Republican frontrunner Donald Trump told thousands of supporters in Terre Haute, Indiana that if he wins the Hoosier State, he will effectively have won the Republican presidential nomination.
“If we win Indiana, it’s over … and we can go on to Crooked Hillary,” he said, to cheers, using the new nickname he has coined for the former Secretary of State. Clinton is closing in on a delegate majority in the Democratic race, though Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) only a few points behind in Indiana polls.
Trump predicted confidently that he would, by the end of the California primary on June 7, reach the 1,237 delegates needed to claim an outright majority on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July — though he added that it would be “unfair” if he were to be denied the nomination if he came “one or two” delegates short, given that the field had started with seventeen candidates.
He also mocked rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), whom he said had “no path,” along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. By the time the delegates gathered in Cleveland, Trump said, he would have “five or six million” more votes than Cruz.
And Cruz’s vaunted political operation was less than meets the eye, Trump said. Rather than the methodical, grass-roots effort it appeared to be, Trump said, the Cruz delegate campaign was merely a matter of wining and dining political operatives. He pointed to the contrast in crowd sizes between his and Cruz’s rallies in California.
Trump addressed economic issues, particularly trade — a salient issue in Indiana, where the Carrier air conditioning company’s decision to move its plant from Indiana to Mexico has been a repeated talking point for the billionaire on the stump.
“We’re going to bring jobs back to Indiana and to every other place in our country,” Trump told the rally.
Trump also touched on foreign policy, taking an explicitly pro-Israel line — perhaps to compete with Trump, who has made his support for America’s foremost Mideast ally a centerpiece of his speeches and presentations in Indiana and elsewhere.
While reiterating his support for a “smart” peace process, Trump spoke about how Israelis wanted to make peace, and many Palestinians did not, having been raised since childhood to hate the other side.
Much of the rest of Trump’s speech was familiar political braggadocio — and though many of the attendees had likely heard it before, it remains entertaining to Trump’s fans, partly because he spends so much time bantering back and forth with them.
Conventional political tactics hold that a candidate should arrive late to rallies — the better to create an air of mystique around the candidate, and increase the crowd’s anticipation — and spend no more than 15-20 minutes at the podium.
Trump, in contrast, begins his rallies punctually and spends an hour or more in front of the audience.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.