Tom Goodenough

Republican nomination within Trump’s grasp

Republican nomination within Trump’s grasp
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English National Opera, in rep until 14 March


Silent Opera, in rep until 8 March

Every time we write Donald Trump off in the race for the Republican nomination, he seems to bounce back. Last night's huge win in five states showed him doing just that and arguably doing so in the most resounding way so far. Trump is now calling himself the 'presumptive nominee' having beaten his rival Ted Cruz in Conneticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. He told his supporters:

'It's amazing what has been happening, the crowds we have been having are record-breaking crowds. The best way to beat the system is to have evenings like this, where you get record-setting votes and delegates. I use the analogy of the boxer: when the boxer knocks out the other boxer you don't have to wait for the decision. We have millions more votes than Cruz.'

His fighting talk is aimed squarely at one thing: making it as difficult as he can for the Republican party to pull a fast one on him. By writing off Cruz in his victory speeches, Trump is ensuring that the GOP know there is no way he'll go quietly if they somehow attempt to opt for Cruz in his place. And to be fair to the Donald, he now has 950 delegates compared to Cruz's 560 - meaning that it is difficult to imagine how Trump will not end up as the Republican nominee.

Perhaps even more remarkably, Trump is also doing his best to engage in a charm offensive. He said he thought the Democrats had treated Bernie Sanders 'very badly'. He also thanked the media in his victory speech last night, saying they had been 'really fair' over the last few weeks. We're now seeing a Donald Trump who is doing his best to appear magnanimous in victory and is now working on making himself appear palatable to the electorate as a whole. Whether he manages to do that seems unlikely but what does seem more clear is that Trump's path to the Republican nomination now looks all but certain.

All eyes are now on next week's primary in Indiana. Ted Cruz has said the contest there is on 'more favourable ground'. But the Texas senator knows that defeat there will now spell only one thing: Donald Trump guaranteeing himself the Republican nomination.