INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Donald Trump hammered Republican rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the Indiana presidential primary on May 3, exceeding poll expectations, winning by a clear majority, as the doggedly stubborn Cruz finally gave up the fight and dropped out following the lopsided results.
Invoking Ronald Reagan and the conservative movement, Cruz spoke with his trademark eloquence, and without the vitriol that has permeated throughout the campaign from the fall, through the winter and early spring.
Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who began his quest for the Democratic nomination a full 50 points behind Hillary Clinton, has further closed that gap by eking out a victory in the Hoosier State.
Continuing to decry the conservative virtues that propelled him ahead of fifteen other contenders to emerge as Trump’s chief rival, Cruz built to a climactic ending, proclaiming that “it appears that a viable path to victory has been foreclosed. We gave it everything we’ve got, but the voters chose another path. And so, with a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the longterm future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted: @realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton. Trump congratulated the Greek-American GOP head, saying “he’s doing a tremendous job.”
Reminiscent of the reserved victory speech he gave from the same Trump Tower podium two weeks earlier, which this writer covered live, Trump spoke about party unity, defeating Clinton, and “making America great again.”
He called Ted Cruz “one hell of a competitor – a tough, smart guy, with an amazing future. I want to congratulate Ted – I know it’s tough. I understand how Ted feels, and Heidi, and their whole beautiful family.”
Trump also praised not only those endorsing him, like Chris Christie and Ben Carson, “and we want to keep them totally involved, because we’re going to win in November – and we’re going to win big.”
Trump stayed with his theme that “it’s going to be America First,” insofar as we will no longer be the policeman of the world, and how we need to address that we owe trillions of dollars. The world “will like us better, they’re going to respect us.”
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton, who remains the solid frontrunner, though Sanders continues to hang in there. With Trump and Sanders, the two antiestablishment candidates winning in Indiana, for the first time in the race, Trump’s likelihood to gain his party’s nomination at least equals and somewhat surpasses Clinton’s.