"There he is, (Mr.) America. There he is, your ideal.”
With Ted Cruz and John Kasich bowing out of the Republican race this week, only Donald Trump remains. Deep down, in the pit of our souls, we always knew it would end this way, didn’t we?
And yet the finality of Trump effectively clinching the nomination this week sent shockwaves through the Republican Party, driving downballot candidates into a fit of nervousness as party leaders scrambled to decide just how they would deal with the new face of the GOP.
Today's For the Record is brought to you by Josh Hafner and Eliza Collins, USA TODAY's new OnPolitics blogger and future Saturday FTR gal. Now that it's basically official, we're ready for six more months of talking Trump on the trail. But before all that, let’s take a few moments to remember Cruz and Kasich. Here’s how:
Step 1. Plug in your headphones and play “I Will Remember You,” by Sarah McLachlan.
Step 2. Read the below, smile fondly, and weep.
Ted Cruz: We’ll always have Iowa
The last day of Cruz's campaign was pretty bleak — Trump implied that his dad was linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and then he got slammed by double digits in Indiana by the same guy who told everyone his dad might be associated with an assassin. (By the way, there's no evidence that says it's true.) And finally, right after he gave up his dreams of being president, he almost knocked out his wife.
Back before it all went downhill, there was Iowa. When there were still a million Republican candidates in the race and the #NeverTrump movement had big hopes, Cruz won the Iowa caucuses 28% to Trump's 24%. Cruz was riding high even if Iowa was the beginning of Trump's nickname "Lyin' Ted." Cruz won a lot of other states, too, and for awhile he looked like the party's only hope for a Trump alternative. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham even endorsed him — and he hated Cruz so much so that he had said picking between Trump or Cruz was "like being shot or poisoned."
John Kasich: We’ll always have sandwiches
While Kasich doesn't have the same scorecard as Cruz, he did win Ohio — he had the confetti to prove it — but where the Ohio governor really shined on the trail was in eating. He bopped all throughout the United States and got to sample some of the country's best fare. On one particular day in New York, according to Business Insider, Kasich ate:
• Two plates of spaghetti bolognese
• A sandwich of his own design, The J.K. Special, including salami, provolone, mozzarella, pickles and hot peppers
• Pasta fagioli with cheese
• A bit of antipasto from someone else's plate
He also drank some wine and ordered cannoli to go.
"Mamma mia!" Kasich proclaimed
Meanwhile, Democrats aren't putting a bow on it anytime soon
In the Democratic race, Sanders scored a win in Indiana, but his victory doesn't actually mean all that much since Hillary Clinton still has a big lead with pledged delegates and an even bigger lead when you include superdelegates, which are party leaders and elected officials hundreds of whom have said #I'mwithher. But Sanders said that doesn't matter because he still sees a path to victory (though he admits it's a not wide one) and he's sticking it out until “the last vote is counted.”
“I don't know, maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I think that the people of every state in this country — including the largest state in America, California — should have a right to cast their votes as to who they want to see as president of the United States, and what kind of agenda they want the Democratic Party to have,” Sanders told NPR.
ICYMI: More from the campaign trail
Trump is the Republican nominee! Except a lot of Republicans aren't all that excited about him, like say, the man who will be in charge of the GOP convention (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
But there's hope: Trump said he'll meet with Ryan next week (USA TODAY)
Sanders is stacked if he wants to play hardball at the Democratic convention (USA TODAY)
The election of which candidate do you like least (USA TODAY)
Trump attempts Hispanic outreach by eating a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo, seriously (USA TODAY)
Often-secret donors spend big to push elected officials' pet projects