WASHINGTON D.C. – Billionare Donald Trump bolstered his grip on the Republican primaries, and is now preparing for a general election showdown with Hillary Clinton, accusing the Democratic front-runner of “playing the woman card” in her presidential campaign.
Trump swept five states in Tuesday’s Northeast primaries, bringing him tantalizingly close to securing the Republican nomination against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Clinton, meanwhile, is now 90 percent of the way to her party’s nomination after four solid victories of her own.
The Republican race now turns to Indiana, where next week’s primary marks one of Cruz’s last chances to slow Trump and push the race toward a contested convention. While Trump does need to keep winning in order to stay on his narrow path to the GOP nomination, he declared himself the party’s “presumptive nominee” after Tuesday’s results rolled in.
“It’s over. As far as I’m concerned it’s over,” he declared. The real estate mogul now has 77 percent of the delegates he needs.
Trump’s victories came in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Clinton ceded only Rhode Island to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Sanders, in an interview with The Associated Press, conceded he has a “very narrow path and we’re going to have to win some big victories.”
In the Republican race, Cruz and Kasich are desperately trying to force a convention fight. The challengers have even taken the rare step of announcing plans to coordinate in upcoming contests to try to minimize Trump’s delegate totals.
Cruz spent Tuesday in Indiana, where Kasich’s campaign has withdrawn in an attempt to give the Texas senator a clear path.
“Tonight this campaign moves back to more favorable terrain,” Cruz said during an evening rally in Knightstown, Indiana.
Yet there’s no doubt the Good Old Party (GOP) is deeply divided by Trump’s candidacy. In Pennsylvania, exit polls showed nearly 4 in 10 GOP voters said they would be excited by Trump becoming president, but the prospect of the real estate mogul in the White House scared a quarter of those who cast ballots in the state’s Republican primary. – The Associated Press