Former Speaker John Boehner got his wish. Sen. Ted Cruz is out of the presidential campaign.
Following round after round of devastating losses to Donald Trump’s juggernaut, Cruz was finally done in Tuesday by another crushing defeat in the Indiana primary, where he had hoped he might eke out a victory.
Early returns showed Trump with a commanding 20-plus point lead over Cruz, whom Trump called “one hell of a competitor.” He also said Cruz’s decision to drop out was brave and the best thing for party unity.
In the Democratic campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton, winning 53 percent of the votes and 44 delegates, compared with Clinton’s 38.
“The Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over. They’re wrong,” Sanders said.
Cruz, the only real conservative left in the GOP race, had faced a tough battle, between trying to overcome the seemingly unstoppable Trump and fighting off the machinations of the media and the party leadership, such as Boehner, who just a few days ago had compared Cruz with Lucifer.
Indeed, most of the race for the GOP nomination so far has seemed like the candidates vs. the establishment, which desperately wanted to crush Cruz and Trump, and maintain their status quo. That has led many critics to fear that the Republican leadership would rather throw the election to Clinton and risk breaking the GOP permanently than let anyone interfere with their current power structure in Washington.
Cruz may have been referring to that when he said, during his concession speech, “But hear me now, I am not suspending our fight for liberty. I am not suspending our fight to defend the Constitution. To defend the Judeo-Christian values that built America. Our movement will continue.”
Gov. John Kasich remains in the race, perhaps bucking to be Trump’s veep pick, but realistically it would take Darth Sidious-level manipulation at this point to keep Trump from the GOP nomination.
On the Democratic side, Sanders’ chances to win the needed number of delegates are slim to none. Clinton is within 182 delegates of clinching the nomination, while Sanders would have to win 984 of the remaining 1,165.
(I still have this fantasy that Hillary will win the Democratic nomination then be arrested by the FBI in October, leaving the Democrats to run “Fauxcahontas” Elizabeth Warren or some other wannabe while Sanders splits the liberal vote with a third-party run.)
So, it looks like a Trump vs. Clinton race to the Oval Office. I had hoped Cruz would have been the nominee and finally re-energized conservatism in this country, but perhaps Trump is what’s necessary at this point. I have little doubt that he can roll over even the Clintons, no matter how dirty the Democrats decide to get (and they will get very dirty, count on it).