By Clay Dubberly
Ted Cruz, the Harvard-educated senator from Texas who’s been waging a campaign against the last nominee running in the Republican Party, Donald Trump, suspended his campaign Tuesday night after a devastating loss in Indiana, shocking millions who expected a contested convention in June.
In an emotional speech by Mr. Cruz after his loss, Cruz told his supporters: “From the beginning, I’ve said I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed.”
“We left it all on the field in Indiana,” Cruz said, “We gave it everything we’ve got but the voters chose another path.”
Trump left Indiana with 57 delegates, Cruz had zero.
Mr. Cruz had formerly said that he would continue his campaign until June 7, but upon his resigning unburdened himself, described what really he thinks about Trump, calling him a “pathological liar,” and a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.”
Cruz bombarded Trump, making references to his history of lust for women and money, his haste to accept conspiracy theories, as well as recent Twitter posts attacking Heidi Cruz, Mr. Cruz’s wife.
“Apparently she’s not pretty enough for Donald Trump. I may be biased,” Cruz said, “but I think if he’s making that allegation he’s also legally blind.”
Mr. Cruz carried on his attacks on Trump, saying he “doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”
“Donald Trump is a serial philanderer, and he boasts about it. This is not a secret, he is proud of being a serial philanderer.”
Donald Trump’s son, Trump Jr., addressed Cruz’s outburst on Twitter: “That was an impressive meltdown… Desperate but impressive. Reminded me of my 3 year old coming off a sugar high.”
Cruz compared Trump to a character in ‘Back to the Future II’ during his tirade: “If anyone has seen the movie ‘Back to the Future II’, the screenwriter says that he based the character Biff Tannen on Donald Trump, the caricature of a braggadocious, arrogant buffoon…We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency.”
Trump responded, criticizing Mr. Cruz’s “temperament” in a statement: “It is no surprise he has resorted to his usual tactics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes. Over the last week, I have watched Lyin’ Ted become more and more unhinged…Today’s ridiculous outburst only proves what I have been saying for a long time, that Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be President of the United States.”
In an ironic tweet from the middle of December addressing Trump, Mr. Cruz said the only hope of “The Establishment” was a “cage match” between the two candidates. “Sorry to disappoint — @realDonaldTrump is terrific.”
The situation between the two seemed to change quickly — and even the most staunch supporters of Cruz questioned his decision to wait so late to begin combating Trump.
In a Tuesday appearance on Dana Loesch’s radio show Mr. Cruz hinted towards the end of his campaign: “We are competing to the end as long as we have a viable path to victory. We are competing hard in this state and I am hopeful and optimistic. But at this point, it’s in the hands of voters,” Cruz said.
Cruz’s final weeks were blemished by a cacophony of uncomfortable moments: he picked Carly Fiorina, who formerly contended against him in the 2016 presidential campaign, as his running mate:
“One of the things I’ve heard you say on the campaign trail is that Ted Cruz is like any other politician,” NBC News’ Hallie Jackson asked during an interview, “Today you said he is who he says he is. So were you wrong?”
“Yeah, and that’s why I voted for him in the voting booth,” Fiorina replied.
Cruz created an alliance with Kasich which quickly fell through. He also awkwardly failed to notice Fiorina falling off a stage behind him, and later forced his supporters to endure watching an equally-klutzy hand raise which was memorialized throughout social media.
Mr. Cruz, however, survived over 12 other Republican rivals by lying low during the beginning of the race and instituting an outsider-in-Washington image.
But his strategy relied on the hope that Americans would realize, through his spurious blunders or patronizing remarks, that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.
They never came to this realization.
Cruz was idolized by the tea party and his hopes for victory balanced on whether or not he would win evangelicals and libertarians, but the votes of evangelicals split evenly in Indiana. Cruz also had the support of most late deciders, but that didn’t give him enough momentum to glide to victory.
Students at Shenandoah University reacted to Cruz’s decision to end his race. Michelle Adams, a freshman, said: “I think that ultimately Cruz’s campaign was going to be unsuccessful, but I think it scares a lot of people because they can’t rally around Trump yet.”
“I’d be interested to see what Cruz does now – will he support his opponent that he bashed so much? We will just have to see what comes with the GOP now, and if they can get people to support Trump despite what they think they know about him,” Adams said.
Not even 24 hours after Cruz dropped out, John Kasich made a smart move as he ended his bid for presidency, leaving Trump as the only candidate remaining in the Republican field. The only state Kasich ever won was his own.
Kasich outlasted any other candidate besides Trump, but that was only a product of his stubborn refusal to accept defeat earlier along his shoddy campaign.
Kasich took a moderate approach to things, and while his rivals clarified their combative platforms, he radiated on the stage, reiterating the experience he had as the governor of Ohio and experience in Congress.
He cited national polls, contending he packed the heat to win in November, but in reality, he was never up to par with Cruz or Trump. His only hope to win would have been the contested convention in June.
The strength, drive and verve of the Trump campaign was too much for Mr. Cruz and John Kasich to handle, and the contest of the 2016 presidential election now boils down to the last two likely candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Feature photo courtesy of inhomelandsecurity.com