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[WASHINGTON] Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Ted Cruz both scored weekend victories against their front-running rivals in a tightening race as the two major parties prepare to pick their White House nominee.
Mr Cruz, the Texas Senator, chipped away at Donald Trump's lead by taking all 13 Colorado delegates at stake in a state Republican convention Saturday, notching his fourth win in a row against the brash billionaire with 10 days to go until a pivotal primary in New York.
"Today was another resounding victory for conservatives, Republicans, and Americans who care about the future of our country," said the arch-conservative Mr Cruz, who had already swept the previous 21 delegates at play in Colorado through a series of county elections.
Looking ahead to the next milestone in the nomination race, Mr Trump sought to play up his credentials as a New Yorker on Saturday with a visit to the September 11 Memorial Museum - seizing the chance to roundly criticize Mr Cruz for his dismissive talk of "New York values".
Mr Cruz meanwhile urged the party to rally around him as the only candidate able to beat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, warning at a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering on Saturday that Mr Trump would face a "bloodbath" in November's general election, US media reported.
Although Mr Trump leads the Republican primary race, he is projected to lose in a landslide in a general election matchup against either Mrs Clinton or her Democratic rival Mr Sanders.
But the prospect - however slim - of him winning the highest office in the land prompted the Boston Globe to take a stand on Sunday with a withering satire on what a Trump presidency might look like.
"This is Donald Trump's America," wrote the editors of the Globe, whose ideas section included a spoof front page dated April 9, 2017, complete with reports on mass deportations, riots in the streets and trade wars with Mexico and China.
"Donald J Trump's vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American," warned the paper in a scathing editorial.
Mr Sanders meanwhile pulled off a surprise win over rival Hillary Clinton in the Wyoming caucuses, his eighth victory in the last nine contests, and the last vote before New York's pivotal primary on April 19.
Although party rules in the overwhelmingly Republican state meant Mr Sanders barely put a dent in Mrs Clinton's more than 200-delegate lead, the victory kept up the momentum for the Vermont senator, who calls himself a democratic socialist.
Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, he said, "We are closing the gap in New York and Pennsylvania. In California. I am feeling really great, and I believe that we have a real path to victory, and that at the end of the day, we're going to win this."
Mr Sanders - who locked horns with his rival Mrs Clinton over trade and the "Panama Papers" scandal this week - played down their increasingly personal barbs over who is more qualified to be president, saying Mrs Clinton "has enormous experience."
But he repeated questions about her judgment, criticizing her support for the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and her failure to support Wall Street reform following the global financial crisis in 2008.
He also raised his central criticism of Mrs Clinton's corporate support.
"We're talking about tens of millions of dollars through her super-PAC from every special interest that you can think of from the billionaire class," he told CNN.
"I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make."
Mrs Clinton on Sunday also played down the personal tone of her exchanges with Mr Sanders, telling CNN, "I don't have anything negative to say about him."
Both Democrats are campaigning hard in New York - Mrs Clinton as a former senator from the state and Mr Sanders as a native of Brooklyn.
"Our message is resonating," Mr Sanders told CBS on Sunday. "People really are tired of establishment politics, establishment economics."
However, it would take a remarkable turnaround for him to win the nomination over Mrs Clinton, a former first lady and secretary of state who goes into the New York primary as heavy favorite to extend her lead in the overall race.
She leads Mr Sanders 54-42 per cent among likely Democratic voters in the state, according to Quinnipiac University polls.
New York City, America's largest metropolis and one of its most diverse, has demographics that play well to Mrs Clinton's support base among the wealthy and minorities.
Mr Sanders, who has called for nothing short of "revolution", has attracted a large part of the youth vote, but he is faring poorly in comparison with Mrs Clinton among African Americans in particular.