It's over for Rick Perry. The former Texas governor, currently running at 0.8 percent in the RealClearPolitics poll average, announced this evening that he will become the first Republican candidate to drop out of the 2016 presidential race.
From early in the summer, Perry was among the loudest, most direct critics of Donald Trump, and he went out with a speech that offered a series of not-so-veiled shots at the GOP frontrunner, saying in remarks this evening that Republicans "do not need to nominate a candidate who speaks louder than his record," and that "the answer to our current divider in chief is not to elect a Republican divider in chief."
Perry also criticized the "base appeal" of certain types of anti-immigration rhetoric, warned that a candidate who can't stand up to questions from reporters won't be able to stand up to powerful world leaders, and cautioned that the eventual candidate should be more focused on conservative ideas than on defending his or her own celebrity, clearly alluding to Trump in all cases.
It's too bad that Perry's dropping out. I obviously have an awful lot of disagreements with him, especially on foreign policy, but he ran a worthy, interesting campaign, and has a state record that's worth taking note of. But, as I argued back in August, he just couldn't compete in a race consumed by Donald Trump.