Donald Trump Clinches Republican Nomination

Donald Trump now has enough delegates to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot.

Trump Nixon V

Thanks to a group of uncommitted delegates declaring their support, the Associated Press has calculated that Donald Trump now has enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination for President:

Trump, a political neophyte who for years delivered caustic commentary on the state of the nation from the sidelines but had never run for office, fought off 16 other Republican contenders in an often ugly primary race.

Many on the right have been slow to warm to Trump, wary of his conservative bona fides. Others worry about his crass personality and the lewd comments he’s made about women.

But millions of grass-roots activists, many of them outsiders to the political process, have embraced him as a plain-speaking populist.

Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and an unbound delegate who confirmed his support of Trump to the AP, said he likes the billionaire’s background as a businessman.

“Leadership is leadership,” House said. “If he can surround himself with the political talent, I think he will be fine.”


Cameron Linton of Pittsburgh said he will back Trump on the first ballot since he won the presidential primary vote in Linton’s congressional district.

“If there’s a second ballot I won’t vote for Donald Trump,” Linton said. “He’s ridiculous. There’s no other way to say it.”

Trump’s path to the Republican presidential nomination began with an escalator ride.

Trump and his wife, Melania, descended an escalator into the basement lobby of the Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, for an announcement many observers had said would never come: The celebrity real estate developer had flirted with running for office in the past.

His speech then set the tone for his ability to dominate the headlines with provocative statements, insults and hyperbole. He called Mexicans “rapists,” promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and proposed banning most Muslims from the U.S. for an indeterminate time.

He criticized women for their looks. And he unleashed an uncanny marketing ability in which he deduced his critics’ weak points and distilled them to nicknames that stuck. “Little Marco” Rubio, “Weak” Jeb Bush and “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, among others, all were forced into reacting to Trump. They fell one-by-one — leaving Trump the sole survivor of a riotous Republican primary.

His rallies became magnets for free publicity. Onstage, he dispensed populism that drew thousands of supporters, many wearing his trademark “Make America Great Again” hats and chanting, “Build the wall!”

The events drew protests too— with demonstrators sometimes forcibly ejected.

When voting started, Trump was not so fast out of the gate.

He lost the Iowa caucuses in February, falling behind Cruz and barely edging Rubio for second. He recovered in New Hampshire. From there he and Cruz fiercely engaged, with Trump winning some and losing some but one way or another dominating the rest of the primary season — in votes or at least in attention — and ultimately in delegates.

He incurred relatively low campaign costs — just $57 million through the end of April. He covered most of it with at least $43 million of his own money loaned to the campaign.

This is hardly a surprise, of course. With all of his opponents out of the race, it was only a matter of time before Trump went over the top in the delegate count. After his victory on Tuesday in the Washington primary, Trump was just 28 delegates away from clIf this recalculation based on the commitment of unbound delegates not happened, then he would have gone over the top when he won the New Jersey primary and the Garden State’s  51 delegates on June 7th. As things stand now, it’s likely that Trump’s final total will be well north of the majority he spent the past year pursuing and that he’ll have nearly 1,000 more delegates than his closest competitor Ted Cruz and that, in the end, Trump will be nominated by unanimous acclimation as has been the case at the past several GOP conventions when the identity of the winner was clear, rather than a formal ballot battle with Ted Cruz, who would be the only other candidate who would qualify to have his name put in for nomination on the first ballot. From there, we head to a General Election race that will no doubt be one of the most contentious and vitriolic that we’ve seen in quite a long time.

Leaving aside just for a moment all of the negative things about Trump, and as I’ve noted for the past year there are plenty of those worth keeping in mind, his victory here is certainly something that political scientists will be talking about for years to come. He is the first person since Dwight Eisenhower to win a major party Presidential nomination without having previously held elective office, and the first without any record of government service since Wendell Willkie in 1940. His campaign broke the mold of traditional campaign into so many pieces that one wonders if it will ever be put back together again by managing to win despite the fact that he raised and spent less money than his primary opponents, barely relied upon traditional advertising, and relied upon free media and large rallies in central locations rather than the more traditional forms of primary campaigning to pull off victories in, so far, thirty states, garnering more popular votes over the course of the primary season than any previous Republican candidate for President. That’s quite an accomplishment, and regardless of what happens in the General Election the 2016 Trump campaign is one that will be studied for years to come, not the least because it’s not clear that anyone who lacked the pre-existing media experience and skill that Trump has developed over the past 30 years could have pulled off.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. KM says:

    Goddamnit, there goes the neighborhood.

