Donald Trump's Latest Loss Stings More Than The Rest — And For Good Reason
Throughout the seemingly never-ending 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump has boasted that he's not a politician — or made some variation on the claim. But as it turns out, one of the crucial benefits of being a politician is knowing stuff about politics. It's been clear to me (and a lot of other people) that Trump doesn't know squat about politics, and it seems like voters are realizing it, too. Now that Trump has lost Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, the difference between him and Ted Cruz is finally becoming important. Wisconsin is clear evidence that Cruz knows how to play the game, while Trump simply knows how to yell stuff.
Now, Trump is still leading Cruz in delegates – 743 to the Texas senator's 517 – but he seems to be finally running out of momentum. Or, rather, the Never Trump movement is finally consolidating around a single candidate (really no one wanted that candidate to be Cruz, but here we are), and thus that candidate is gaining.
For the better part of year, we believed that a Trump nomination was an impossibility. But in the last couple of months, we've gradually accepted it as a near-inevitability. After Wisconsin, it seems like we may get a third act; we've reached a point where it's not inconceivable that Cruz will successfully block Trump from the 1,237 delegates the celebrity real estate mogul needs.
"Wisconsin tells us three things," Brian Baker, who helps oversee the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC, told The Wall Street Journal. "Number one, Trump can't close the deal. Number two, Trump is not inevitable and there will be an open convention this July. And number three, Republicans do not want to waste their vote on someone who cannot beat [Democratic front-runner] Hillary Clinton."
Trump put in a lot of work stumping in Wisconsin, and he lost massively (by 13 percentage points). The double-digit defeat for Trump was especially crushing after recent missteps (remember that abortion punishment remark? I still definitely do). The possibility of a contested convention has never been so real as it is now that Trump has lost Wisconsin in a big way.
Still, in all likelihood, we're going to be stuck with Trump for the foreseeable future — though, Cruz and maybe even John Kasich will be right there with him. Realistically, as hard as it will be now for Trump to get the required 1,237 delegates, Cruz has even farther to go. And to a degree, it doesn't matter who wins New York in a few weeks, because it's not a winner take all state. The candidates will split the delegates, making it more unlikely that Trump or Cruz will reach the magical 1,237 fast.
After New York, the next big GOP primary to look out for is California's — which, you guessed it, also awards delegates proportionally — in early June. That means that for better or worse (and probably the latter), Trump will remain in the Republican race. However, at least for the first time in recent memory, Trump may face an uphill battle to get the delegates he needs.