“I’m not going to spin last night as a great night for #NeverTrump movement,” says senior advisor Rory Cooper. “But it was also baked-in. We’ve been believing for several weeks now that he was going to sweep all those states and those delegates… That’s not going to be the case in Indiana.”
A general election showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump looks more likely today. That’s after the Democratic and Republican frontrunners came away with big wins in several Eastern states on Tuesday.
Click here to see WDET’s map of primary results across the country and an updated delegate-count chart.
Trump achieved a clean sweep, winning the most votes and delegates in five of the five states that voted. Is it too late to stop Trump, as some Republicans are working urgently to do? And how can a significant number of Republicans, including party leaders, go from saying “Never Trump” to “Elect Trump” to the highest office in the land?
Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson speaks first with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review political reporter Salena Zito about Pennsylvania’s primary, which was the largest on Tuesday.
Pennsylvania had 71 delegates at stake in its GOP contest, Zito explained, and 17 are bound to whoever wins popular vote. “The other 54 are basically free agents,” she says, noting that they can support whoever they want on the first ballot at the convention. Zito says she expects a vast majority of them to vote for Trump, in part because of his sweeping victory in the state.
On the Democratic side, Zito says Sen. Bernie Sanders did not expect to win Pennsylvania’s closed primary. But she says he noticeably changed his tone there to be less critical of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At the same time, Clinton changed her tone to sound more like the presumptive nominee.
Henderson also speaks with Rory Cooper, managing director with Purple Strategies, and senior advisor to the #NeverTrump PAC. Cooper, a hometown guy from Franklin, says he believes Trump’s path to getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to lock up the nomination before the Republican National Convention this summer is still narrow, despite his victories on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to spin last night as a great night for #NeverTrump movement,” says Cooper. “But it was also baked-in. We’ve been believing for several weeks now that he was going to sweep all those states and those delegates. There weren’t many surprises. Because, frankly, John Kasich and Ted Cruz’s campaigns weren’t heavily contesting those states… That’s not going to be the case in Indiana.”
Cooper notes that Trump has much higher negatives and disapproval ratings out West, where primaries head now. He says no matter what happens between now and the end of the convention, the GOP will face challenges in November.
“I think the Republican Party has frankly moved past the point of there not being hurt feelings at this point,” he says. ”The question is how are we going to try and protect our down-ballot tickets? The Republican Party has actually been dominant in state and local races… Trump puts that all up for grabs.”
To hear the full conversation on the #NeverTrump movement and Tuesday’s primaries, click on the audio link above.