On Thursday, having spoken to a number of unbound delegates who pledged their alliance to then-presumptive nominee Donald Trump, the Associated Press announced that Trump has surpassed the delegates needed for the Republican nomination. It's a shock, but not a surprise; after all, Trump is the lone candidate left in the GOP field, and "presumptive nominee" essentially translates to "individual who will presumably be the party's nominee." Therefore, everybody — including Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and her lone opponent, Bernie Sanders — assumed that Trump would be representing the GOP come November.
Now, it's official: A contested convention would now be unprecedented, considering that Trump has jumped through all the hoops the party had insisted on for its nominee. For all intents and purposes, Donald Trump is now the GOP nominee.
The news makes the past year's Trump-fest — a parade of sexist comments, backtracking and flip-flopping, and establishing himself as the self-funded, anti-establishment alternative to former presumptive frontrunner like Jeb Bush — all too real. Speaking to a number of unbound delegates, the Associated Press officially called it: Donald Trump has 1,238 delegates. He needed 1,237 to reach the party's gold standard for nomination pre-RNC convention.
In the past few months, as Trump swept the primaries and his former tough-to-beat candidates — Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie — dropped out with their tails behind their legs, noting that they couldn't possibly compete with a candidate with that degree of popular support, the party of Ronald Reagan has panicked. Some party elites suggested finding a last-minute candidate to swoop in and take Trump's crown; others openly derided him or flat-out refused to support him, like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and Lindsey Graham.
Throughout May, however, the party has grudgingly begun to line up behind Trump. with House Speaker Ryan and Trump meeting in private in an attempt to work out their differences. His critics within the party have become less vocal in their support of him, at least publicly, and as the stage narrows to a Clinton vs. Trump showdown, the party seems to have decided what side it would rather be on.
It is just about impossible for Sanders to clinch the Democratic nomination at this point, meaning that we better get ready for an epic showdown that'll last until the end of the year. Donald Trump is essentially the GOP nominee, and Clinton will be the Democrats'.