  2. Tony W says:

    I’m sure Mr. Putin is drooling at the prospect…

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @Tony W: So are the Chinese. Der Drumpf will be so easy to lead around by the nose….

    Oh well,

  4. grumpy realist says:

    An interesting article on the source of Trump’s appeal

    Sort of explains why Kansas reelected Brownback as well, no?

    Unfortunately, at some point no matter how you slice it, the con becomes obvious and even the resolutely gullible discover that they have to pay the rent–and you can’t do that on fairy promises.

    Trump: The Art of the Con. .

  5. michael reynolds says:

    The GOP will never get the stink off this off them. Lincoln to Eisenhower to Trump. The inevitable result of Nixon’s 1968 decision to reject civil rights and take the party toward becoming what it now is: a fascist white identity party.

    It is both vindicating and nauseating to watch the former moralists, the former ideologues of limited government, the former defenders of national security crawl like obedient slaves to kiss the feet of their new dear leader.

    You know, you read about this in history – the German industrialists who made peace with Hitler because: money! Or the Vichy French who collaborated because: power! And the legions of regular folk ready to fall in line behind any con-man who will turn them against a likely scapegoat. And you don’t want to believe that Americans can be this unprincipled, this craven, this fundamentally anti-American. And yet, there they crawl, kowtowing.

  6. reid says:

    @grumpy realist: Too many people seem to be able to be conned forever, no matter how clear it should be. Like you said, look at Kansas…. Or how quickly the Bush years were forgotten. I just hope there are enough others in this country to more than offset the rubes. Nationally, I think we’ll be okay. Locally and regionally, not so much, which explains Congress.

  7. DrDaveT says:

    I admit, I am going to take pleasure in pointing out to my serious Republican friends that, if they actually end up supporting Trump, they reveal themselves to be hypocrites of the first water. All of their alleged conservative principles turn out to be so much rationalization…

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Of course, “It can’t happen here…..”

  9. CSK says:

    Well, Trump’s “top aide” Paul Manafort told the HuffPo today that Trump would not pick a woman or minority v.p. because “that would be viewed as pandering.”

    Manafort also said that Trump’s v.p. would be “an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do.”

    So I suppose that means that Trump will occupy himself turning the East Room into a casino, putting a giant neon sign that says “TRUMP WHITE HOUSE” on top of the establishment, and hosting beauty pageants from the Rose Garden while the vice president does…everything else.

  10. Jenos Idanian says:

    So, anyone wanna place any bets on anti-Trump riots at the convention? How many? How many police cars will be damaged? How many arrests? Any deaths? How many?

  11. Jenos Idanian says:

    @CSK: So I suppose that means that Trump will occupy himself turning the East Room into a casino, putting a giant neon sign that says “TRUMP WHITE HOUSE” on top of the establishment, and hosting beauty pageants from the Rose Garden while the vice president does…everything else.

    If Trump were to promise to do just that, and he picks a decent Veep, I think I’d vote three or four times for him. Considering the last eight years, it’d be a hell of an improvement.

  12. M. Bouffant says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Show us on the doll where the last eight yrs. touched you.

  13. Jenos Idanian says:

    @M. Bouffant: (pointing at right buttock) Right there, in my wallet.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You’re so full of it. You don’t pay federal income taxes, don’t b.s. us. You may payroll texes.

  15. George Vreeland Hill says:

    Americans are taking advantage of this country and not giving back.
    Foreigners come here and they want their own way.
    That’s about to end folks.
    The free rides are over and you are going to respect America.
    Donald Trump’s presidency can’t come soon enough for me.

    George Vreeland Hill

  16. Kylopod says:

    Here are my thoughts about Trump as the nominee:

  17. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Any deaths?

    Perhaps your prayers will be answered, though decent people hope not.

  18. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Right there, in my wallet.

    It’s kind of hard to imagine any economy in which you are more than an HR Block/1040 EZ guy.

  19. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I think I’d vote three or four times for him.

