DAVID GREENE, HOST:
We have news about Donald Trump this morning. He has been assured of the GOP nomination for a few weeks now. But as of this morning, based on a counting from the Associated Press, Donald Trump officially crossed the number of delegates he needs to clinch the nomination at the Republican National Convention this summer. NPR Political Editor and resident delegate geek...
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: (Laughter).
GREENE: ...Domenico Montanaro is here in the studio with me. Domenico, good morning.
MONTANARO: Good morning. I’m adjusting my pocket protector...
MONTANARO: ...And pulling down the green eyeshade as we speak. So continue on.
GREENE: I like to hear that (laughter). So what exactly has happened here that’s significant? I mean, there were no other Republican candidates running. They’d all dropped out. It appeared that Donald Trump was assured the nomination already. Why is this morning significant?
MONTANARO: Well, Donald Trump has now officially crossed the line - got the magic number of delegates that he needs. He needed 1,237 delegates, which is a majority of all delegates who will be voting at this summer’s convention. He now has 1,238, according to a canvass by the Associated Press. So Donald Trump now clinches the nomination. We can call him the presumptive nominee.
GREENE: So we had been talking about this convention, you know, a couple months ago as possibly being, you know, newsworthy because the nomination would still be up for grabs. This makes the convention in Cleveland probably more ceremonial. And it’s just going to be the - sort of put the stamp on. He’s the nominee.
MONTANARO: Yeah. It turns it into what it usually is, which is a wedding reception, essentially.
MONTANARO: You know, I mean, we don’t know who his vice presidential pick will be, although he’s promised to unveil, perhaps, an entire cabinet beforehand. So yeah, it’s going to be more of what you usually get, except for what’s outside the hall. And we know that there’s going to be lots of protests. And there are concerns locally of whether or not they can handle the kind of protests and activity that will happen in Cleveland.
GREENE: Now, we usually talk about delegate numbers changing when there was an actual primary or caucus the night before.
GREENE: Nothing happened yesterday, as I understand it. So why the news today - this morning?
MONTANARO: No. So the Associated Press is pretty good about canvassing people to know how they will vote. They...
GREENE: The delegates.
MONTANARO: ...Did this with Democrats with superdelegates, for example, which is why we have such a high count for Hillary Clinton - because they’re able to call all of those 714 superdelegates on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, there were several - up to 200 - unbound delegates.
And they called all of those folks. And they called back some of the other delegates who are technically unbound. There are these Republican National Committee delegates - three in each state. So there were...
GREENE: Not bound by the results from voters...
MONTANARO: Right, exactly.
GREENE: ...But actually, they can decide on their own. OK.
MONTANARO: That’s right - not bound by the vote that happened in that state. And the biggest chunk of these come from North Dakota - about 15 of them. They were all unbound. And they’ve now told the AP that they are going to go with Donald Trump.
Another seven from Pennsylvania - and people might remember that Pennsylvania had this really quirky process where the vast majority of their delegates were completely unbound by the results of what happened in that state. Though, Donald Trump did win Pennsylvania.
GREENE: The fact that a lot of these unbound delegates are deciding at this point to declare - yes...
GREENE: ...They will vote for Donald Trump. Does that say something about the party really coming together behind him?
MONTANARO: Well, we’ve seen this in polls. We’ve seen this anecdotally, as well, where now Republicans are starting to fall in line. There were a lot of Republicans who had said that they were - Never Trump. They were never going to vote for Donald Trump. And that’s just not the case.
Now we’re starting to see what are typical proportions - about 75, 80 percent of Republicans in polling saying that they’re going to get behind Donald Trump. So the reverse is not true on the Democratic side, at this point, where you have Bernie Sanders still winning a lot of states and putting a major push forward in California, where the two candidates appear tied.
And that’s hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, as we’re seeing right now, because that Democratic unity hasn’t quite happened in the way it has or appears to be happening on the Republican side.
GREENE: Which could sort of flip things from what we thought might happen. We might now see a clean, tidy Republican Convention. The Democratic Convention in Philadelphia is where there might be a lot of uncertainty and a lot of activity.
MONTANARO: Yeah. That is the big irony. Everyone expected that all the activity would be on the Republican side. Now on the Democratic side, you’re going to see an argument and a fight over rules and platforms - something - we kind of expected the reverse.
GREENE: All right. That’s NPR Political Editor Domenico Montanaro. Thanks, Domenico.
MONTANARO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.