Ted Cruz Drops Out of GOP Race, Clearing Path for Donald Trump

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Ted Cruz

The Texas senator, who earlier in the day likened a Donald Trump presidency to that of 'Back to the Future' villain Biff Tannen, made no mention of the New York billionaire while announcing the end of his campaign.

Ted Cruz is ending his presidential campaign, eliminating the biggest impediment to Donald Trump's march to the Republican nomination. 

After losing the Indiana Republican primary to Trump, Cruz made the announcement in a speech to his supporters on Tuesday night. 

"From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory," he said. "Tonight, I’m sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed."

He continued, to boos from the crowd as his supporters caught on, "Together, we left it all on the field of Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got, but the voters chose another path. And so, with a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign." 

He made no mention of Trump in his speech.

Before the polls closed, Cruz was hammering to Indiana voters to think of what the future will be like under the billionaire businessman, citing the popular Back to the Future trilogy.

"If anyone has seen the movie Back to the Future II, the screenwriter says that he based the character Biff Tannen on Donald Trump — a caricature of a braggadocios, arrogant buffoon who builds giant casinos with giant pictures of him everywhere he looks," Cruz told reporters. "We are looking potentially at the Biff Tannen presidency." (Tom Wilson, the actor who played Tannen, previously told The Hollywood Reporter he did not base his portrayal off Trump, nor was that notion ever suggested to him during filming.)

On Tuesday night, Cruz began his speech by recalling the launch of his campaign 13 months ago, "when the pundits all said it was hopeless," and attempted to end his remarks on a similar note of optimism, as he thanked his family and his "phenomenal running mate” Carly Fiorina.

"Hear me now: I give you my word that I will continue this fight with all of my strength and all of my ability," Cruz concluded, vowing to continue his fight for liberty and the Constitution. "We will continue to fight next month and next year and we will continue as long as God grants us the strength to fight on."

Throughout his campaign, the Texas senator cast himself as the only viable alternative to Trump, going toe-to-toe with the billionaire businessmen in the press throughout his campaign. He argued he was the only true conservative in the race and railed against what he called the "Washington cartel," trying to appeal to an electorate that is craving political outsiders. But he ultimately couldn't compete with Trump's appeal among white, working-class voters who were drawn to the New York billionaire's outlandish approach to politics.

With the scale tipping increasingly in Trump's favor, he announced a pact in April with his other rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, in which the two would divide their time and resources based on states where they were each poised to do better.

Days later, he prematurely named former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Fiorina as his running mate, hoping it would woo some of the female voters turned off by Trump's brash rhetoric.

Trump's appeal to evangelicals, though, and his popularity with the broader Republican electorate, proved too much.

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