    No one doubts your eagerness to throw a hummer the Donald’s way. Sorry dude, Marco Rubio is taking care of that…

  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: It’s kind of hard to imagine any economy in which you are more than an HR Block/1040 EZ guy.

    Normally I’d just ignore your gratuitous, technically-forbidden personal attacks, but I happen to have a certain folder open at the moment.

    2015: 1040.
    2014: 1040.
    2013: 1040.

    Juggling two jobs in the Obama economy makes things a tad too complicated for such things.

  21. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Kylopod: Interesting take. I’d offer this quote as another way of saying the same thing.

    “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

    That a pretty good summation?

  22. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian: There’s nothing unusual about politicians acting as ciphers to be read differently by different supporters, though I admit there is something almost post-modern about stating it outright. In the case of Obama, some supporters had a way of screening out things they disagreed with and pretending he never said them, similar to what conservatives do with Reagan.

    For example, I’ve encountered Obama supporters who seemed unaware he ever called for a troop surge in Afganistan, despite his being explicit and clear on this point during the 2008 campaign. But I never heard any of his supporters call it a “virtual surge.” That’s what’s so effing bizarre about many of Trump’s supporters: they seem keenly aware that at least half the things he says are unmitigated bullsh!t, but then they go on to pick and choose which things to believe depending on how closely they align with their own views. I’m not remotely exaggerating here; just look at the quotes I provided in my post. That’s why I described it as a weird combination of crass cynicism and blinding naïveté. It’s as if they’re saying, in effect, “I love the way he lies to everyone but me.” He’s not a blank screen, he’s more like one of those supermarket tabloids where each reader is convinced of their own ability to separate the facts from the fantasy.

  23. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Juggling two jobs in the Obama economy

    Ah yes, the horrible Obama economy, where there are enough jobs that even a person such as yourself can get two.

    No doubt you pine for the days before Obama, the Bush economy, when the scenario was “get laid off, lose your house, watch your 401k vanish”…

  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Kylopod: Just to be certain of the point: the quote I presented was from Barack Obama.

    And I think I found the best explanation for Trump’s success, and why he keeps succeeding. (Fair warning: the language would definitely not be accepted here.) Read it and see how many things said about Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney would also apply to our hosts here. Read it and see just how the tactics described are used by the commentariat here.

    Here’s just one taste, to entice you to go read it:

    Trump is immune to such Mean Girl persuasions not because he’s an especially courageous or wise man, but because he’s a narcissist and a bully himself. Not because he’s a good man, but because he’s a fairly bad one.

    But it doesn’t matter how he came to be immune to their power — all that matters is that he is immune to it.

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Your obsession with me and the personal details of my life are starting to get just a little creepy. I think I need to demand a Safe Space where I can feel secure from your constant attacks…

  26. An Interested Party says:

    But it doesn’t matter how he came to be immune to their power — all that matters is that he is immune to it.

    Indeed…that worked very well in the Republican primaries…not so much in the general election, although tell yourself that it will to make yourself feel better, just like thinking that Hillary will be indicted any day now…

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Just to be certain of the point: the quote I presented was from Barack Obama.

    Yes, and I was familiar with the quote and even considered including it in my post, but I ended up using FDR as my example of traditional coalition politics and how vastly it differs from Trump’s support.

    Here, for the record, is the quote in full. It comes from Obama’s 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, which I read, and I’m convinced 99% of the right-wing bloggers that cite this quote have not.

    Undoubtedly, some of these views will get me in trouble. I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views. As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all, of them. Which perhaps indicates a second, more intimate theme to this book–namely, how I, or anybody in public office, can avoid the pitfalls of fame, the hunger to please, the fear of loss, and thereby retain that kernel of truth, that singular voice within each of us that reminds us of our deepest commitments.

    Of course most of the right-wing sites that hone in on the “blank screen” line are essentially using it to imply that Obama is admitting to being vapid, when the full context of the passage makes it clear that’s not what he’s saying. That’s why I used the example of his promised troop surge in Afghanistan; it illustrated how even when he’s very clear and specific about his views, there are still going to be people who aren’t inclined to listen. In the case of Trump, his supporters are listening and are simply choosing to disbelieve him whenever he says things they don’t agree with. That’s what’s new about him.

    Finally, I’d like to ask: did you read The Audacity of Hope? I trust that you’ll answer honestly.