Will those #NeverTrump hashtags turn into #NeverHillary… or should we say #NeverBernie? Give us your thoughts below.
By Eric Bradner
We’re in the general election now.
Donald Trump vanquished Ted Cruz, trouncing the Texas senator in Indiana’s primary and leaving Cruz to drop out, concluding that he had no path to the Republican nomination.
All that delegate math, the fretting over whether Trump could reach 1,237 delegates? Stick a fork in it: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared Trump the “presumptive GOP nominee.”
Here are five takeaways from Indiana’s history-making night:
Trump’s the nominee
Just eight months ago, Republicans were so worried that Trump would lose the GOP primary and launch an independent bid that party leaders pressured its slate of presidential candidates to sign a pledge to support the ultimate nominee.
Turns out, there was no need to worry about that.
After crushing Cruz by 16 percentage points in Indiana’s primary, Trump is now on course to easily claim the Republican presidential nomination.
The win was his most impressive yet. In a conservative, evangelical state, Trump ran a pitch-perfect campaign. He was bolstered by four legendary college coaches and a blue-collar message that was particularly effective because he began railing on the state’s Public Enemy No. 1, Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturer that’s shipping 2,100 jobs to Mexico, months before he ever needed a single Hoosier vote.
Cruz played the only hand he had, staking his fate on Indiana. But Republican voters have chosen Trump as their nominee, and Cruz’s departure Tuesday night means it happened even faster than Trump expected.
“I didn’t expect it, and what Ted did is really a brave thing to do,” Trump admitted during his victory speech in New York’s Trump Tower.
Does #NeverTrump really mean never Trump?
If Indiana didn’t break the back of the Republican resistance to Trump, it certainly left many of his opponents giving up — or at least easing up.
Mark Meckler, a tea party leader, said that “no matter your personal preference, Trump’s win in Indiana indicates a likely GOP nomination.”
“The tea party has been split evenly between Cruz and Trump up to this point, but if Trump wins the nomination, I expect most Cruz voters will support Trump,” Meckler said. “Most grass-roots folks I talk to have no appetite for an ugly convention fight.”
Katie Packer, the chair of the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC, said her group “will continue to educate voters about Trump until he, or another candidate, wins the support of a majority of delegates to the convention.”
Notably missing from her super PAC’s efforts: Ad buys in upcoming states.
Don’t count out every member of the #NeverTrump crowd. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a fierce Trump critic, tweeted on Tuesday night: “Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me. The answer is simple: No.”
And Mark Salter, the long-time John McCain friend and aide, said he’d back Clinton over Trump in November.