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@FactsOnly: The GOP Nominee Seems Set, And The Establishment Might Sit It Out

Amrit Singh on the state of the Republicans in @FactsOnly.

Self // Donald Trump

From a distance, this week's Indiana primary looked like it would clear up the Republican picture. Few expected it would completely level the playing field.

But that's how it all shook out: Donald Trump clobbered his remaining Republican rivals in the state's primary on Tuesday, and in an unexpected twist, those stragglers—Ted Cruz and John Kasich—keeled out like dominos, one after the other, in a pair of concession speeches. (If you're keeping score, both speeches reflected the vibe of the men's campaigns: Kasich's was filled with rhetoric both hearty and sentimental, while Cruz's involved a series of elbows straight to the face of his wife in an unfortunate and awkward attempt at relatable affection.)

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So yes, now we know that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee. But in a new twist, that information hasn't exactly cleared up the party's picture. If it were any other year, this is when the party would fall in line and begin rallying around its candidate. But in the days since Trump's apparent ascension, all we’ve seen is the highest ranking Republicans run for political cover, and saying that they can’t support the man.

In a sentence: This crazy election season keeps getting crazier.

To keep track of this week's insanity, here's the quick rundown on which Republican big dogs have weighed in on Trump's takeover, and how they plan to proceed:

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Paul Ryan: The Speaker of the House and Wisconsin Representative made waves the other day when he said he's "not ready" to endorse Trump for President. This, coming from the ostensible leader of the Republican party, and the man who would have to preside over the convention that would name Trump as its nominee. That convention is going to be more awkward than Cruz calling a basketball hoop a "basketball ring." The big news: These two plan to meet next week. Get your snacks ready, we are watch this one closely.

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Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor, Republican candidate, and Trump foil said he won't vote for Trump or Clinton, but that he will support all true conservatives running for House and Senate. On some level, this isn't surprising: Trump and Bush haven't said a single kind word about each other to date. But hearing Bush actually articulate this position snaps the situation into focus.

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Lindsay Graham: The irascibly quotable and beloved conservative Senator didn't mince words about Trump while he was working the campaign trail himself, and he's turning those attitudes into platitudes: Dude's not voting for Trump or Clinton, either. Detecting a trend yet?

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John McCain: The former Presidential candidate has said he plans to support the Republican nominee, but behind closed doors, McCain's said having Trump at the top of the ticket would torpedo his own chances of winning in November. Meanwhile his daughter, outspoken activist and host Meghan, has equated Trump's victory with the death of the Republican party. Guess we know how she'll be voting?

Role Call Of Republicans Sitting Out The Convention: All of the above, except Paul Ryan (who's obligated to be there), plus both Presidents Bush (George H.W. and George W.) and Mitt Romney. That's a lot of Republican firepower.

And what do the Democrats make of all this? Well, for starters, Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has begun to set its sights on the general election despite Senator Bernie Sanders's insistence that he’ll contest the party’s convention, has pounced on Paul Ryan’s anti-Trump sentiments: They took his quotes and blasted them out to their various email and social media channels.

But more chillingly, if you're in the GOP: Camp Hillary has plans to form a "Republicans For Hillary" group, and has begun reaching out to rank-and-file Republicans of all stripes in order to woo those disaffected by Trump's tenor. Granted, Clinton is notoriously reviled by the hard right, but in this bizarro political landscape, stranger things have happened than conventional wisdom being upended.

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None of this is to say Clinton is a lock, or that Democrats should get cocky: People laughed at Trump's bid in the first place. If we've learned anything this political season, it’s that we’re like Jon Snow: We know nothing.

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Facts Only is a weekly column on the presidential election written by REVOLT Chief Political Correspondent Amrit Singh. Read them all at revolt2vote.com. For more, you can follow the author @amritsingh on Twitter and Instagram, and @factsonly on Twitter and Instagram, too. Also, shout out Jon Snow.

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