The Buzz

Winner: Trump. Losers: Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, and Kasich

TNS

Can we take a moment to mourn at the loss of our last best chance in a generation for a contested convention?

Certainly, the #NeverTrump crowd needs the time to grieve. It’s happening, folks. Deal with it.

Team Make America Great Again deserves to pop a few Champagne corks (even if the mogul, and brander of vodka, is a teetotaler).

We can now confidently replace “front-runner” with “presumptive nominee” when searching for boilerplate to place in front of his name.

Great for you, Donnie. Fantastic for the millions of supporters you’ve rallied. Swell for anybody who felt the Republican Party was due for a celebrity makeover.

But for those of us pining for grandest of political theater, the win given to Donald Trump on Tuesday by Hoosiers ties up the primary too quickly.

Instead of a contest, the Republican convention in Cleveland figures to look more like a coronation.

While us news vultures whine about the craziest convention that never happened, for Ted Cruz, well, super bummer, dude.

The senator’s recent troubles had been Texas-sized.

First, he and John Kasich decided to halfsies on some upcoming primaries. Cruz would plant his flag in Indiana. Kasich would chase votes in Oregon and New Mexico. That way, went the reckoning, they’d stand a better chance of denying Trump the magic 1,237 delegates needed to clinch before the GOPfest in Cleveland. Folks in Indiana apparently didn’t care for the deal. (Cruz’s Indiana loss also doomed Kasich, who was banking on somehow scoring at a contested convention.)

Then a big shot former colleague called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” and declared that he’s “never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch” in his life.

He rolled the dice and preemptively name a running mate, and the world mostly yawned. (Then she tumbles on stage and people pick on you for seeming to ignore her but what you did actually turns out to be completely cool.)

Then there was the spurious, but headline-grabbing story in the Trump-friendly National Enquirer that Cruz’s pop somehow was chummy with JFK’s killer.

It’s as if the signs in the Zodiac were aligned against Cruz.

While the votes were still being cast on Tuesday, he called Trump a “pathological liar” and a “serial philanderer. … It is only Indiana that can pull us back” from TrumpWorld. Indy didn’t tug.

Indeed, much of the old school GOP mourned rather than celebrated.

Recall that the last Republican nominee has lived in the heart of the now-vanquished #NeverTrump movement.

“The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level,” former John McCain confidant Mark Salter tweeted. “I’m with her.”

Her being Hillary Clinton. She’s been wearing the “presumptive nominee” sash for a while. She lost in Indiana — where Bernie Sanders needed to trounce her to revive his long-shot chances. So that’s a bummer for the Democrats. Not enough of a win for Sanders to give realistic hope to the party’s left wing, yet a setback for her that makes the months between now and November look just a little tougher.

The Sanders crowd thinks there’s still a fight going on. The candidate’s advisers have all but conceded that he needs a string of implausibly overwhelming wins to make the contest competitive. But Sanders still talks of a contested convention and his legions aren’t ready to surrender.

Gamblers

think it’s over

, giving Trump a 99 percent shot at the nomination, and Clinton 98 percent.

So the realists brace for what The New Yorker is calling “an election that threatens to devolve into an apocalyptic match between a bright-orange Bobby Riggs and a hawkish Billie Jean King.”

It also looks to be a fight between the proudly caustic and the painfully cautious.

Conventional wisdom, and the polls, show an edge for Clinton. (Betting markets have it 70/30 for Hillary.)The country is becoming less white demographically, which means less red politically.

Trump argues he can change that math. The smart money bet against him before. It’s not looking so clever now.

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