When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) suspended his campaign after Donald Trump’s Indiana victory Tuesday night, Cornell Republicans were forced to face the increasingly likely prospect of Trump as the GOP nomination.
Former First Vice Chair of Cornell Republicans Jake Zhu ’18 said he believes Trump’s win Tuesday was predictable, although, “the wins that he has netted throughout the entire campaign [have] been an absolute surprise.”
“Like many have said before, experts from all over the political spectrum expected the Trump phenomenon to fade away by October at the latest,” he said.
Olivia Corn ’19, Chair of Cornell Republicans, said she believes with Trump’s win in Indiana, it is “blatantly obvious” that he will become the Republican nominee.
“Donald Trump was polling over 30 percentage points ahead of Ted Cruz in California, before Ted Cruz suspended his campaign and will probably win all 172 delegates, putting him within 12 delegates of the nomination,” Corn said. “Therefore, him reaching this 41 percent is almost a guarantee, especially with only Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) left to face him.”
Zhu said that he believes Trump’s appeal stems from his ability to speak candidly.
“Many people I have encountered know honestly that his platform is ludicrous, that his beliefs are ridiculous, and that he won’t get anything done,” Zhu said. “However, these same people showed up to vote for Trump. Why? Because he doesn’t speak through a filtration system. His speech and his words are uncensored. And brute honesty is what the American people want to hear. That is why Trump won tonight. And that is why Trump will capture the nomination come mid-summer.”
According to Corn, Trump’s nomination will split the Republicans into “those who like Trump and those who don’t.”
“Because many disgruntled Ted Cruz fans will either not vote or possibly vote for an independent due to their ‘Never Trump’ mindset, there is a strong possibility Trump will lose in the general election,” Corn said.
Austin McLaughlin ’18, Senior Vice Chair of Cornell Republicans, called that Cruz’s campaign suspension a watershed moment.
“While I have been against Ted Cruz for some time, his dropping out marks a turning point,” he said. “The Indiana primary has shattered any hopes of a GOP nomination that is not Donald Trump and it has made Trump’s nomination a chilling reality.”
Zhu said he finds it “eerie” that Cruz dropped out of the race so abruptly.
“This is a man I have a lot of respect for,” Zhu said. “Since his high school days, he planned out a journey for himself. A journey that he has followed through with excellence … until now. Nowhere else can you see a young high school student expressing confidence that he will go to Princeton, become a senator of a state and ultimately go on to become President.”
Corn said she believes a Trump nomination would lead to Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ascension to the presidency.
“What this unfortunately means is a Hillary Clinton presidency, because a large part of the United States greatly dislikes Hillary, but an even larger number abhors Trump,” Corn said.
However, Zhu shared his incredulity about any guarantee of Clinton’s future success.
“So is Hillary enough to stop Trump?” he said. “I think we may be in for a surprise come November. Especially if the Bernie voters don’t show up for Hillary.”