April 5, 2016
Ted Cruz needed a win in Wisconsin. He wanted a good margin. He got a huge one. Near twenty points as it looks now. Cruz is on the precipice of 50%, a level he’s exceeded in a few caucus states, but a number that’s eluded Donald Trump in any of his wins.
Cruz will wind up with the vast majority of delegates, perhaps all of them. That matters. It reduces the odds Trump can get to the magic 1237 before the convention.
The raw vote margin is the big story. It indicates Cruz has a chance of getting very close to Trump in the delegate count by the time voting is done. If he can win Wisconsin by this much, he’s likely to win Indiana fairly easily.
John Kasich was an asterisk. Only a couple weeks ago he was in shouting distance of Cruz. If everything had broken right for him he might have competed here. The most recent polling showed GOP voters actually liked him the best.
But they were more anti-Trump than pro-Kasich. If a voter detested both Cruz and Trump, they stayed with Kasich. Anybody even slightly ok with Cruz went with him.
Kasich is facing the same negative feedback loop that killed Marco Rubio’s candidacy. Losing begets losing. He hoped for a better than expected Utah result heading into Wisconsin.
Didn’t happen. After making little progress in Wisconsin and having Scott Walker endorse Cruz, Kasich spent more time campaigning in New York. Now those voters are reviewing his disaster in Wisconsin.
If anti-Trump New Yorkers think Kasich has no chance to go anywhere, it increases the odds Cruz finishes second in the Empire Stare. It may help him win congressional district delegates too, but would definitely put Kasich at a disadvantage in Pennsylvania.
If Wisconsin were closer, if Cruz were closer to 40% than 50%, he’d have less margin for error. Now, even if he does 10 points worse in the Keystone State, he would still defeat Trump.
You can officially start considering a Cruz win in Maryland on the same day (4/26.) Remember, though blue states are less favorable to Cruz, Trump does better in open primaries. The 4/26 contests are closed.
The same Wisconsin minus a bit math makes Washington, Oregon and California very possible Cruz wins. Barring a total collapse, Trump has West Virginia in the bag and should do well in New Jersey.
But Cruz is almost definite in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Montana. If Ted wins all but a couple of the May and June elections (New Mexico is a bit up in the air), it’s easier for Cruz to build legitimacy at the convention.
It’s way premature to fit Cruz for the nomination crown. He was greatly assisted by Governor Walker, who won three statewide elections between 2010 and 2014. Both he and Paul Ryan are very popular with Republican Wisconsinites.
As you may have heard, local talk radio rallied around Cruz while regularly attacking Trump. For now voters are more concerned with stopping Trump. If Cruz goes on a streak, people may get cold feet on him.
That’s all a concern for another day. For now, Cruz moves forward to New York with his best win of the season. This was way more impressive than his 4 point Iowa victory.
At least for now, many Republicans think they’re better off Ted.