In the wake of an expected victory in Wisconsin, Ted Cruz gave the expected victory speech.
“Tonight is a turning point. It is a rallying cry,” said Cruz to an elated crowd of his supporters.
Nonsense. What happens in Wisconsin stays in Wisconsin.
Cruz won 36 of 42 Wisconsin delegates. In the Path to a Trump Victory, Nate Silver estimated Trump needed to win 18 Wisconsin delegates.
Trump won six, leaving him 12 short.
New York has 95 delegates. Silver estimates Trump needs 58 of then.
I expect Trump will pick up 70 putting him back on track. I made that estimate on April 4 in Rumors of Trump’s Demise Overblown; Wisconsin May Not Matter if Trump Sweeps New York.
Silver’s Poll’s Only Projection
If those numbers for Trump come in, and we will find out on April 19, the momentum will clearly have shifted back to Donald Trump.
Still on Course
Financial Times writer Edward Luce sees things pretty much the way I do. In an article today, Luce says Donald Trump Still Just About on Course.
Despite having self-inflicted the worst two weeks of his campaign, and provoking the opposition of almost every senior Republican in Wisconsin, Mr Trump still took more than a third of the vote — and in a state that he was likely to lose.
Wisconsin’s demographics, which skew towards educated conservatives, are similar to that of Iowa, which Mr Cruz won at the start of the primary season two months ago. New York’s are closer to that of New Hampshire, which Mr Trump won handily the following week.
It is anybody’s guess what Mr Trump will say, or tweet. His capacity for self-destruction can never be underestimated. But it takes a leap of faith to believe he will be defeated on his home turf by a Texan conservative who denigrates “New York values”.
Wisconsin does not drastically alter the bigger picture. Republicans are probably heading towards a contested convention in Cleveland in which they will confront a choice between Mr Trump and Mr Cruz.
It’s a bit premature to come to the conclusion a contested convention is the odds-on-favorite, but it is increasingly likely.
In January, I stated the only likely way Trump could be stopped was a contested convention. That was long before media glommed onto the idea. Today the notion of a contested convention is mainstream.
Hell to Pay
It remains to be seen if we do have a brokered convention but a Talking Points Memo accurately says there will be Hell to Pay, if we do. Emphasis is mine.
I certainly knew that election night was not the end of the delegation selection process in most states – especially in caucus states. But I confess I did not realize how many states do not allow a candidate any direct control over who ‘their’ delegates even are. So Donald Trump could win all the delegates in a particular state but have party functionaries pick the actual people who will serve as ‘Trump’s’ delegates. So they’re bound on the first ballot but actually there to support Cruz or Kasich or some other unicorn candidate.
I think many people imagine a raucous and wild scene where the Trump delegates walk out of the hall after the convention gives Mitt Romney or maybe Jeb Bush’s son ‘P.’ the nomination. But in fact there may be no Trump supporters there to walk out. Now, obviously there will be some. But maybe not that many.
The ‘Trump delegates’ who agree to vote for someone else on the second ballot may not be former Trump supporters. They may be Cruz supporters or just party regulars.
All of this is why this is bounding toward a wildly destructive conflagration in Cleveland. Elections of all sorts rest not fundamentally on rules and bylaws but on legitimacy. An RNC national committeeman recently complained that the press had given people the wrong impression that voters decided who the nominee was rather than the party. By the rules, he may be right. But good luck sailing that ship across any body of water.
TPM Readers know, because it’s been one of the site’s core perennial issues for 15 years, that people’s right to their vote gets disregarded all the time. But it is by definition almost always the votes of the marginalized and those lacking power, almost always those most loosely tied to the political system. And usually it either does not or cannot be proven to swing an actual election. It is quite another thing, under the bright lights of intense national press scrutiny to take the win away from the guy who unambiguously won the most votes.
Trump’s constituency is the part of the electorate which Republican politicians have been marinating in grievance and betrayal politics for decades. Only it’s not coming from Al Sharpton or Hollywood elites or limousine liberals or Feminazis. It will be coming from their supposed protectors, their party.
It won’t go down well. There will be hell to pay.
Hell to pay indeed!
This is precisely why Trump feels marginalized to the point he may not support the Republican candidate if he doesn’t win.
And why should he?
Can Cruz Beat Hillary?
Can Cruz or some alternative “hand-picked” candidate defeat Hillary?
It seems dubious, at best. To win the election, the Republican nominee will have to pick up votes from some independents and some traditional Democrats.
What votes can Cruz pick up? Anything? I challenge anyone to explain what inroads Cruz, Kasich, or any other hand-picked Republican Neanderthal can deliver from either Democrats or Independents.
Appealing to the core is the road to ruin, and Trump proves it.
And if Trump runs on a third party ticket, it will be next to impossible for Cruz or any other Republican candidate win.
Can Trump Beat Hillary?
Despite the talk, Trump will retain nearly all of the traditional Republican vote. Sure, some may vote Hillary or sit the election out. But the strong anti-Hillary sentiment will overcome almost all of that.
On the plus side, Trump will pick up votes from anti-war Democrats, anti-war independents, anti-establishment independents, anti-Fed independents, and most importantly – angry white Democrats who blame China and Mexico for our problems.
On the minus side, Trump has offended a lot of people. However, there will be some time for him to make amends and sound more presidential.
Destructive Republican Party Breakup
Whether Trump wins the nomination or it is stolen from him, a destructive breakup of the holier-than-thou, war-mongering, neocon pseudo-conservative hypocrites running the Republican party is potentially at hand.
For that we can all thank Trump, whether you like the guy or not. It’s time to rebuild the Republican party, and this is a good start.
If the nomination is stolen from Trump, he can finish the job with a third-party candidacy.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock