Tuesday night, Donald Trump won the Indiana primary, and Senator Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign.
Across the country, the GOP elite mourned what they see as the loss of the general election and the muddying of the party’s principles. Despite the Republican establishment’s well-documented distaste for Cruz, they pinned their hopes of not alienating the American electorate on a man so universally loathed that Senator Lindsey Graham joked about murdering him on the Senate floor.
Some Democrats are surely celebrating what they see as an easy victory in the fall, but many, many more are petrified at the thought of a victory in the general election for Trump. Although the idea of Trump at the helm of the nation is petrifying, the idea of his competitors running the country is equally, if not more terrifying.
Trump may have flip-flopped his way to the right of the country, but he at least once held moderate viewpoints on many issues. Cruz and Kasich, however, have done all they can to dismantle unions and women’s rights throughout their careers. Trump’s comparatively light misogyny has far less of a real-world impact on women than Kasich, whose strict anti-abortion and anti-reproductive-rights stance has resulted in the closure or limitation of more than a quarter of Ohio’s abortion clinics since the start of his term as governor. Trump is at least able to acknowledge the valuable non-abortion resources provided by Planned Parenthood. Ted Cruz doesn’t think women who have been raped should be able to get abortions.
While the idea of President Donald J. Trump nuking Europe, walling off our southern neighbor, banning an entire religion from immigrating to the U.S. and generally alienating the rest of the world, the fact remains that Trump would not be able to deploy most of his policies without facing impeachment.
Presidents Cruz and Kasich, however, would provide an invaluable opportunity for the Republican-led House and Senate to pass innumerable restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, repeal universal health care, infringe on the restroom rights of transgender people and generally wreak havoc on the social progress made during the last eight years.
We may be facing the most outlandish, vulgar presidential candidate in modern history, but his fallen opponents represented a much subtler form of evil.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified the senator who joked about murdering Senator Ted Cruz as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It was in fact Senator Lindsey Graham who made the joke.