I'm encountering a lot of theories about Hillary Clinton's big win over Bernie Sanders in New York. Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti sees the Sanders campaign in New York as a series of gaffes. I agree with Debenedetti that the Daily News interview in which Sanders seemed uninformed was a real stumble, but I disagree with him on the importance of the trip to the Vatican -- I'd need to see numbers, but I question whether most New York voters had an opinion about the trip one way or another, and I imagine quite a few were barely aware that it happened.
(By the way, only losers' gaffes ever make their way into analyses like this. Why doesn't Debenedetti mention Bill Clinton's embarrassing defense of the 1994 crime bill? Because Bill's wife won. If she'd lost, that would have been cited as a key factor, whether or not that was true.)
My feeling is that it just came down to tone. As the campaign went on, Sanders increasingly seemed to despise Clinton. His anger seemed personal. I wonder how many voters felt as if they were watching a rerun of every attack on Hillary Clinton since the 1990s. You can say what you want about her policy preferences and the choices she's made in her career, you can argue that she's too conservative and too compromised, but when someone pounds on her, she seems human and vulnerable -- and unless you loathe her, it's hard not to feel something in response to that kind of pounding.
The race seems divisive, but polls show that the vast majority of Democrats would vote for either of the candidates in November -- yet the Sanders message seemed to be that Clinton is history's greatest monster. If you were an older voter who'd ever felt solidarity with Hillary Clinton at any time in the past quarter century, Sanders was asking you to repudiate yourself. If you'd ever been inspired by the thought of Hillary breaking through the glass ceiling, you were being told that you were a dupe and a Wall Street pawn, so snap out of it. Sanders has a vision of a better America, but anger was pushed into the foreground. That might work with Republicans. It didn't work with New York Democrats.