Path clear for Trump as Cruz exits

Ted Cruz drops out after Indiana rout;

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:52 am IST

Published - May 04, 2016 10:41 am IST - Washington

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Real estate developer Donald J Trump (69) was declared the presumptive Republican nominee for the U.S presidency after his principal challenger, Ted Cruz, left the race after a crushing defeat in the Indiana primary on Tuesday.

Entering politics 10 months ago, Mr. Trump, whose business practices may be questionable but has unbeatable showmanship, ran a campaign that upended the Republican Party and outraged the American liberal conscience in his march to victory. Winning all 57 delegates in Indiana, Mr Trump frustrated a vast array of opponents who had joined hands to stop him.

Tuesday began as a particularly ugly day in the Republican contest, as Mr Trump linked Mr Cruz’s father to John F Kennedy's assassin and Mr. Cruz retaliated by calling Mr. Trump a “pathological liar” and “a serial philanderer.” But the day ended with Mr Trump making the calmest speech in his political career – 10 months long, that is – congratulating Mr. Cruz and seeking unity in the party. Far from making his characteristic boastful claims, Mr Trump did not even announce himself as the presumptive nominee as he did a week earlier after winning five states.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared Mr Trump as the presumptive nominee and urged the party to "unite and focus on defeating" Hillary Clinton. “@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton,” he tweeted, seeking to overcome the turmoil that the Trump campaign has pushed the party into.

Ms Clinton, limping her way towards the certain Democratic nomination, took another hit in Indiana where Senator Bernie Sanders beat her. National matchup polls show Ms Clinton ahead of Mr Trump, but the lingering contest would only undermine her in the coming weeks even as the Republicans shift focus to attacking her. Even two weeks ago, most pundits predicted the battle on the Republican side to be protracted and an early closure on the Democratic side.

Mr Trump’s campaign has been built on rhetoric against immigrants, particularly Mexicans and Muslims, but after the victory he professed “love for the Hispanics” and sensitivity to “the African Americans.” “We’re going to love each other, we’re going to cherish each other. We’re going to take care of each other and we’re going to have great economic development,” he said. “Hispanics are incredible people. They want jobs. The African Americans want jobs,” he said. There was no word on Muslims or Islamist terrorism.

Mr Trump heaped praise on Mr Cruz, calling him a “tough, smart guy with an amazing future,” but the focus was on Ms Clinton. “We will be going after her,” he said. “She will be a poor president.”

While Mr Trump will seek to expand his support base by appealing to minority communities, his forthcoming tirade against Ms Clinton will be pivoted on one sensitive topic that animates Americans these days – trade.

“It has been a carnage,” Mr Trump said on how NAFTA has affected American manufacturing. “She does not understand trade,” Mr Trump said, promising to punish companies that took manufacturing outside the U.S. He also promised to “get miners back to work,” attacking Ms Clinton who recently said in a slip she would put miners out of work to protect the environment. The presumptive Republican nominee said his tough position on trade would not isolate America but would earn it respect from other countries. “We will have unbelievably good relations with other countries. They will like us more,” he said.

The Republican elites who are stunned by the way their party has been stolen from them by an usurper would find this difficult to accept but when the contest is framed ‘Trump versus Clinton,’ they would have little choice. Mr Trump had the support of no governor or lawmaker until two months ago when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsed him. Now he has three governors, one senator and a handful of representatives endorsing him, but the heavyweights of the party are still in a state of denial. Conservative groups that are campaigning against Mr Trump said after the Indiana outcome that their efforts to stop him would continue, but many leaders came out in his support also. “Many people who said vicious things about me now want to join. They call it the Trump train. We will have them all,” Mr Trump said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.