Bad call, Ted! Last week, following a panicked-seeming VP selection and yet another double-digit loss to presumptive nominee Donald Trump in the Indiana primary, Texas senator Ted Cruz finally, mercifully ended his presidential campaign. And yet on Tuesday morning, it seemed like he was still hungry for a little taste of bitter defeat, one more for the road — suffice to say, Ted Cruz won't reenter the race after Nebraska.
But wait, I hear you thinking, what? Of course Cruz isn't going to reenter the race, who does that? Well, even though it was basically idle chatter, the vanquished candidate left the door open while talking to conservative radio host Glenn Beck early on Tuesday, suggesting that if he somehow suddenly saw "a viable path to victory," he might jump back in. The reason for the question, naturally, was the looming Republican primary in Nebraska.
And, well, let's just say that viable path to victory didn't materialize. Quite the contrary, in fact — Trump, as any unopposed, presumptive nominee would, carried the state by about 40 points, at time of writing. In other words, you can put the kibosh on those few hours of Ted Cruz comeback buzz. Carly Fiorina doesn't need to stay glued to her phone waiting for that call, because it's not coming.
Trump also notched a dominant win in West Virginia, and again, that's entirely predictable. He's the only candidate left! It's hard to figure out exactly why Cruz even felt the need to mildly hint that a return to the race was possible — it could probably best be explained as Cruz not wanting to let Beck and his co-host down, as much as anything.
Cruz, quite frankly, has a very different set of concerns going forward. He's up for reelection in 2018, and despite seeming like a safe bet to retain his seat (he did beat Trump in his home state of Texas), he still has to face his deep unpopularity among his Senate colleagues, even within his own party. While there's a case to be made that Cruz never had a real chance to defeat Trump, given the narrow constituency he was appealing to, it was certainly noticeable how prominent Republicans gritted their teeth while offering their endorsements.
In other words, time to embrace the grisly reality, however hard it may be: Trump is going to be a presidential candidate for another six months or so, and he's got an outside shot (however unlikely) at becoming President of the United States. In other words, perhaps the most powerful person on Earth! Not that swapping in Cruz would necessarily feel much better, but this sure does seem like the bleakest of all timelines, huh?