WASHINGTON (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) — Sweeping all five primary states on Tuesday, Donald Trump told the crowd gathered for his victory speech that he believes he is the GOP's presumptive nominee.
It is a notion that has looked increasingly inevitable as Trump's delegate count climbs closer and closer to the necessary number he needs for the nomination.
Trump currently has 987 delegates of the 1,237 needed.
"I think this one is maybe the biggest of them all," Trump told supporters gathered to celebrate his big night "this is one decisive victory."
Experts reflecting on Trump's wins Tuesday evening agreed that the win is an important one for Trump.
"The sweep is important in that it fits perfectly the narrative of inevitability that [Trump] has been laying out," explained Glenn Altschuler, Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University.
"In my judgement," Altschuler said, the victories make it "extraordinarily unlikely that he can be denied the nomination even if he doesn't quite reach the number 1,237 at the end of the primary process."
Altschuler explained that of the delegates who are bound, Trump will be getting "all but six or eight of them."
"And I think it's quite likely that a significant number of the 54 delegates from Pennsylvania who are not bound - many will vote for him at the convention."
Altschuler noted that many of the Pennsylvania delegates have already said they will vote for the person who carried their congressional district and carried their state; Trump did both.
Trump, Altshculer said "was the clear leader in the number of delegates amassed, I would say [it is] unrealistic for the people who keep talking about a contested convention to conclude that unbound delegates will not vote for Trump on the first ballot."
"I think at the moment it's quite likely that if he falls short of 1,237 in pledged delegates, unbound delegates will make up the difference," Altschuler said.
"If I were a betting man, and I am, I would bet something close to my mortgage that there will not be a contested convention."
Noting the historical rarity of contested conventions, Jeanne Zaino, Professor of Political Science at New York University observed how the process seemed to be going as intended.
Contested conventions "have not been something we've seen for a long time," Zaino said.
A contested convention, Zaino said is "looking less and less likely," which is "keeping with American history."
"If you're a Cruz or a Kasich supporter or part of the anti-Trump movement you've got to be thinking it's very late in the game," Zaino remarked.
Zaino compared where we are at this point in the race to the time before Tuesday's primary results were counted.
A contested convention, Zaino said, now seems "less likely than 24 hours ago."
However, Zaino said Trump "still has a while to go."
Though Zaino said a Trump nomination is "much more plausible than I think anyone thought it was coming out of Wisconsin."
"There was a time not long ago [when] coming out of Wisconsin where people said it's almost mathematically impossible," for Trump to take the nomination, Zaino said.
That was not the case.
Zaino described the margins similarly to the way Trump did in his victory speech. People used to look at the margins Trump won by and say he wouldn't be able to get above 30 percent, and he did. Then the number was 40. Then it was 50.
Last night, he made it over 60 percent in Rhode Island and Delaware.
"You look at the map," Zaino said, "I think he has a much easier pathway to closing this thing by California."
If Trump can keep up this momentum, Zaino speculated he's in a "very good position to get to the 1,237."
If Trump doesn't reach 1,237, Zaino speculated Trump will be close enough that it will be difficult to deny him the nomination.
"I don' think the RNC has had a pathway," Zaino said when asked if there was a way for them to avoid a Trump nomination.
"I think the RNC and most of the Republican establishment is bowing and will bow to the inevitable," Altschuler said.
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"I believe they will support Donald Trump even though they believe that he is quite likely to be defeated and defeated handily by Hillary Clinton," Altschuler said, explaining that this belief stems from the idea that "the alternative is worse."
"If he is not nominated, the party is likely to implode. If he is nominated and loses the election the Republican establishment may believe that they will have an opportunity to pick up the pieces and keep the party in tact."
Asked whether the party would be able to rebuild itself in time for the next election, Altschuler made a historical reference.
"Parties have suffered damaging defeats and then regrouped and come back pretty strongly," Altschuler said.
#DonaldTrump and #HillaryClinton just moved much closer to a general election match-up. Trump swept the Republican primaries in five East Coast states on Tuesday, while Clinton won in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and Delaware, dropping only Rhode Island to #BernieSanders. Trump watched Texas Sen. #TedCruz and Ohio Gov. #JohnKasich form an alliance to divide and conquer states as they try to stop his march to the Republican nomination. He answered them with a 5-for-5 night and declared himself the winner of the nomination. More takeaways from #SuperTuesday 📲cnn.it/politicsinsta #news #politics #cnn
"Let's keep in mind for example that Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide in 1964 and [Richard] Nixon was elected in 1968."
Altschuler pointed out that "the fundamental challenge for the Republican Party really has nothing to do with whether Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is nominated."
"The Republican Party must address the changing demography of the United States," Altschuler said.
"They must understand that many policy positions of the Republican Party are out of sync with that changing demography," Altschuler suggested.
The Republicans, Altschuler said, recognized that "in the so-called autopsy they did following their loss in 2012, but they have proceeded to march resolutely in the wrong direction instead of addressing it."