Donald Trump dominated on Super Tuesday 2, kicking off the night with an early victory in the winner-take-all state of Florida that prompted home-state Sen. Marco Rubio to pack up his presidential campaign.
Wins in Illinois and North Carolina followed, and although Ohio Gov. John Kasich managed to best Trump in the Buckeye State, the billionaire businessman’s near-sweep on Tuesday has all but assured his position as the Republican nominee.
Can anything – or anyone – stop Trump now? In a word – no, says GOP consultant Jean Card, a former Bush administration official whose analysis appears on U.S. News.
“I think he’s going to be the nominee, and I rather think he’ll be the president,” she tells PEOPLE. “A lot of people in D.C. won’t say that but I can totally see it happening.”
Delegate-wise, Cruz has a pretty slim chance of stealing the nomination away from Trump. In order to do that, The Washington Post says, the Texas senator would need to win 90 percent of the remaining delegates, including the ones still up for grabs Tuesday night in Missouri and Illinois. Trump meanwhile only needs about 57 percent of every remaining delegate to be the nominee. There’s a possibility the real estate mogul could be blocked by Republicans at the GOP convention, Card says, “But I think it’s going to be really hard with the momentum [Trump has].”
“My gut really tells me that, in terms of momentum and public sentiment, I see him being unstoppable,” she adds. “And frankly I do see him winning the general election too because I think that there will be Democrats that vote for him, we already know that I see this guy quite possibly going all the way.”
GOP strategist Mark Pfeifle of OTR Strategies says Trump is now the inevitable nominee and establishment Republicans who think they can unseat Trump at the national convention in Cleveland are just setting themselves up for “extended denial.”
“The ‘never-Trump’ Republicans don’t want to hear it but the reality is that Republicans are, at some point, going to have to realize that it’s a Trump nomination. The only question is when,” Pfeifle tells PEOPLE.
“With tonight’s results, Republicans are setting themselves up for a long slog and they’re driving in two separate lanes – the establishment lane which is now just Kasich and Cruz, that’s been full of fender benders and off ramps and faulty brakes and a broken GPS, all moving toward a contested convention,” says Pfeifle.
“And then you have Trump cruising down a paved road with occasional violent outbreaks. And Republicans are wondering if this quote-unquote big win in Ohio can earn him a slot in the Cleveland collision course. But mathematically, I don’t see how Gov. Kasich or Sen. Cruz can win the nomination without the party changing the rules. So you’re going to have party bosses in Cleveland telling all those passionate Trump supporters that they’re guy isn’t going to get the nomination? They can try, but it’s extended denial.”