Indiana is called the "Crossroads of America," and last night, it was the crossroads of 2016. The Hoosiers' decision ended up being the final one, as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) made the difficult determination to end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. It was certainly not an easy announcement -- not for Ted to make, and not for conservatives to hear. In some of the most politically and culturally turbulent times of our history as a nation, Ted Cruz was a symbol of hope to so many Americans hungry for principled leadership.
Like millions of others, I'm disappointed in Indiana's results and troubled by what lies ahead. But in the midst of it all, I'm grateful for men like Ted who have not -- and will not -- wave a white flag in the battle for the soul of America. In his heartfelt speech last night, Senator Cruz made it clear that the end of his candidacy was not the end of his crusade for our values.
"From the beginning I've said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory. Tonight, I'm sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed. Together, we left it all on the field in 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. But hear me now I am not suspending our fight for liberty.... I am not suspending our fight to defend the constitution, to defend the Judeo-Christian values that built America."
Now, as the battle shifts to the general election, Republicans have another decision to make: will they get behind Donald Trump or will the deep divides threaten to split the party even more? This is a different election cycle than anything our nation has experienced, and obviously, there are strong feelings on both sides about the polarizing candidacy of Donald Trump. As we saw last night, the GOP's presumptive nominee is on a mission to win over religious voters, which as Indiana's results show, is a taller task than the media makes it out to be. In the end, it doesn't come down to his style or his personality -- it comes down to his policies and his running mate. Who is going to vet his judicial nominees? What kind of agenda will he advance as president? Most conservatives, including myself, are still waiting to see the substance of a Trump administration and the vision he has for America.
As polling shows, the evangelical churchgoers who broke so powerfully for Ted Cruz are very concerned about the moral climate in our country. We can live with bad trade deals or high taxes, but we cannot live with bad judicial nominees. One look at the last quarter century and it's painfully obvious how important the courts have become in shaping the cultural and political landscape of America. This morning on an interview on Fox Business I was asked if I was now going to support Donald Trump. I made clear my goal is not to advance a candidate or even party. My mission is to advance policies and a set of values that are fundamental to making America great again.
For more on the surprise announcement from Ted, check out my interview on Fox Business.
DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins made an endorsement in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.