America's Trump nightmare has arrived
Wednesday 4 May 2016 04.00 BST
‘It’s been an unbelievable day and evening and year’, Trump said at the beginning of his acceptance speech. Unbelievable is one word for it
Donald Trump could actually be the next president. Just let that sink in.
This is a man who actively demeans women, has encouraged violence at his campaign rallies, would ban all Muslims from entering the US and recently seemed undisturbed by an endorsement from a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. And yet Trump, a political outsider, is poised to grasp the highest office in the land.
It was never supposed to happen. But here we are. Tonight in Indiana, in the primary that nobody thought would matter, the thing that nobody thought possible a year ago, is really coming to pass. Donald Trump is going to clinch the Republican nomination. He is really winning, like he always says. Only it’s not a joke or catchy mantra – it’s reality.
And even he seems to understand how absurd that is. “It’s been an unbelievable day and evening and year,” Trump said at the beginning of his acceptance speech.
Unbelievable is one word for it.
After the race was called from Trump on Tuesday night, Ted Cruz, the only thing standing between him and the nomination, suspended his campaign.
This was never supposed to happen. Early polling had showed a tight race between Trump and Cruz. And Cruz had thrown everything he had at the contest, from money, to a newsy presidential pick and a non-aggression pact with John Kasich. Even up until tonight’s election, insiders continued to insist that delegate math would protect the party from Trump’s nomination.
But suddenly with Cruz’s announcement, the specter of a contested convention fell away and the Republican primary was a one-man show. A big, orange, frightening one-man show.
Beaming at his audience on stage in the Trump Tower, he heaped lavish praise on people he’s disparaged the most, from women – he’s called them “dogs” and “fat pigs” – to Cruz himself, whom he recently declared “everyone hates.”
“He is a tough smart competitor”, Trump said of Cruz. Nevermind what’s honest, Trump has never been concerned with that.
The relationship between the two men has always been politically transparent, and tonight was no exception. After all, Trump will need to win over Cruz’s evangelical base if he’s ever going to beat Hillary Clinton in a general election. So with Cruz out of the race, he went from being Trump’s Opponent-in-Chief to being his Ally-in-Chief.
And he does have some support in such shenanigans. No sooner had Cruz stepped aside then Republican chairman Reince Priebus tried to get out ahead of the narrative by calling for the party to unite behind Trump. “@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton”, he tweeted. And some like Alabama’s Jeff Sessions have long said Trump’s just what the party need.
Not everyone’s on-board (Cruz, in one of his last acts as a presidential candidate, nuked the billionaire real estate mogul as a “pathological liar”), but it doesn’t matter anymore.
With all 57 of Indiana’s delegates under his belt, Trump has a breezy path to the 1,237 count he needs to steer clear of a contested convention in Cleveland this summer. And he doesn’t have an opponent in sight.
Indiana was the moment when Cruz said that, if Trump wins again, “America will plunge into the abyss.” Maybe he was right – November is still a long way off.
Meanwhile the new normal in America is a strange reality indeed. Donald Trump is winning and nobody – not Ted Cruz nor the entire Republican party working in concert (remember the #NeverTrump crusade?), can stop him.
quarta-feira, 4 de maio de 2016
America's Trump nightmare has arrived / Trump: We will win
Trump: We will win
The real estate mogul knocks Cruz out of the race and declares he will lead the GOP to victory in November.
By KYLE CHENEY 5/4/16, 7:23 AM CET
It was the night Donald Trump broke his enemies.
The real estate mogul on Tuesday crushed Ted Cruz in Indiana, ejecting the Texas senator from the race, and declaring from Trump Tower in New York City that he will lead the GOP to victory in November.
It was a pivotal moment in a stunning race that has seen the billionaire go from sideshow laughingstock to the Republican Party’s best hope to reclaim the White House, despite an intransigent faction that will never view him as their legitimate leader.
“We’re going to win in November,” a triumphant Trump announced from his campaign headquarters, surrounded by his family, adding that it’s time for the GOP to rally behind him. “We want to bring unity to the Republican Party. We have to bring unity.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who has occasionally feuded publicly with Trump, on Tuesday night spoke with Trump by phone and tweeted out two words that seemed unfathomable 10 months ago: “presumptive nominee.”
“@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton,” Priebus stated.
But evidence of division was everywhere among establishment Republicans as they digested the reality of Trump leading the party. The most hardcore anti-Trump leaders in the party alternated between outwardly embracing Hillary Clinton – the likely Democratic nominee – and musing about third-party options, while other Republicans urged the party to follow the will of the voters.
“Tonight’s outcome raises seriousness & urgency of discussions about third-party alternative; how real it is depends on who steps up to run,” tweeted Lanhee Chen, an adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and to Marco Rubio in 2016.
He was immediately rebutted by Mississippi RNC Comitteeman Henry Barbour, who replied, “It’s time to focus on beating Hillary. 3rd party candidate would guarantee WH for her. Voters have spoken…”
Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary to President George W. Bush, tweeted, “There’s a lot about Donald Trump that I don’t like, but I’ll vote for Trump over Hillary any day.”
Trump appeared ready to extend olive branches. In a victory speech, he made overtures to his rivals and offered kind words to the Texas senator just hours after ridiculing him as a liar who had become “unhinged.”
“Ted Cruz, I don’t know if he likes me or if he doesn’t like me, but he is one hell of a competitor,” Trump said. “He is a tough, smart guy. And he has got an amazing future.”
It was a subtle acknowledgement of the challenge that Trump will have to solve if he’s to truly unite the party for the general election. He’s got stratospheric unfavorable ratings, especially among minority communities that could be decisive voting blocs in swing states, and Trump promised to be a great leader for “the Hispanics” and “the African Americans” in his speech.
“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.
Only the nominal opposition from Ohio Gov. John Kasich stands between Trump and an unimpeded glide path to the nomination. But Trump was already looking past the primary and toward the likely matchup against Clinton, ripping her as tone-deaf on trade and pointing to her husband, Bill Clinton’s, approval of the NAFTA trade agreement.
Trump’s decisive Indiana win effectively ended the contest, which was called for Trump as soon as polls closed. With roughly 90 percent of precincts reporting, the real estate mogul led with 53.2 percent of the vote, compared to 36.7 percent for Cruz and 7.5 percent for Kasich. With the victory, Trump jumped over the 1,000 mark in the delegate race of the 1,237 he needs to officially clinch the nomination.
For Cruz, the road ended in Indiana.
“From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz said, with his wife Heidi by his side. “Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed.”
“With a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign,” Cruz said, pledging his liberty-focused movement would live on. He did not mention Trump.
Cruz in recent days had appeared to be reckoning with his fate, and earlier on Tuesday he hurled every insult in the book at Trump. He spent his morning skewering the New York billionaire — “utterly amoral,” “a serial philanderer,” “a pathological liar” and even ridden with venereal disease.
But it wasn’t enough and it only served to underscore the political reality: Trump was about to deliver a crushing blow to his chance to become president.
“Ted Cruz is a desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign,” Trump said in response to Cruz’s tirade. “Today’s ridiculous outburst only proves what I have been saying for a long time, that Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be President of the United States.”
With the hope for a contested convention slipping away, some of the anti-Trump forces sounded deflated on Tuesday night. “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it” tweeted South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Erick Erickson, an influential Republican activist who had tried to mobilize an anti-Trump movement, tweeted on Tuesday night, “I don’t want to congratulate Hillary Clinton on winning the Presidency tonight, but she just did.”
But before Cruz quit the race, other stop-Trump devotees pledged to keep up the fight. “While tonight’s Indiana primary results increased Donald Trump’s delegate count, Trump remains short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination,” Katie Packer, head of Our Principles PAC, said in a statement. “We continue to give voice to the belief of so many Republicans that Trump is not a conservative, does not represent the values of the Republican Party, cannot beat Hillary Clinton, and is simply unfit to be President of the United States.”
It’s unclear how they’ll proceed without a viable opponent for Trump.
Earlier in the evening, John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist, issued a statement saying that the Ohio governor would remain in the race unless a candidate reaches 1,237 bound delegates before the convention. “Tonight’s results are not going to alter Gov. Kasich’s campaign plans. Our strategy has been and continues to be one that involves winning the nomination at an open convention,” he said.
But Trump has already turned his attention to his next target – Clinton. While the former secretary of state failed to knock Bernie Sanders out of the race on Tuesday, she has a huge delegate lead and herself has started talking more about the general election.
John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, issued a statement Tuesday evening that failed to mention Sanders and instead made the case against Trump.
“Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has demonstrated that he’s too divisive and lacks the temperament to lead our nation and the free world. With so much at stake, Donald Trump is simply too big of a risk,” he said.
Trump offered up relatively soft attacks on Clinton during his victory speech, but made sure to praise Priebus. After months of panning the RNC as presiding over a “rigged” nomination process, Trump extended kind words to the RNC chairman, commiserating over the crowded and chaotic field he had to oversee.
“17 egos,” he said. “Now I guess he’s down to one.”