A win is a win. Wins in presidential campaigns are necessary, not just to garner the necessary delegates to capture the nomination of one of the two major political party’s, but they also provide the fuel for a campaign to continue on.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz needed a win in Wisconsin not just to further fuel his campaign, but to change the narrative of the Republican primary fight. Cruz needed to win in a rout over Trump. He was successful on Tuesday night, garnering 50 percent of the vote, but more importantly, he walked away with the lion’s share of the state’s 42 delegates.
While the win allows Cruz to begin closing the delegate gap between himself and Trump, the resounding victory is important because it makes it more likely that no candidate will win the 1237 delegates necessary to capture the Republican nomination outright. As it becomes more apparent that Trump win be unable to capture the nomination before the convention, Cruz will be seen as a stronger candidate in the remaining states.
Cruz benefited greatly from the “Never Trump” effort that spent millions of dollars attacking Trump in Wisconsin, and his win on Tuesday means that will likely continue. Another important factor on Cruz’s side is time. The Anti-Trump effort spent a lot of money in previous contests with little to show for it until Wisconsin.
What changed wasn’t the ads or avenue of attack, but the pace of race slowed considerably for the Easter holiday. Easter provided over two weeks for Cruz to campaign and for the Anti-Trump forces to attack the GOP frontrunner in advance of the vote in Wisconsin. It just so happens that there is another two-week period before the next contest in Trump’s home state of New York.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Cruz campaign and the Anti-Trump crowd approach New York. Not only is it Trump’s home turf, but it will also be expensive to play to win there. Instead, they may choose to ignore New York and instead focus on Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Regardless of what they choose to do, the most important thing is that they have the time to conduct a thorough campaign.
Trump can survive the loss in Wisconsin, but it’s the campaign that is sure to follow that will cause him problems. Trump let many of the negative ads running against him in Wisconsin go unanswered. The decision to do so is probably rooted in the belief that the Anti-Trump movements had not been all that effective. Trump’s luck ran out as the campaign slowed down, and now if he doesn’t fund a paid media campaign to counter the negative campaign being run against him, he could suffer the same fate.