The 2016 Indiana Primary and Why This Is a Quadruple Victory for Trump

Tiberiu Dianu
4 min readSep 10, 2017


Indiana’s Primary of May 3, 2016 will remain in the history of the American Republican primaries as a sui generis event, creator of a quadruple victory for a presidential hopeful.

Number One

The victory per se. Donald Trump won all 57 Indiana delegates, taking over 53% of the votes, when only a few days before polls were indicating a narrow lead of his main challenger, Ted Cruz, who was expected by many to win the state.

Number Two

The victory against the Never Trump movement. Ted Cruz had become the spearhead of this Republican faction. But he has ceased to represent a mathematically viable option in order to get a majority of the Republican delegates after Trump’s major victories, a week before, in the five northeastern states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island. From that moment on Cruz has turned into a spoiler (representing the party activists), and not a party unifier (representing the voters). He became the antithesis of what he claimed to represent, the anti-establishment guy. From that moment he should have suspended his campaign, like his predecessors Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. He did not do it then, but he did it after the Indiana primary.

Number Three

The victory of the “big tent” approach. A day after Cruz announced his dropping out from the race, John Kasich, the last challenger standing, “the one of 46”, also announced his campaign suspension, clearing effectively the way for Trump’s nomination. The reason was different from Cruz’s, though. RNC chairman Reince Priebus’s tweet about the “presumptive GOP nominee” Donald Trump was the signal of the unification (and, maybe, reconstruction) of the party. However, Indiana could not be considered a victory against the Republican establishment at that moment, since many conservatives and RINO establishment members had publicly maintained their Trump disavowal.

Number Four

The victory of Bernie Sanders in the Indiana Democratic primary. This was probably the most underrated victory element for Donald Trump, for its hidden but more lasting effect. Trump’s and Sanders’s electorates overlapped in several respects. Sanders won against Hillary Clinton with an almost identical 53% score. In spite of his one challenger, compared with Trump’s two, Sanders had marked a victory not less significant (for Trump), and here’s why. The longer Sanders stayed in the race, the more angry, Trump-like voters he coagulated. These voters, until Sanders dropped out of the race, were not be very happy, to a larger extent, with Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Some of them stayed at home, and some of them voted for Trump, as many had already expressed in social media.

And if 2016 was America’s year of insurgency, then Indiana surely felt like open season on Democrats.