BY AARON RUPAR – – – – –
Ted Cruz went nuclear on Donald Trump on Tuesday, but it didn’t do him any good. While the Indiana primary results are still rolling in at press time, it appears there’s a real shot that Donald Trump has won all of the Hoosier State’s 57 delegates. Before all the votes were even counted, Cruz announced he’s suspending his campaign.
Trump’s latest triumph makes it more likely than ever that he will obtain the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid a contested convention. In fact, his Indiana victory, combined with a five-for-five performance in last week’s primaries, means he no longer even has to win the majority of California’s delegates next month to hit the magic number.
In short, the #NeverTrump movement has failed. And as that failure became abjectly clear Tuesday night, some Republicans announced they’ll be supporting Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton should she continue down the path toward her party’s nomination.
Mark Salter, a former top aide to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), suggested in a tweet that he’ll be breaking with his party and supporting Clinton come November.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) responded in a way that embodies a possible third path for Republicans — not supporting Clinton but not supporting Trump either. As the Indiana results rolled in, Sasse re-upped a Facebook post from February where he explained why he won’t back either candidate.
Another D.C.-based Republican who works on national security issues for the American Enterprise Institute told ThinkProgress he won’t be supporting Trump in November.
“If a conservative emerges that approaches foreign policy in a principled, coherent manner, and that understands and values the important role that America plays in world affairs, I will support them,” he wrote in a text. “Otherwise, I have faith that Clinton’s foreign policy would align with what I’m looking for, and she would have my vote.”
Cruz, for his part, didn’t mention Trump during his concession speech, though he’s pledged to support the Republican candidate. Meanwhile, John Kasich, the only other Republican remaining in the race, released a statement indicating he plans to forge ahead with his campaign despite the seemingly insurmountable odds.
The Never Trump PAC released a statement acknowledging that “while Trump’s victory in Indiana makes the road ahead more challenging,” it will “continue to seek opportunities to oppose his nomination and to draw a clear line between him and the values of the conservative cause.”
But Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, indicated he’s comfortable with Trump as his party’s 2016 presidential candidate.
Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver suggested the RNC chair might be counting his chickens before they’re hatched, however.
At roughly the same time Priebus posted his tweet, Philip Klein, managing editor of the conservative Washington Examiner, announced he’s de-registering as a Republican.