Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has suspended his presidential campaign—with Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) soon to follow—leaving Donald Trump as the GOP’s “presumptive nominee,” as Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus stated in a tweet.
“I said I would continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory. Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed,” Cruz told supporters in Indiana Tuesday night after losing the state’s primary to Trump. “With a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”
Kasich is expected to announce the suspension of his bid Wednesday during a press conference, as a senior campaign adviser confirmed to Politico. Kasich, hailed as a “moderate,” has used his tenure as governor of Ohio to push through 17 anti-choice measures, including a budget signed in 2013 that mandated ultrasounds for abortion care and enacted licensing regulations for clinics that led to the the closure of half of the state’s outpatient abortion facilities.
Though many so-called establishment Republicans flocked to Cruz in hopes of distancing themselves from Trump’s “sexist” and “racist” rhetoric, Cruz repeatedly turned to extreme positions and people throughout the 2016 primary election. The Texas senator notoriously embraced a wide array of noted extremists in efforts to boost his conservative credentials, including anti-choice activist Troy Newman, who has argued that abortion providers should be executed.
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Cruz’s platform was similarly tinged with anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ fanaticism. The candidate released a video in February promising to “do everything” within his power to end legal abortion if elected, and to “sign any legislation” that would help make that happen. He spent much of April fearmongering that allowing transgender people to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity would jeopardize others’ safety, despite numerous experts and fact-checking organizations pointing out that there is no evidence to support his claims.
Cruz’s departure from the race doesn’t signal the end of extremism from the Republican presidential candidates.
Trump embraces many of the same extreme positions as Cruz. Trump has voiced his support for a 20-week abortion ban, urging Congress to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act despite the legislation’s basis in medically inaccurate junk science that falsely claims a fetus can feel pain at the 20-week mark. The business mogul has vowed to preserve so-called religious liberties, which were at the center of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby case. He has said a willingness to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision should be litmus test for filling Supreme Court vacancies.
Reproductive rights advocates criticized the RNC’s embrace of Trump.
“The Donald spoke the truth about what would happen if he institutes the policies he’s promised—women will be punished, just as they are already being punished every day in states where reproductive rights are under relentless attacks,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement condemning the Republican Party’s anti-choice platform. “From his comments about Megyn Kelly to his defense of Corey Lewandowski’s assault of a female journalist, Donald Trump has a perfect track record of misogyny and has proven time and again he’s no friend to women.”
Trump, like Cruz, has called for the discriminatory monitoring of Muslim neighborhoods and mosques. The anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric shared by Cruz and Trump has led to “an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom,” according to an April survey conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.