The Never Trump movement hit a brick wall after Texas Senator Ted Cruz suspended his candidacy on Tuesday, May 3, and Ohio Governor John Kasich dropped out the next day, leaving a clear path for real estate magnate Donald Trump to become the Republican presidential nominee. To clarify the state of affairs within his party on Tuesday, Republican National Committee chairman Reinhold “Reince” Priebus declared Trump the presumptive G.O.P. nominee.
Urging all Republicans, including the Never Trump faction to lay aside their differences and unite against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Priebus posted the following tweet.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016
The Never Trump faction, also called Never Trump P.A.C. (political action committee), gained traction on March 17, 2016, when RedState blogger Erick Erickson met with some conservatives in Washington D.C. to discuss ways to prevent a Trump win at the Republican National Convention in July. Now P.A.C. bureaucrats like Rory Cooper, who worked for President George W. Bush at the White House as well as for former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, face the prospect of a lost cause.
Following the Trump sweep of Indiana and potential Never Trump P.A.C. candidate Cruz conceding defeat, Cooper managed to come up with a few brave words in a tweet on Tuesday night.
“We must separate Trump’s demagoguery from the conservative cause and protect GOP down-ballot candidates. I guess [Trump’s] not quite at the magic number yet, anything could hypothetically happen. (…) I could also win the lottery today or get a pet unicorn.”
According to Vice News, a Never Trump petition Tuesday night asked conservatives to sign on vowing to never cast a vote for the presumptive G.O.P. nominee. The petition garnered around 30,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, after effectively claiming the Republican nomination, Donald Trump spoke kindly of Cruz at the Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday night. Despite the Never Trump bias in favor of Cruz in the previous weeks, the real estate billionaire praised the Texas senator for a battle well fought and offered the following gracious words.
“Ted Cruz, he is one hell of a competitor … and he has an amazing future.”
According to The Dallas Morning News, Trump was already moving forward, speaking of his readiness to tackle Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton, as he left irrelevant matters behind, including the Never Trump P.A.C. He issued the Democrats fair warning.
“We are going after Hillary Clinton. She will not be a great president. She will not be a good president. She will be a poor president.”
Cruz’s concession came at the end of a vitriolic campaign against a wildly swinging Trump egged on by Never Trump hecklers and trolls. The Texas senator’s wife, parents, and running-mate stood with him at a converted train station in downtown Indianapolis, as he declared his withdrawal from the race to about 200 supporters who responded with cries of “No!”
As the preferred candidate for the Never Trump P.A.C., Cruz spent most of the last two weeks in Indiana, wherein he designated Carly Fiorina as his running mate only six days before his concession and got Ohio Governor John Kasich to lie low for this round. In spite of his strategy, Cruz lost nearly all of the state’s 57 delegates.
According to CNBC, Ohio Governor John Kasich officially bowed out of the race on Wednesday, cementing Donald Trump’s position as the presumptive G.O.P. nominee. As the only Trump challenger left when Never Trump P.A.C. favorite Cruz suspended his run, Kasich departs after having only won his home state despite claiming to be the party’s best bet in the general election.
Trump P.A.C. advocate Erick Erickson is still on the prowl, but will he help to unite the Republican party or further divide it?
[Photo by Jason Merritt /Getty Images]