Washington, DC: Donald J. Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday, May 1st, with a landslide win in Indiana that drove his principal opponents, Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich of Ohio from the race and cleared the way for the polarizing, populist outsider to take control of the party.
After months of sneering dismissals and expensive but impotent attacks from Republicans fearful of his candidacy, Trump is now positioned to clinch the required number of delegates for the nomination by the last day of voting on June 7.
In the Democratic contest, Senator Bernie Sanders rebounded from a string of defeats to prevail in Indiana over Hillary Clinton, who largely abandoned the state after polls showed her faring poorly with the predominantly white electorate. But the outcome was not expected to significantly change Clinton’s sizable lead in delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.
According to analysts, Trump’s victory was an extraordinary moment in American political history: He is now on course to be the first standard-bearer of a party since Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general and the commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, who had not served in elected office.
Trump, a real estate tycoon turned reality television celebrity, was not a registered Republican until April 2012. He has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, including his likely general election opponent, Mrs. Clinton. And, at various points in his life, he has held positions antithetical to Republican orthodoxy on almost every major issue in the conservative canon, including abortion, taxes, trade, and gun control. But none of this stopped him.
While some called for unity, many Republican leaders refrained from falling in line behind Trump, with dozens avoiding inquiries about where they stood or saying they wanted Trump to detail his policies or tone down his language first.