Interesting Thoughts after Trump’s Thumping in Wisconsin

April 6, 2016

Nate Silver at 538:  It was a good night for Cruz, a bad night for Drumpf.

Obligatory sanity-check post: I know that the details matter, and that we’re interested to see whether Trump can take a congressional district in Wisconsin despite his poor night statewide. But it bears repeating that he’s having a really bad night and Cruz is having a really good one.

Cruz currently leads Trump by 23 points with about a quarter of Wisconsin reporting. The Upshot expects that lead to eventually narrow to about 15 points. Still, that would be a larger margin of victory than predicted by any poll. And even if Trump ekes out a handful of delegates from congressional districts, he’ll be well behind the 25 delegates we expected him to win Wisconsin a few weeks ago.

Another observation from Nate Silver:  Drumpf has never yet won a majority in any state’s primary; Cruz actually has (and how!).

Of the 31 states to hold some type of presidential preference vote — I don’t count Colorado, Wyoming or North Dakota in that group — Trump has yet to receive a majority in any of them. Cruz could win a majority tonight in Wisconsin; he’d also previously done so in Utah. (And in Wyoming, if you want to count county convention results.)

One Holman Jenkins at the Wall Street Journal suggests that Drumpf was never serious about becoming president.

His presidential campaign began as a lark and, despite his primary wins, remained one. He was never serious in the Hillary sense. He has been fingering his get-out option since he got in. If you didn’t see it, it’s because you forgot what a presidential race really is.

He’s not the only one saying so.  Kurt Schlichter:

Moreover, he doesn’t really even want to be president – my contacts have been telling me for months that Trump never expected this and has tried to find a way to get out without looking like a wuss, including considering a fake cancer scare.

(The rest of the column is pretty entertaining, too.)

Or, as Jody Avirgan’s interlocutor “Data Skeptic” succinctly puts it:

Trump’s an opportunist who duped pundits to add value to his brand; his implosion is an exit strategy.

And of course the former Trump strategist who came out against Trump last week, Stephanie Cegielski, said:

Almost a year ago, recruited for my public relations and public policy expertise, I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.

The Trump camp would have been satisfied to see him polling at 12% and taking second place to a candidate who might hold 50%. His candidacy was a protest candidacy.

Final thought from Nate Silver:

In some ways, though, this misses the big story in Wisconsin. What was really different about tonight is not how poorly Trump did, but how well Cruz did.

. . . it’s Cruz who had the breakthrough, getting 49 percent of the vote as compared to between 25 and 30 percent in the four Wisconsin border states. Cruz also won all sorts of demographic groups that he doesn’t usually win.

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