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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Does Donald Trump as the Republican nominee mean the party’s over?

Donald Trump won convincingly in Indiana on Tuesday, Ted Cruz suspended his campaign and by all appearances, the 2016 Republican presidential nomination horse race is over.

Donald Trump crossed the wire in front by several lengths and is now on his way to the winner’s circle in Cleveland in July.

Ted Cruz suspends campaignIt took Trump about ten months to fully develop his winning message, but he definitely found it. After seven straight resounding state wins, the New York reality TV star’s momentum was so overwhelming that Cruz saw no path forward and decided to call it quits.

Cruz began his concession speech with his usual “God Bless the Hoosier State” line and proceeded to thank all of his supporters and donors as well as give special gratitude to his mom who was seated on stage behind him. He also appeared to be reading from a teleprompter, so I thought that was a little unusual, like he wanted to be careful to say exactly the words he intended to articulate.

Then Ted uttered the words “no viable path to victory” and I thought, ‘did he really just say what I think he said’?

“For the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”

The attendees groaned. I think the reaction was echoed in living rooms all across the country. I couldn’t believe that this was the end. All the effort, the blood, sweat and tears… over.

For his part, Ted looked at peace with his announcement as did wife Heidi who was standing next to him the whole time.

In pulling out, Cruz becomes the last serious opposing candidate to leave the race. In his wake Trump left everyone else…and now only John Kasich is left standing. The Ohio governor probably won’t win another delegate the rest of the way. Trump will easily get the 1237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot and there won’t be any contested convention.

A month ago when Ted Cruz won nearly 50 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, most observers were talking about how the race had finally narrowed to a one-on-one contest with Cruz steadily gathering momentum fueled by the #NeverTrump movement along with full-spectrum conservatives and Tea Partiers.

Then came the state party conventions in North Dakota and Colorado. Trump lost them both badly, with plenty of accompanying media stories reporting how Cruz had out-organized and out-hustled Trump in those states to take nearly all the delegates.

Forget the fact both of these states were likely to go to Cruz anyway, being in the conservative Midwest and Rocky Mountain west where Trump is weakest.

No matter. Trump immediately went on TV – again, helped along by willing elements of the conservative media – and started blasting the “rigged system.”

The message spread like wildfire. Poll after poll showed popular support increasing for Trump’s argument that he deserved the nomination because he’s ahead by millions of votes and hundreds in delegates. He successfully painted Ted Cruz as an establishment-like usurper who was stealthily using arcane rules to “steal” the nomination.

Add the fact the next primary was Trump’s home state of New York and the rest is history. After taking 60 percent of the vote there he followed it up with crushing Cruz last week in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

After such a drubbing, Cruz knew his last legitimate shot to stop Trump would be Indiana, a state which demographically should have been favorable if people were still receptive to his candidacy.

It turns out they weren’t. Trump’s “rigged system” argument carried the day and the nomination election. Simply put, people were drawn to the concept of someone from outside the political system coming in to shake things up.

Ted Cruz has spent years fighting the establishment, but Trump had successfully labeled him as just another politician and a “liar” who couldn’t be trusted.

In his victory speech on Tuesday night, Trump was predictably gracious towards Cruz, calling him a fierce competitor and seemingly offering an olive branch to not only his closest rival, but also to the Republican Party as a whole.

One thing’s for sure, there will need to be many, many such peace offerings in the days, weeks and months to come.

Trump won’t get a trophy for winning the race. We’ll see how much strength he’s got left in those legs to keep going until November…and beyond.

After the race ends, searching for clarity

An old saying goes, “if you want to start an argument, just bring up religion or politics.” I was thinking about that statement last night while trying to figure out why people all across the country are seeing the same set of candidates, circumstances and current events so differently.

The 2016 Republican presidential nomination race began about a year ago and the field eventually swelled to seventeen “major” candidates, most of whom had very legitimate reasons for running for the office and solid cases for why they’d be the best one to lead the party in an almost certain general election fight against Hillary Clinton.

