INDIANAPOLIS – The stunning defeat in Indiana’s primary Tuesday all but secured the fate of Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s standard-bearer.
Trump won every age bracket among Indian Republican primary voters, all income levels and all education levels except those studying for post-graduate degrees, according to exit polling data.
"We want to bring unity to the Republican party,” Trump said in his victory speech Tuesday night.
Trump even won among evangelical Christians, despite a lackluster endorsement from Gov. Mike Pence.
“I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary,” Pence said last Friday.
But just seconds before that, Pence praised Trump.
“I particularly want to commend Donald Trump,” he said in a radio interview.
Pence tweeted the following after the results:
As a result of Indiana’s primary, Cruz and John Kasich were forced to end their bid for the presidency, just a week-and-a-half after teaming up to stop Trump.
“From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz said to a shocked crowd Tuesday night. “I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed.”
Trump, who said he was surprised by Cruz’s decision, called it a brave and great thing.
“Two questions,” Indy Star columnist Tim Swarens said. “Does the party rally around him now? Do these never Trump Republicans remain never Trump or do they go away quietly? Also, who’s going to show up uninvited in Cleveland?”
The other bit story line is what happens next with Democrats.
Bernie Sanders once again revealed holes in Hillary Clinton’s campaign, winning decisively Tuesday among voters 18 to 44 years old.
“I understand Hillary Clinton things this campaign is over” Sanders said Tuesday night. “I have some bad news for her.”
In exit polling data, 53 percent of Clinton supporters in Indiana said they believe she is trustworthy, although nearly three in one said they believe she will be the eventual nominee.
The question remains, though, if Clinton wins the nomination, will Sanders’ supporters back her?
“It’s where the passion in the party lies right now,” Swarens said. “And she’s got to tap into that.”