Tonight Donald Trump won West Virginia—not difficult because he has no competition. He actually told people they shouldn’t bother to vote despite the hundreds of people and issues on the state’s ballot. Less than a week ago, Trump’s majority in the Indiana primary finished the GOP candidacy Waterloo for his 16 competitors. Within 24 hours, the last two—Ted Cruz and John Kasich—were gone. It was not done peacefully.
Cruz seemed to survive former House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) description of him a “Lucifer” and the “most miserable son of a bitch.” Cruz tried to cover the problem by saying that he had only “met the man two or three times.” Yet, Cruz was Boehner’s lawyer in 1998 when he sued Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) for violating wiretapping laws after McDermott released a tape of a 1996 call between Boehner and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich to the New York Times. Cruz used the publicity for fundraising and bragged to the Tea Party about taking down a Democrat.
What broke Cruz was Trump’s discussion of a tabloid photograph showing Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father, with Harvey Oswald, who assassinated John F. Kennedy. Cruz called Trump an “amoral pathological liar,” a “narcissist,” and a “serial philanderer” and predicted that “this country could well plunge into the abyss” if Trump were elected. These sound bites will be very useful for Democratic ads this fall as Cruz moved 180 degrees opposite from praising Trump last fall, for example, “I have been glad to praise Donald Trump for speaking out boldly and brashly….”
Nothing Cruz did helped him survive in Indiana, not claiming that John Kasich had dropped out of the race or reminding people that Trump defended Tyson when he was convicted of raping a woman in Indiana in 1992. Naming the highly disliked Carly Fiorina as his vice president didn’t help at all. The Internet delighted in putting Cruz’s gaffes front and center—calling a basketball rim a “ring,” ignoring Fiorina when she fell off the stage in front of him, hitting his wife in the face with his elbow when he turned around to hug the man behind him, threatening to spank a boy who yelled “You suck!” (He had also threatened to spank Hillary Clinton a few months ago.) Heidi Cruz said on camera that “Ted is an immigrant.” Even Cruz’s daughter doesn’t want him to hug her.
Cruz ignored the fact that his own party despises him and blamed the media—particularly Fox News—for Trump’s rise. “Network executives have made a decision to get behind Donald Trump. Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes at Fox News have turned Fox News into the Donald Trump network.”
He might be grateful that the upcoming campaign won’t deal with his fight to put people into prison if they sell dildos in Texas. Badly-worded legislation could have sent a women to jail for up to two years because she sold other women vibrators in her living room. As the state’s solicitor general, Cruz headed a team in 2007 that provided a 76-page rationale for the law, asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the decision jailing people for selling sex toys. The lower ruling was struck down 2-1, including the judge’s disbelief that selling dildos is comparable to soliciting sex. As usual, Cruz kept at the case, trying to take the case to the Supreme Court. He should have quit: Craig Mazin, Cruz’s former college roommate, tweeted:
“Ted Cruz thinks people don’t have a right to ‘stimulate their genitals.’ I was his college roommate. This would be a new belief of his.”
Samantha Bee has mixed fact with satire in her goodbye video to Ted Cruz.
With only Trump left on the GOP side and Democrats concentrating on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the religious far-right has no candidate for the third presidential election in a row. John McCain didn’t appeal to them in 2008, and many fundamentalists questioned Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion. Ainsley Earhardt, a host on Fox & Friends, suggested that people should pray instead of voting “and God will pick the right candidate.” It’s the best idea that I’ve heard from conservatives in this election cycle.
Cruz has gone back to the Senate—much to the dismay of his GOP colleagues–and the Republican establishment has to deal with the fallout from Reince Priebus’ declaring that Donald Trump is the party’s “presumptive nominee.” After that annointment, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), one of the two congressional GOP leaders, said he isn’t ready to support Trump as nominee. Trump’s retort was “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda.” Later Trump was stumped when he kept telling people that he would force Ryan to step down as the leader of the GOP convention only to have Ryan announce that he would do that if Trump wanted.
Once Trump was established as heir “presumptive,” half the GOP started spending their energy guessing who he would pick for VP. Trump has indicated that the short list includes Chris Christie, former candidate and current New Jersey governor, although Christie is already heading the transition team as Trump heads for the White House. Another candidate, Ben Carson, said he wouldn’t do it because he would be a “distraction” so he’s on the vetting committee. Rick Perry said he’d be delighted to be chosen even after he earlier referred to Trump as a “cancer.” Another name tossed around is Newt Gingrich, a failure for presidential candidate four years ago.
A possibility is that Trump may play the “woman’s card” by selecting a woman. Govs. Nikki Haley (SC) and Susana Martinez (NM) are running away from him, but Mary Fallin (OK) and Jan Brewer, former Arizona governor, would be delighted. John McCain, who loosed Sarah Palin on the nation, wants Trump to pick pig-castrating Sen. Joni Ernst (IA), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, leading the anti-Planned Parenthood committee aiming to out all people with any relationship to working with fetal tissue by subpoenaing them, has been suggested as a possibility. When asked about Sarah Palin as a choice, Trump said that she is a “terrific” person but very much a “free agent,” aka “loose cannon.”
Those who aren’t guessing about the VP position are looking for people to run against Trump in the general election. According to the conservative Beltline newspaper, The Hill, these ten names lead the crowd: Mitt Romney, who accepted Trump’s endorsement four short years ago; Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who has made the most noise about a third person run; General John Kelly; former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who is the likely Libertarian Party nominee and thinks that a Libertarian who wants to legalize marijuana can beat both Trump and a Democrat; Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI, a Rand and then a Cruz follower; former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK, who resigned his senate position because of cancer; Nikki Haley, who is way too smart to do this; and Rand Paul, who already unsuccessfully ran for the job.
Paul Ryan has said that a third-person run in the upcoming presidential election would be disastrous for the party. Others ask if things can get worse. Even more “interesting” would be if the GOP runs a third person, and Bernie Sanders decides to go out on his own if he doesn’t get the Democratic nod in July. And it’s only been one week!