Ted Cruz, a man who probably isn't the son of a Lee Harvey Oswald accomplice but is possibly the Zodiac Killer, is definitely not going to be the 2016 Republican nominee for president. Last night the junior senator from Texas took the stage in Indiana, with all those high-wattage lights threatening to melt his flesh-style synthetic surface layer. After winning only 36 percent of the vote in that state's Republican primary—the last, best place to sustain hope of capturing his party's nomination—Cruz announced that he's suspending his campaign, the time-honored euphemism for the end.
First: goodbye to the specter of a contested GOP convention in Cleveland and the accompanying riots. Second, if the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency and its goose-stepping aftermath weren't such a frighteningly real distraction, Cruz's defeat would be cause for celebration. A guy who used his Ivy education and attorney's mind in service of bomb-throwing conservatism and political cynicism, who campaigned on a dressed-up and God-fearing version of Trump's ugliness and only took to denouncing the orange-haired one after he was no longer useful to his own presidential ambitions—this is the guy that finally has to eat shit in front of a camera? The 21st-century political media complex exists for this kind of Schadenfreude.
That's not to say Cruz is without redeeming qualities. Just hours before the Indiana primary results came in Cruz attacked Trump as a liar and a narcissist, making what might have been the first-ever Back to the Future II-based insult by a legitimate presidential candidate. "We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency," Cruz said.
And for good measure, after the speech in which he announced the death of his election hopes for 2016, Cruz left us the gift of this GIF:
So the final images of Ted Cruz's first presidential bid are of him putting a right hook on one of his wife's cheeks, then elbowing her in the other, then pulling into somber embrace, like no one would notice his impromptu Muay Thai clinch entry. This comes on the heels of Cruz watching erstwhile "running mate" Carly Fiorina fall into the Indiana crowd like someone opened a trap door, only to keep glad-handing without a moment's concern. The highlight-reel combo begs for a Jim Ross voiceover—oh, wait.
The strangest part of all? It always seemed like Ted Cruz would be the one to get punched in the face.