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Odds shorten once again on a Donald Trump presidency

Opinion Piece

One of the most confrontational and unpredicted presidential campaigns of all time has seen Donald Trump being recognised as the presumptive Republican candidate for November’s US presidential elections.

Things moved quickly for Trump after his crushing win in the Indiana primary, with first Ted Cruz and then John Kasich pulling out of the race to be the Grand Old Party’s candidate.

Cruz and Kasich formed an alliance 10 days ago in a last-ditch bid to deny Trump the required number of delegates needed for the Republican nomination and create a hung convention, at which they could get delegates to switch.

Their effort has failed miserably and the consensus now is that nothing can stop the brash New York billionaire from representing a party he has basically taken over against its will.

The big hurdle for the Republicans is that recent polls show 67 percent of Americans have an unfavourable impression of Trump. He is weak among women and Hispanic voters.

A party review after the failed campaign of Mitt Romney in 2012 concluded that it needed to pivot to the middle ground. There are real doubts Trump can do that, and real concerns Trump as Republican standard-bearer could see the party lose control of Congress and the Senate as well as miss out on the presidency.

Trump’s triumph overshadowed the other big primary win, with the redoubtable Bernie Sanders upsetting Democrat leader Hillary Clinton. Sanders is still highly unlikely to win the nomination but he remains a thorn in Clinton’s side at a time when she would prefer to be focusing on Trump.

Both inside and outside the US there is a mixture of amazement that someone like Trump could get this far, and outright alarm at the harm he could do if he went on to occupy the White House.

Leicester City was given 5000 to one odds to win the English Premier League at the start of the season. Trump started his campaign for the presidency at a 100-1 outsider but betting agencies are now giving him about a 1-4 chance of winning.