All five races were called by 8:30 p.m. And Donald Trump kept everyone waiting. And waiting.
Hillary finished her speech, appearing in her most terrifying pantsuit yet; she calls it “The Black Mamba!” (Homage to MegaMind, Brad Pitt’s best movie ever.) And still no Trump. Bernie Sanders was probably still talking, his fans enamored in rapt attention, and high as kites.
Trump appeared just before 10 p.m. wearing his trademark dark suit and light blue “presidential” tie. Chris Christie stood stoically behind him. He called his wins a “massive landslide.” He stuck to his “collusion” line. He called himself the “presumptive nominee,” a term we’ll see echoed in the press for the next week.
Donald Trump has pulled off the greatest populist feat since Reconstruction. He swept into the Deep South like a Yankee carpet-bagger, and then took the Northeast by even a bigger margin. In fact, Trump appears to have beaten his pre-primary poll numbers in all five states: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland.
He called on Bernie Sanders to run as an independent (a nice dream for Trump, and possibly the only way he could beat Hillary). He called on Kasich to get out of the race (not such a bad idea). He went back to his original campaign launch speech, and traced back over history. He spoke of “consequences” for companies when they try to move jobs overseas (which sounds a lot like Bernie). He riffed on Hillary’s “stamina” (what Scott Adams calls his “linguistic kill shot“).
He’s acting like the race is over. Many people will believe–sincerely–that it is. With all those votes and all those delegates, you have to ask how could Trump lose?
Easy. Getting over 50 percent is an achievement in January. At the end of April, in primary season, it’s no mean feat. In fact, Reagan had well over 70 percent of the vote in a more crowded race, in more states leading up to late April. By the time May and June rolled around, Reagan was topping 80 percent. Trump is nowhere near that.
In Indiana, Trump is barely at 40 percent. He has consistently earned more delegates and benefitted from the winner-take-all states and congressional districts. For someone who said tonight that “I’m really good at math,” he isn’t getting the concept of what “landslide” means.
Regardless of what Trump says, what the press echoes, and what the millions of Trump Twitter followers relentlessly spew, the race is not over, and Trump is not the “presumptive nominee.”