In the last four presidential elections, the Republican nominee has never won less than 90 percent of the Republican vote. Republicans won the popular vote only one of those times, in 2004, and when they did they carried 93 percent of Republican voters. Donald Trump has defied the odds before, but they are against his achieving this degree of party unity.
Trump has won more primary votes than any previous nominee, and he is going to add to that number in the weeks to come. But he will also be a nominee with a record number of primary votes cast for his opponents.
And to say the race has been divisive is an understatement: The day he clinched the nomination, he suggested, insanely, that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Cruz responded by mentioning that Trump once bragged about his close calls with venereal disease.
A lot of Republican officeholders — past, present and would-be-in-the-future — will rapidly endorse Trump, regardless of what they previously said about his psychological stability, honesty and all-around fitness for office. Trump’s numbers in polls against Hillary Clinton may improve as many Republican voters accept him as their nominee. (Then again, they may not, depending on whether Democrats quickly start running ads attacking him.)