Republican Primaries Going Forward

Ted Cruz WisconsinTed Cruz’s victory in Wisconsin last night was by 13% over Donald Trump, a gap no poll predicted would be so wide. Cruz has a tendency to outperform the polls, and it showed again in this primary. John Kasich was an also-ran—again.

Cruz won 36 of the state’s 42 delegates. This was a state that many had called “perfect” for Trump. That was a premature call.

Over the past couple of weeks, Cruz has won Utah with 69% of the vote, North Dakota by getting 18 of the 25 delegates there (Trump has only one outspoken supporter among those delegates), and as Colorado began its drawn-out process of choosing delegates, Cruz picked up the first 6; more will be chosen later this week, and he is expected to dominate the rest of the selections.

Normally, when someone wins, the loser comes out with a statement of congratulations, while pledging to win the next time. Not so Trump and his campaign. What issued from the Trump camp had to be the most graceless, whiniest response yet. I won’t bother you with the entire statement; you can find it online easily. But here are some highlights:

  • Trump continued his theme by referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted”
  • He said the result was based on false advertising
  • Cruz, the statement asserted, was “attempting to steal the nomination”
  • Cruz was being “used” by the party bosses
  • And, to top everything, the statement said Cruz “was coordinating with his own Super PAC’s (which is illegal)”

What was the proof offered for that last accusation? Nothing. Nothing at all. Just believe us. It had to be the reason why we lost.

Donald TrumpYou see, in Trump World, there is no such thing as an honest win for the other guy. Trump, you understand, is a winner, never a loser. So if it appears that he lost, it had to be due to some kind of chicanery and fraud.

That’s the Trump theme, and he will be sticking to it, regardless.

What should we expect in the coming primaries?

Already, everyone is saying New York, which is next, will be Trump’s crowning achievement, as if winning one’s home state is not to be expected. Here’s what to watch for in New York. Will the huge lead Trump currently enjoys in the polls there start to come down as Republicans ponder what has taken place in Wisconsin and in those other states I mentioned where Cruz is ascending?

New York also is not a solid winner-take-all state if Trump can be pulled down below 50% of the vote. Watch the polls carefully over the next two weeks; Trump’s numbers may begin to slide; Cruz’s may start rising. And if Cruz once again outperforms those polls, Trump may win, but not with nearly as many delegates as he thinks.

Pennsylvania, we’re told, is not good for Cruz. Pay attention. Pennsylvania’s primary is different than most. None of the delegates going to the convention from that state are bound by the election results. What, you say? Is this another “dirty trick” to deny Trump the nomination? Hardly. This is the way Pennsylvania always has done it, long before anyone ever heard of Donald Trump. The Cruz people are very organized, unlike the Trump campaign’s fly-by-night approach. You can be sure they are currently helping line up a slate of delegates more amenable to a Cruz nomination.

It’s too hard to predict beyond that, simply because what transpires from now until those elections will make a difference. Will Trump continue his headlong plunge into baseless accusations and bizarre behavior? What outrageous statement will he make next that will turn off voters?

States like Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana are all Cruz territory. This is not over.

What do I predict? No one will get the 1237 delegates necessary for nomination prior to the convention. The decision will be made there, and the Cruz team is at the top of its game right now—not playing tricks, but doing what all good campaigns do, preparing for that convention vote. If Trump doesn’t get the magic number after the first ballot, he’s never going to get it.

At this point, I think the possibility of a Cruz nomination is greater than a Trump nomination. And no, Mr. Trump, it won’t be because the nomination was stolen from you; it will have been won by the rules, fair and square.

Please note that I’m not saying Cruz will win, but I’m far more optimistic than I was before. We’ll just have to see how this rolls out over the next two months.