Donald Trump stormed to crushing victories in all five GOP primary states last night in one of the best evenings of his campaign, marching even closer to capturing enough delegates to win the party’s presidential nomination on a first ballot.
“I consider myself the presumptive nominee — absolutely. Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich should really get out of the race. They have no path to victory,” Trump said last night at Trump Tower. “It’s over. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over.”
Trump easily won in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.
The massive double-digit victories reinforced his claim that he’s the only GOP candidate who can mathematically reach the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination before the party’s convention in Cleveland in July.
They also came days after Trump decried the entire primary process as “rigged” and after his only remaining rivals, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, teamed up against him, forming an alliance in which Kasich will let Cruz challenge Trump essentially one-on-one in next Tuesday’s Indiana primary, while Cruz agreed to pull resources out of New Mexico and Oregon.
Trump decried the arrangement as desperate “collusion.”
Trump also said he thinks Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders should launch a third-party campaign — a move that would split the Democratic vote and likely hand the election to Trump.
“The Democrats have treated Bernie very badly and, frankly, I think he should run as an independent,” said Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump’s path to 1,237 delegates and a first-ballot win at the convention is far from a done deal.
Besides Indiana next Tuesday, he still needs big delegate pick-ups in other states, like West Virginia, California and New Jersey, where he’s seen as a favorite. No matter what, the race is likely to come down to the final day of primaries, June 7, when 172 delegates will be awarded in California, 27 in Montana, 57 in New Jersey, 24 in New Mexico and 29 in South Dakota. Overall, 12 percent of the entire field of Republican delegates will be awarded that day.
For now, all eyes turn to Indiana — a huge wild card, where Trump could silence the movement to derail his candidacy and pad his lead even more.
Next Tuesday’s Hoosier State primary, with 57 delegates, marks the first test in the new Kasich-Cruz alliance, and a comfortable Trump victory there would be a major blow to their organized effort.
The latest polls show Trump ahead in Indiana by between 5 percent and 8 percent.
Trump plans to hold a rally tonight at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.
But before that, he may finally be ready to embrace a more presidential tone — despite warning last week that doing so would make people “very bored.”
Trump will deliver a speech “on several foreign policy issues including global trade and economic and national security policies” at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., this afternoon, according to his campaign.
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