Yes, we knew long ago Hillary would be the Democrats’ nominee. It wasn’t like 2008 when there were several authentic challengers to Clinton. This year, she was the one, the Democrat establishment’s dream with only “senile old coot” Bernie Sanders standing in the way.

For the Republicans, however, the choice wasn’t nearly as clear to a whole lot of people. Some flocked to Donald Trump early, drawn by his “tell it like it is” style on immigration. Some went to Ted Cruz because he is the embodiment of the limited government Tea Party movement. Others gravitated to Marco Rubio…and a few to the also-rans like (insert candidate name here).

But whereas the Democrats appear to agree on an overall ideological theme for their party, the Republicans split however many different ways, often by personality differences alone. As time went on, it became Donald Trump against everyone else. The people who loved Trump wouldn’t abandon him. The people who couldn’t stand Trump wouldn’t join him.

Everyone seems to see it so clearly, one way or the other. But everyone still sees it differently.

Take for example the #NeverTrump crowd. They see a candidate who’s so vile and flawed that they’ve vowed to never vote for him under any circumstances.

As an illustration of the phenomena, Steve Berman of The Resurgent writes, “The only thing about Trump that isn’t politically correct is his racism and outright misogyny. His use of foul language, threats, doubletalk, and downright lies is more akin to the left than conservative values. He talks like he fights fire with fire, but really Trump is just a flamethrower with no off switch.

“Trump can’t run and win with the Republican platform as-is. He would have to modify it to tone down the anti-abortion talk, and to allow whoever wants to use the ladies room to use it, and to force bakers to take sensitivity training because he would get along great with gays.”

In fairness, many Ted Cruz supporters were equally harsh in their depictions of The Donald even before there was a #NeverTrump movement.

Yet there are an army of Trump supporters who will defend their candidate to the hilt. Radio host Michael Savage supports practically everything Trump says or does (though he did break with the candidate over his gender neutral bathroom stance).

There are other Trump supporters who see something in him that probably isn’t there – namely, someone who will come in and dramatically change/fix the system. This is the credo of the “outsider,” the self-funder, the guy who isn’t under the influence of anyone. Trump’s so rich, they think, he doesn’t care about taking money from all the federal trough sucklings. He’s Ross Perot with a better hairdo and a sense of humor.

The Republican establishment created this phenomenon and now we’re stuck with it, just like we apparently are stuck with Trump to lead the pack.

And then there’re always the remnants of the old Republican establishment who don’t like Trump but despise Ted Cruz to the point of calling him “Lucifer in the flesh” and a nasty SOB like former Speaker John Boehner did last week. Boehner is perhaps the most visible specimen of the type, but I’ve run across a number of folks who describe the Texas senator with similar phrasing.

How is it that all of these people see it so clearly? How can one person see Cruz as an angel and the other the devil? And if Americans are so set in their opinions one way or another, how will November’s election turn out?

Political scientists will talk a lot about “polarization” in the electorate in the coming months. Some in the #NeverTrump movement will get so tired of Hillary’s screeching and lying that the most viable alternative to her, Donald Trump, will become almost acceptable again. These will be the #MaybeTrump people, because there will be nowhere else to go. Trump would be smart of start populating his campaign with reputable conservatives now. That could begin the healing process.

And sitting out isn’t really an option, not with America on the brink after eight years of Obama and eight years of Republican establishment ideological feebleness under George W. Bush.

We’ll hear a lot about “holding noses” and choosing the lesser of two evils as we get closer to November. But if some sort of consensus isn’t reached in American society as a whole, the entire system will collapse. What happens then?

Some folks see it clearly. I wish they’d share some of their wisdom with the rest of us before it’s too late.

If not POTUS, perhaps Justice Ted Cruz?

While Tuesday’s loss in Indiana may have marked the end of Ted Cruz’s presidential aspirations this cycle, it’s perhaps time to start assessing what the constitutionally sound Texas senator might do after the daily rallies and non-stop media coverage exits from his life.

