LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2016 — It is one thing for Northeastern liberals to offer their opinions. Indiana matters. Indiana is the heartland. Indiana is the epitome of Normal America, and Normal America has spoken.
Donald Trump won Indiana with 53 percent of the vote. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz needed an Indiana win to keep his presidential hopes alive. Instead he finished with only 36 percent of the vote. With “a heavy heart,” Cruz suspended his campaign Tuesday night. While Trump is shy of the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the GOP nomination, he is expected to surpass that total with ease.
The 2016 Republican presidential primary race is over. Donald J. Trump is the Republican nominee for president of the United States.
On the Democrat side, there is only a mess. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by about six points. While Clinton has a lead in pledged delegates, she is staggering to the nomination. Sanders supporters point out that the attempt to rig the nomination with superdelegates is creating a backlash.
Clinton is not known for being gracious in defeat. One week after taking a loud victory lap, she stayed off the television airwaves. Meanwhile, Sanders gave his typical speech from Kentucky about how everything is unfair.
While the two Democratic contenders will continue to snipe at each other for at least another week, the GOP race is over. Technically, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is still in the race, but his entire strategy has been to act like a homeless person eating scraps others throw in the trash. Trump will ignore Kasich and focus on the general election.
The brutal Republican primary came to an end as both Cruz and Trump put their weapons down. On Tuesday night, Cruz was noble in defeat and Trump was classy in victory.
Cruz reminded the voters what should guide any United States president: “The Constitution serves as chains to bind the mischief of government.”
“Everybody deserves dignity and respect, whether they agree with you or not.”
Trump has given some great speeches and some awful ones. On Tuesday, he was dignified and appropriate. His speech was also substantive. He has given more than his share of vapid speeches, but this one contained a heavy dose of policy.
Trump’s repeated praise of Cruz was smart and appreciated by the Cruz backers angry over a stinging defeat. Trump said of Cruz, “He is one hell of a competitor. He is one tough, smart guy. He has got an amazing future.”
Trump has plenty of work to do to unite the party, but this was a good start.
Trump does not have to pull his punches with Hillary Clinton. He needs to take her apart with such ferocity that it makes his attacks on Cruz and Marco Rubio seem like child’s play. He needs to know when to tone it down and when to fire at will.
His ability to work out this balance will determine his level of success in November. On Tuesday night, in a serious and calm voice, Trump went after Clinton’s inability to connect with ordinary voters and her anti-growth policies.
He told West Virginia, “We are going to get those miners back to work.” Clinton treats miners like they are “just numbers.”
Trump knows the Clinton team will play the bigotry card. When speaking of Hispanics, Trump stayed on message. “They want jobs. Everybody wants jobs. African-Americans want jobs.”
Republicans now begin the task of unifying the party, but Democrats are mired in their own civil war. The Democratic establishment wants Sanders to drop out. Sanders and his supporters have vowed to fight to the convention. The Democrat Party elites have not grasped what the Republican elites were forced to acknowledge: The people are angry. The GOP understands that their establishment was brought down by an outsider. Democrats still insist on living in the past with the ultimate insiders who are the very source of America’s problems.
Democrats may turn out to be “Ready for Hillary.” Unfortunately for Democrats, Republicans are ready for her, too. Thanks to the Indiana electorate, Republicans are now on the road to being united and ready to take her apart.