When the history of this campaign is written, the New York and Connecticut primaries may be remembered more for what they did to Jimmy Carter's presidency than what they did for Ted Kennedy's candidacy.
Glorious as Kennedy's victories were, Carter's losses are the more important story. Carter emerged last night as a wounded front-runner, who has built a commanding lead in the delegate race but whose presidential foundation may be crumbling beneath him.
Kennedy's victories gained him a net of about 46 delegates on Carter. United Press International estimated that Kennedy would win about 193 delegates from the two states, Carter 143. That would leave Carter with about 747 1/2 delegates, Kennedy with 399 1/2. It takes 1,666 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.
The Democrats have now held 10 primaries. Carter has received about 2.8 million votes, Kennedy about 2.1 million.
The Republican story, despite the emphasis on George Bush's revived candidacy, is Ronald Reagan's steady march to the nomination. By early this morning he had picked up about 97 delegates in the two states, Bush had about 23, and John Anderson, who is flirting publicly with a third-party candidacy, had about 7.
Bush may be alive to run another day but, like Kennedy with Carter, he has a long way to go to catch the Gipper.