so you don't alienate any staff a campaign you are still covering).

maggienyt10 karma

I am going to field not all but a few of these. On Christie, we had been hearing for a few days that he was leaning toward Trump. But when a source called me at 12:10 p.m. on Friday to say they had heard this was happening, I'll be honest, it sounded too wild, even knowing what I knew, to believe. And yet, there we were an hour later. And campaigns don't provide food for media at least not the ones I've been at.

Pekingese3 karma

First off, I love your writing. You are one of my favorite people on Twitter. Second, do you have any advice for students who want to become reporters?

maggienyt5 karma

Thank you so much! Yes - get a job as a clerk or a copy kid at a newspaper, especially, if you're able, one of the New York City tabloids. You will learn a lot.

kangaroooooo1 karma

How did you get to work for the New York Times?

What are your predictions for the presidential race?

maggienyt2 karma

Hi - we are not here to make predictions, but thank you for reading!

2-3-41 karma

What do you think the likelihood is of Clinton offering Sanders the VP spot to help bring along the youth vote and consolidate the party?

maggienyt6 karma

I think not very high, for a number of reasons. But I am sure her campaign will try to make him a surrogate.

Genos-11 karma

What's the best thing and what's the worst thing about covering the presidential race this year?

maggienyt5 karma

Best is all the free pizza in the newsroom. Second worst is all the free pizza in the newsroom. First worst is the time away from my kids, who are not as little as they used to be.