Since it looks like he’ll end up outside of the executive branch next January, many think Cruz could be headed for a different challenge across the street from where he now works in the Senate – by replacing Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

The only problem… the new president might not agree. Everyone knows Hillary Clinton would never nominate someone who will adhere to the Constitution, and Donald Trump, well, is Donald Trump.

Jesse Byrnes of The Hill reports, “Donald Trump had a tepid response when asked if he would consider GOP presidential rival Ted Cruz for the Supreme Court should the businessman win the White House.

“’I don't know, I'd have to think about it,’ Trump told the Daily Mail in an interview Monday.

“’There's a whole question of uniting and there's a whole question as to temperament,’ Trump continued. ‘He's certainly a smart guy, but there's also a temperament issue.’”

I had to chuckle…Donald Trump saying someone like Ted Cruz has a temperament problem. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Trump’s victory speech on Tuesday night signaled a different tone towards Cruz. Who knows what Trump really thinks now.

The truth is, it would make a lot of sense for Trump to put Cruz on the Court. That action alone would remove potential conflict with a defeated rival in the Senate over his “great deals” and big government agenda to come.

Cruz would be one of nine Supreme Court Justices that typically don’t make headlines individually – at least not very often. It’s a great place to stash away political adversaries.

For Cruz, it would be an opportunity that would be difficult to pass up, the chance to influence the direction of American law for decades. His name would by synonymous with the greatest jurists in the nation’s history…assuming he could be confirmed.

It would be one heck of an epic struggle to get that accomplished, that’s for sure.

Trump’s national numbers are rising rapidly, too

Finally today, in the coming days the experts will no doubt be picking apart Ted Cruz’s reasons for withdrawing from the race after Indiana and this latest national poll could provide a clue into the Texas senator’s reasoning for hanging it up now.

Jesse Byrnes of The Hill reports, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has hit a new polling high, claiming 56 percent support among Republicans and GOP-leaning voters in a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday.

“Ted Cruz and John Kasich followed with 22 percent and 14 percent, respectively.”

It’s not just that Trump was going up, it’s the fact Ted Cruz wasn’t rising accordingly. Therefore, all the narratives the not-Trump people were using for his potential weaknesses – his personality, his poor electability, his lack of appeal to women voters, his potential drag on down ballot races, his inability to inspire conservative voters—none of them were having any bearing whatsoever on the national mood.

With the win in Indiana, Trump started prevailing by large margins outside of the east coast, too. Scratch that one off the not-Trump reasons list.

As Cruz mentioned in his withdrawal speech, there just wasn’t a path forward. Even if there was some recovery in Nebraska next week and in other states in succeeding weeks after that, it wouldn’t be enough to prevent Trump from reaching the 1237 number.

Ted Cruz isn’t like John Kasich. He fought the good fight, was beaten and got out. He couldn’t justify asking his supporters to throw in more money and effort to continue with a race that couldn’t be won.

It was the final act of a decent and good man in this campaign.

Now we have to figure out how to move forward with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.

#NeverHillary 2016.

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The Constitutional Republic of the USA Died on 5/3/2016

Disagree with the author re trying to save our Republic. This was our last chance. The next president will pick one or several Liberal SCOTUS justices meaning:
1. The First Amendment gone. 2nd Amendment and several others - gone.
2. Christian's Religious liberty will be entirely wiped out. Christian persecution will intensify so that Christians will only be able to worship in their homes if that even. They will be forced to go against God's precepts/laws to stay in business.
3. Abortion will continue unabated.
4. Dramatic increase in sexual harassment, molestation, rape, etc. because of the BLT&G's agenda, especially because of men in women's/girl's restrooms,showers, etc.
5. Pedophilia will probably be normalized.
6. Economic collapse almost a certainty due to profligate gov't spending, increasing debts & deficits and trade wars.
7. The People's & the States rights (9th & 10th Amendments) fully eliminated.

I do not understand how any true conservative could possibly vote for Trump. He is an anathema to almost all things conservative, the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

The republic died.

I agree, we have closed that book and I fear what book a trump presidency will open.