Here are the winners and losers from the Democratic and Republican primaries in Wisconsin.
Winners and Losers:
1). Bernie Sanders – Bernie Sanders was expected to win in Wisconsin, and he did. The quick call of the race for Sanders suggests that he got a bigger win than the polling might indicate. The Sanders campaign had organized well in the Badger State, and there are fewer states in the country that are more tailor-made for the Sanders message than Wisconsin. The win will also keep the small donors dollars flowing into the Sanders campaign.
If Bernie Sanders can win in New York, he will change the trajectory of the Democratic primary, but before he could get to the Empire State, Sen. Sanders had to get the job done in Wisconsin. Sanders did what he needed to do, and after a brief stop in Wyoming, the Sanders campaign will turn their focus to New York. Candidates who capture presidential nominations, win the states that they are expected to win. Sen. Sanders got the job done, which is why he is still alive and well in the race for the Democratic nomination.
2). Ted Cruz – There will be some debate over whether the results in Wisconsin symbolized a vote for Ted Cruz or a vote against Donald Trump. While most of the discussion is focused on whether Trump can get to the necessary number of 1,237 delegates, but the reality is that Cruz won’t get to 1,237, and won’t end up with more delegates than Trump. Sen. Cruz has become the alternative to Trump because he is the last viable candidate standing.
Ted Cruz got a win but make no mistake about it; his support is a mile wide and an inch deep. When a party has no certain nominee in April, they have no viable nominee at all. Cruz may have slowed down Trump, but he also exposed the fact that Republicans are in big trouble in November.
3). Never Trump Republicans – The Never Trump Republicans finally got their big win that may have denied Trump the Republican nomination. Wisconsin showed that Republicans at least in one state could rally together to stop Trump. Donald Trump gave the people who are out to stop him numerous gifts through his self-inflicted wounds. Trump may bounce back and roll through the East, but for one night the anti-Trump forces feel really good about their efforts.
1). Donald Trump – Trump didn’t just lose Wisconsin. He was destroyed. The Wisconsin Republican electorate was never favorable for Donald Trump. The fact that Trump isn’t going to be giving a speech or holding a press conference shows that the blustery billionaire has been bruised by his big defeat in Wisconsin. The wheels haven’t completely fallen off of the Trump campaign, but he is looking very beatable. No number of phone in interviews on cable news can help Trump recapture the image of the winner frontrunner who is going to make America great. Trump comes out of Wisconsin looking like a loser who is in way over his head.
2). Hillary Clinton – The Clinton campaign expected to lose Wisconsin, and they did. Wisconsin was made for Bernie Sanders, and Clinton was never going to have much of a chance in the state once the Sanders campaign caught fire. Bernie Sanders won’t gain many delegates coming out of Wisconsin, but New York is now as close to a must-win as the Clinton campaign has faced in this primary. Clinton is still in the driver’s seat, but the image of Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic nominee feels like a million years ago. The good news for Hillary Clinton is that the challenging race for the Democratic nomination will make her a better general election candidate if she becomes the nominee.
3). John Kasich – Gov. Kasich limped to another third place finish in Wisconsin. It is doubtful that Kasich will win another state in 2016. Both Trump and Cruz want Kasich out of the race, and the Ohio governor has become a complete non-factor. It appears that Kasich is hanging around just to keep his delegates and hope for another home state miracle at the Republican convention in Cleveland.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association