Will Donald Trump Win The Wisconsin Primary? The Badger State Could Seriously Upend The Race

Donald Trump has dominated the Republican primaries so far, but that may come to an end when Wisconsin holds its presidential primary on Tuesday. For a number of reasons, the state could quite easily become a turning point in the campaign, because it’s going to be awfully hard for Trump to avoid a contested convention if he loses in the Badger State. So, will Donald Trump win in Wisconsin?

In all likelihood, he will not. First of all, Trump has been trailing Ted Cruz there for quite a while now, and there’s no real reason to suspect the polls will change, or alternatively, that they’re wrong in some systematic way. But Trump's problems in the state extend beyond that.

Exactly one week before the primary, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker endorsed Cruz over Trump which, as you probably assumed, resulted in Trump insulting the former presidential candidate. But according to the influential Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes, this was “a huge tactical error” on Trump’s part, because Walker still holds sway with a lot of Republicans in his state. The same week, Trump gave a disastrous interview on Sykes’ radio show, as he didn’t realize Sykes was part of the #NeverTrump crowd when he agreed to the interview.

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All of this spells trouble for Trump in Wisconsin, and if he loses the state, the odds increase substantially that he won’t win enough delegates to avoid a contested convention. That, in turn, will make it very hard for him to become the Republican presidential nominee, because he'd then have to win roughly 60 percent of the remaining delegates in order to avoid a contested convention. While that’s not impossible, it will be an uphill climb, given that he’s already fallen behind in his delegate targets and hasn’t come close to winning 60 percent of the delegates awarded thus far.

It’s unlikely, then, that Trump will win the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination. And if the Republican convention is contested, it’s going to be extremely difficult for Trump to become the nominee.

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There are a couple of reasons for this. He's notoriously unpopular with Republican insiders, and in a contested convention, they’ll be the ones calling the shots. Furthermore, Trump has failed in the stealth campaign to elect loyalists to delegate slots in key states, which means he’ll almost certainly lose a lot of votes on the second and third rounds of voting. And lastly, several state Republican parties are moving to deny Trump as many delegates as possible, which strongly suggests that the party, as a whole, does not want him to be the nominee.

The usual caveats apply: All of this is up in the air, because political forecasting is an imperfect science and this race has been abnormally unpredictable even to the smartest of forecasters. Still, it’s looking likely that Trump will lose Wisconsin — and perhaps, in the process, the Republican nomination.