Call it Black Tuesday for the world’s bookies. Today, Leicester City, a UK football club given 5000-to-1 odds to win the Premier League, clinched the title. And Donald Trump is going to be the Republican Party’s nominee for president.
At least, the odds are heavily in his favor. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s last remaining serious rival in the race, suspended his campaign tonight after losing resoundingly to Trump in Indiana’s primary. The state was widely considered Cruz’s last stand, and his campaign poured resources into winning over the state’s conservatives.
But it wasn’t enough.
“From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz told supporters. “Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed.”
Cruz was mathematically eliminated from clinching the GOP nomination after Trump steamrolled through five Northeastern primaries late last month. Cruz supporters held out a slim hope that he could still keep Trump from scoring the 1,237 pledged delegates he needs to secure the nomination, leading to a contested convention. Had Cruz stayed in after tonight, he could have tried to pull out an upset in delegate-rich California. But the latest polls had Trump up in the Golden State with more than twice the support of Cruz.
With Cruz out, the GOP establishment–which has not been shy about expressing its loathing for Cruz or Trump–is faced with a choice. The #NeverTrump movement claimed to stand on principle in its opposition to the upstart real estate mogul. But Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus didn’t wait long to try to get a new hashtag trending.
.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 4, 2016
In a campaign season this ugly, bringing the GOP back together will probably take more than a tweet.