Trump: If I win tonight, it's over

Fact check: Mostly true. Indiana has 57 delegates up for grabs in a hybrid winner-take-all allocation, and Donald Trump is 241 delegates away from securing a first-ballot victory in Cleveland. It won’t be over-over tonight, but with big states like California and New Jersey up for grabs on June 7th, it may be all over but the shouting.

Trump will be ready to reinforce his earlier claim of being the presumptive nominee tonight, unless a very, very shocking surprise occurs in Indiana’s primary results tonight:

Yesterday I noted the trend lines of the polling among Hoosiers, where Trump’s advantage in the RCP average has increased to double digits, 42.8/32. Politico’s Adam Wren tries to explain how Cruz managed to lose Indiana, which his campaign was convinced would break his way. Wren points to an attack Cruz made less than two week ago:

Everything seemed to be going well for Cruz, who gripped and grinned amid his biggest fans, wearing copious amounts of camouflage and Dale Earnhardt No. 88 hats and “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirts. As he spoke from the back of a red Chevrolet pickup truck, one could even hear a few “Amens.”

But then it happened.

Outside the diner, in a gaggle with reporters, Cruz unloaded on North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law. “There is no greater evil than predators, and if the law says that any man, if he chooses can enter a women’s restroom, a little girl’s restroom and stay there and he cannot be removed because he simply says at that moment he feels like a woman, you’re opening the door for predators,” Cruz told reporters.

The comments went over well with the Cruz crowd, but moderate Republicans watching Cruz’s comments on the local news later that night might as well have heard a record scratch—the amens replaced by sighs. “I don’t like any campaign that puts one class of humans against another,” a central Indiana Republican delegate to Cleveland who was turned off by Cruz’s comments, told me.

There may be some truth to the notion that Cruz didn’t understand the context of social conservatism in Indiana, but it’s simply not true that “everything seemed to be going well for Cruz” up to that point. Things weren’t going well up to the Cruz-John Kasich Marvel team-up, and they weren’t going well before Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his running mate. As it turned out, things were never going well for Cruz in Indiana, a point which everyone — including Team Cruz — appears to have missed as the primaries rounded the corner from the northeast to the Rust Belt over the past week.

After this, it’s going to look even more difficult for Cruz. Next week Cruz is expected to win Nebraska’s 36 delegates (no polling as of yet), while Trump is expected to cruise to victory in West Virginia for its 34 delegates. After that, the primaries mostly return to the coasts, with Washington, Oregon, California, and New Jersey combining for 295 delegates in mostly winner-take-all hybrid configurations. If Trump even gets 40 delegates tonight, he’ll need about two-thirds of the 295 delegates in the coastal states, a very achievable outcome thanks to the GOP’s rules on delegate allocations. And don’t forget that Cruz supposedly conceded Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich, who has little chance of standing in the way of Trump’s momentum.

So yes, it won’t be literally over tonight, but a big win in Indiana for Trump tonight means that Trump can probably start measuring the drapes for the convention in Cleveland.

Hot Air and Townhall will combine for live election coverage tonight! Join Katie Pavlich and me on a special edition of The Ed Morrissey Show at 6:30 pm ET, on Facebook Live on the Hot Air Facebook page and on Ustream! Hot Air and Townhall analysts will provide fresh updates and insight into the polling results.

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