Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant More than 10,000 migrants await processing under bridge in Texas Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State MORE and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE were the big winners on Tuesday night, easily carrying the Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively, in Wisconsin.
What did we learn from the results in the Badger State?
A contested Republican convention is much more likely
Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE didn’t just get beaten in Wisconsin — he got trounced.
Votes were still being counted as of midnight Eastern time, but with 80 percent of precincts reporting, Trump lagged Cruz by about 14 percentage points. Cruz is guaranteed 18 delegates for winning the state, as well as three more for each one of the state’s eight congressional districts that he carries. While the final totals are not clear yet, it appears likely that Cruz will win at least 33 delegates of the 42 total delegates.
This puts a dent in Trump’s hopes of getting to the magic number: the 1,237 delegates required to claim the nomination at the Republican National Convention in July. The businessman will likely have around 740 delegates when the smoke clears. That means he will need to win about 60 percent of those who are up for grabs in the remaining contests.
Trump could plausibly do that with big wins in New York and elsewhere on the East Coast, as well as in California, which has a massive delegate haul. But his odds are longer after Wisconsin than they were before.
For Cruz, the scale of his win underlines that he is Trump’s only real challenger. The chances of some entirely different candidate being anointed as the GOP nominee at a contested convention in Cleveland now seem vanishingly small.
Bernie Sanders is in till the end — much to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE’s annoyance
Sanders is on a roll. His comfortable win in Wisconsin means that he has now won seven of the last eight contests (when the “Democrats Abroad” expatriate primary is included). The Vermont senator made sure to note that fact in his victory speech on Tuesday night — an address in which he also insisted that it was he who had momentum in the Democratic race.
In truth, there seems very little chance that the tide now moving in Sanders’s favor will be strong enough to tug the nomination away from Clinton. Sanders lags her by more than 200 pledged delegates and his deficit among superdelegates is even greater. Absent some unprecedented political earthquake, Sanders will not be able to overcome that.
But his support is clearly strong enough to justify him staying in the race. The torrent of money coming his way from small-dollar contributors also attests to the passion he inspires.
It’s all an irritation to Clinton and her aides, who would rather turn their attention, and their campaign expenditures, toward Republicans at this point.
They would also prefer not to face more implicit barbs from Sanders about powerful monied forces “buying elections.” But that’s too bad — Sanders is not going anywhere.
The Teflon Donald is no more
Could Wisconsin be the place where Trump finally went too far? The businessman was tripped up by controversies over abortion and his retweeting of an unflattering photo of Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi, among other things.
According to exit polls, 54 percent of people who voted in the Republican primary on Tuesday believed that Trump had run the most unfair campaign of any GOP contender. And a startling 38 percent said they would be “scared” if he ultimately became president.
Those findings are all the more striking because, up until now, Trump has shown an extraordinary capacity to emerge unscathed from controversies that would have sunk more conventional candidates. Previous scrapes have involved everything from Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE’s (R-Ariz.) time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to Trump’s willingness to defend the size of his manhood in a debate.
Still, Trump is hardly going to change now. In a fiery statement released on Tuesday as results were still coming in, his campaign inveighed once more against “Lyin’ Ted Cruz,” who was purportedly “being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.”
Trump might well be able to right his ship in two weeks, when his native New York votes.
But, for the first time during his campaign, he now looks vulnerable.
Hillary Clinton has big problems with young voters
The simple fact of her defeat was setback enough for Hillary Clinton. But there was even more worrying evidence for her supporters as they drilled down into the exit poll data.
Her capacity to reach beyond the Democratic Party base is seriously in question: While she ran even with Sanders among registered Democrats, he beat her by more than 40 points among independents.
Clinton’s performance among young voters was even worse — bordering on horrific. Among voters aged 29 and under, Clinton won just 18 percent to Sanders’s 81 percent. Even among those in the 30–44 bracket, the former secretary of State lost by a two-to-one margin.
The young are a vital constituency for Democrats, and Clinton just isn’t clicking — unlike President Obama, who commanded enormous and impassioned support from younger voters during both his presidential runs.
If November’s general election is competitive, that could be a very dangerous Achilles’ heel.
A huge night for #NeverTrump
If Donald Trump had pulled out a win in Wisconsin, or even kept the contest with Cruz close, his internal opponents would have had to confront the reality that their chances were slipping away.
Instead, the margin of Cruz’s win will give them fresh impetus — and, no doubt, a new deluge of cash into their coffers.
Trump’s defeat is also testament to the power of conservative talk radio. In Wisconsin, the top conservative talkers displayed an unusual unanimity in their opposition to Trump. His defeat may embolden other figures in the right-of-center media landscape to take similar positions.