AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
As we mentioned, the last polls in Indiana closed a short time ago, and Donald Trump is projected to win the Republican primary there. And that victory is a crippling blow to Senator Ted Cruz and the forces in the Republican Party trying to stop Trump.
On the Democratic side, the race in Indiana between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is still too close to call. To walk us through the results, we're joined by NPR's two national political correspondents. Mara Liasson is here in the studio with us. Welcome, Mara.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Nice to be here.
CORNISH: And NPR's Don Gonyea is in New York where Donald Trump will gather his supporters tonight. Hi there, Don.
DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.
CORNISH: So to start, Don, with you, does this effectively cemented Donald Trump's path to the nomination?
GONYEA: Oh, it's hard to imagine he doesn't (laughter) nail down the nomination tonight. Again, he doesn't leave tonight with the needed 1,237 delegates he needs to officially claim the nomination. But let's do just a little bit of math, OK? Before Indiana, which he appears to have won very easily - before Indiana, all Donald Trump needed was 42 percent of the unclaimed delegates the rest of the way. Now that it appears he has if not a sweep but certainly a big, big victory in Indiana, the rest of the way, he only needs to get, say 36 percent or so.
So you know - and he's won seven in a row. And as much as anything, too, Audie, if you talk to any Republican now, you're going to have a hard time finding one to tell you that Donald Trump will not be the nominee. Nine in 10 prior to this saw him as the likely nominee, saw him as inevitable. Maybe outside of Ted Cruz, you won't find any at this point.
CORNISH: And Mara, you've been talking to Republicans, some who had hoped to put the breaks on Donald Trump, right? How are they feeling?
LIASSON: Well, I think that this - they knew this was the last stand of the stop-Trump movement. It failed. I think most Republicans who want to stop Trump expect that the money to do that is going to start drying up because it just simply isn't mathematically possible. I think after tonight, he's only going to need about 200 delegates. And for all of his griping about the system, he's won about 40 percent of the vote so far, and he's gotten about 50 percent of the delegates so far. So he's doing pretty well.
But I do think you're going to hear from Republicans that it's time to unite. It's over. The most important thing is to defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall. And then the question is, what do the real diehard anti-Trump people do? I mean, you've already - you're already hearing - top aide of Senator John McCain tweeted today he's going to vote for Hillary Clinton.
LIASSON: You're going to have that, and that's unusual because usually at this point when you have a front-runner who's almost sewed up the nomination, the party coalesces behind him and starts looking towards the fall.
CORNISH: And yet, Don, the campaign trail today was pretty brutal between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
GONYEA: This has been a really vicious back-and-forth in Indiana as Ted Cruz really made his last stand and as Donald Trump was clearly determined not just to win but to humiliate Ted Cruz. He called him Lying Ted, Lying Ted, you know, dozens of times in the past couple of days.
So it's, you know - campaigns get testy and can get ugly at the end. But this being 2016 and all, we've already seen since this all started more than a year ago, it's really ratcheted up as both of these candidates tried to get out of today what they needed. And clearly Trump was the one who won.
CORNISH: Mara, last word to you.
LIASSON: Yeah. Just the thing that was amazing about that dustup was, why on the verge of conquering the establishment, making himself inevitable - more and more people are coming to accept him as the nominee - why would Trump start waving around a National Enquirer story about Ted Cruz's father and the JFK assassination, I mean, once again suggesting that he isn't a viable general election candidate.
CORNISH: That's NPR's Mara Liasson and Don Gonyea with the results of tonight's Indiana primary where Donald Trump is projected to win. Of course the Democratic race there is still too close to call. We'll have more information throughout the night on your public radio station. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.