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First Read's Morning Clips: Trump and the Party of Lincoln

OFF TO THE RACES: Trump takes over party of Lincoln

Benjy Sarlin's big-picture look at the state of the Republican Party as of last night: Trump "will now represent the party of Abraham Lincoln in the general election despite little connection to any leg of the party's traditional trio of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and national security conservatives. Implausibly, he will now lead all three groups against Hillary Clinton. Trump won by discovering a primal desire among GOP voters for a swaggering populist who would buck orthodoxy on trade, protect entitlements, build a border wall, deport all undocumented immigrants, and implement an "America First" foreign policy that demanded allies pay for U.S. protection or go it alone."

The New York Times: "After months of sneering dismissals and expensive but impotent attacks from Republicans fearful of his candidacy, Mr. Trump is now positioned to clinch the required number of delegates for the nomination by the last day of voting on June 7. Facing only a feeble challenge from Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Mr. Trump is all but certain to roll into the Republican convention in July with the party establishment's official but uneasy embrace."

And the Washington Post: "Donald Trump, the celebrity mogul whose brash and un­or­tho­dox presidential bid was counted out time and again, became the de facto Republican nominee Tuesday night after a runaway victory in Indiana's primary forced his chief rival, Ted Cruz, to quit the race."

General election reality check, with the latest CNN/ORC numbers: "As Donald Trump captures the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee, a new poll finds he begins his general election campaign well behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The new CNN/ORC Poll, completed ahead of Trump's victory last night, found Clinton leads 54% to 41%, a 13-point edge over the New York businessman, her largest lead since last July."

Exit polls in Indiana showed why Trump is still very vulnerable with general election voters.

The Stop Trump forces are pledging to fight on, but it's not clear what their next steps will be, Leigh Ann Caldwell writes.

Some in the Republican Party are agonizing over what to do next -- or deciding to bolt the party entirely, the New York Times writes.

Trump says he wants to unite "much of" the Republican Party but that he doesn't want the support of some of its members.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Donald Trump's overnight transformation from a candidate scorned by the Republican establishment to the party's presumptive presidential nominee will ramp up pressure on GOP leaders and elected officials to fall in line behind him."

NBC rounds up reaction to Trump's big win from across the political spectrum.

CLINTON: Independents are souring on her as the Democratic primary drags on, the Wall Street Journal notes.

POLITICO has lots of details about her ramp up to the general election.

Writes the Washington Post: "Republican contenders were constrained in attacking the front-runner by their fears of alienating Trump's passionate supporters, while Democrats say they will have no such qualms in taking him on. Clinton, moreover, is a known figure to voters — for better or worse — by virtue of having been on the national stage for nearly a quarter-century as a first lady, senator, presidential contender and secretary of state."

CRUZ: How will Ted Cruz return to the Senate, a place where he had hostile relationships even before his presidential run? The Texas Tribune's Abby Livingston takes a look.

SANDERS: From Alex Seitz-Wald: "Bernie Sanders is now a third wheel in the presidential election — though Democratic primary voters may want it to stay that way, at least for now. The Vermont senator's upset victory Tuesday in the Indiana primary shows Democrats are not quite ready to end this thing just yet. Every time the race seems headed to the finish, voters decide to extend it, as they did in Michigan in March. But that could change now that Ted Cruz has dropped out and Donald Trump has effectively secured the Republican nomination, putting Hillary Clinton squarely in the billionaire's sights."

He benefited from stronger-than-usual support from white women in Indiana, our Exit Poll Desk notes.

TRUMP: Thomas Friedman's theory: "I think what's propelling Donald Trump's success more than anything is the feeling of many Americans that our politics are totally stuck. There is an overwhelming sense of "stuckness" — and the fantasy that Trump plays to, and plays up, is that he can pull the sword from the stone and do deals. No one was more responsible for this "stuckness," though, than today's Republican Party."

Elizabeth Warren derided him on Twitter, saying "There's more enthusiasm for @realDonaldTrump among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls."

The New York Times editorial board pulls no punches: "The Republican Party's trek into the darkness took a fateful step in Indiana on Tuesday."