May 3, 2016 at 10:03 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Sanders, Trump land big wins in Indiana
Indiana Primary, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donald Trump (R) were declared the winners of the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016. (Washington Blade photo of Sanders by Michael Key; Blade photo of Trump by Lee Whitman)

The Indiana primary on Tuesday yielded big wins for Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but while the contest made the real estate magnate the declared Republican presumptive nominee, it won’t halt Hillary Clinton’s march to the Democratic nomination.

On the Democratic side, Sanders won with 52.5 percent of the vote followed by Clinton with 47.5 percent. The results were deemed an upset because polls had showed Clinton with a slim lead heading up to the primary.

But after losses in the New York and Acela primaries, Sanders needed wins by staggering margins to overtake Clinton in winning the Democratic nomination — much larger than what he received in Indiana. On Sunday, Sanders announced his plan going forward is to compel unbound super delegates to vote in accordance with primary results in their states as opposed to backing their candidate of choice, although he admitted his path to victory is narrow.

According to Los Angeles Times, Sanders told reporters his win in the Indiana primary demonstrates he’s not yet out of the race and senses “a great deal of momentum.”

“We understand — and I do not deny it for one second — that we have an uphill battle in front of us,” Sanders reportedly said. But there is a “path to victory, although it is a narrow path.”

Meanwhile on the Republican side, major media outlets declared Trump the winner in Indiana immediately as polls closed at 7 p.m. based on exit polling data.

Trump won the Indiana primary with 53.2 percent of the vote, a walloping victory over Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who dropped out of the race after obtaining only 36.7 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich won 7.6 percent of the vote.

The victory means Trump can claim at least 51 delegates and likely all 57 delegates up for grabs in the state. The win also dashes hopes of political observers the Republicans would proceed to a contested convention.

In his speech after his win at Trump Tower in New York City, Trump was clearly headed toward the general election as he laid into Clinton, whom he said “would be a poor president” before citing a poll showing he has a small lead over the Democrat.

Trump criticized Clinton for comments she made about miners, saying she was reducing them to numbers, and blamed her for her husband’s implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s, which the Republican said has devastated the country.

“She doesn’t understand trade,” Trump said. “Her husband signed, perhaps in the history of the world, the single worst trade deal ever done: It’s called NAFTA, and I was witness to the carnage over the last weeks especially.”

Trump pledged to reverse the situation by forcing U.S. companies to stay in the country, saying outsourcing to other countries has resulted in unemployment, but that’s “not going to happen anymore.”

“We’re going to bring back our jobs, and we’re going to keep our jobs,” Trump said. “We’re not going to let companies leave. Now, if they want to go to a different state: Good luck, compete. But when they start going to different countries that in many cases are countries that devalue their currency and make it impossible for our companies to compete, that’s not going to happen, not going to happen, and if they want to do it anyway, there will be consequences, and there will be very serious consequences.”

Although Trump has built a reputation for demonizing minority groups over the course of his campaign, he sought to reach out to black and Hispanic voters as he reiterated his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We’re going to have unbelievably great relationships with the Hispanics,” Trump said. “The Hispanics have been so incredible to me. They want jobs. Everybody wants jobs. The African Americans want jobs. You look at what’s going on, they want jobs.”

Other goals Trump outlined in his speech were eliminating the $19 trillion national debt, getting respect from foreign nations, defeating ISIS and making sure people are “going to be saying Merry Christmas again.”

Following Trump’s win in Indiana, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus took to Twitter to declare the candidate the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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