Not only is Donald Trump likely to gather the most votes of any GOP Presidential nominee ever, having swept the East Coast and crushed the anti-Trump alliance between Kasich and Cruz even before it made the news cycle; but now, as Reuters reports, the GOP establishment faces an ever bigger problem. Wealthy, well-educated voters helped carry the Republican front-runner to victory this week - a demographic the famously blunt-spoken billionaire had struggled to attract in the past.
As we noted previously, with a number of states remaining including California, Trump is set to surpass current record holder George W. Bush, who received 10.8 million votes in 2000.
And, as Reuters reports, it's not just "angry blue collar white men"...
Trump's sweep of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island on Tuesday included wins in some of the richest and best-educated counties in the country - like Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Newport County, Rhode Island - and added to victories in his more traditional strongholds of white working-class neighborhoods.
Exit polls from Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maryland showed Trump winning about half of Republican voters with college degrees, and over half of Republican voters making more than $100,000 a year.
“On its face, it is hard to believe he’d be improving with a demographic group that has been so averse to his style, his denigrating language,” said Randall Miller, a professor of American politics at Saint Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania.
“But I think people may have gotten used to Trump, he’s not as outrageous as he used to be,” he said, adding that familiarity with the businessman's brand in the Northeast may also have helped him.
But with Trump far ahead of his rivals, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, in the race for the presidential nomination, Miller said Republican voters of all stripes may become more resigned to voting for Trump.
"I think it is possible he replicates this."
Trump has historically done well in areas where the collapse of important local industries has put stress on working families - propelling his popularity among poorer white voters drawn to his rhetoric about inept government and failed international trade deals.
A Franklin and Marshall College voter survey released last week showed Trump's message of disaffection had sunk in across the state. Just under 40 percent of voters cited "government, politicians" as the most important problem facing Pennsylvania, with "unemployment, personal finances” ranked a distant second at 14 percent.
In the affluent Maryland suburbs of Montgomery and Howard counties, where more than 60 percent of whites hold college degrees, Trump claimed a smaller 40 percent share of the Republican vote. It was still enough for a first-place finish over Cruz and Kasich.
Fred Stubbs, 72, a retired accountant from Potomac, Maryland, said he voted for Trump on Tuesday because he believed the real estate mogul would improve the country's standing in the world.
As Trump said aftewr "the sweep" - "as far as I'm concerned, it's over"