Donald Trump should be wrapping up the GOP presidential nomination by now. He has a nearly 200 delegate lead on Ted Cruz, who is all but mathematically eliminated from the race.
But he is stumbling in the state that is set to vote next, Wisconsin. The latest poll has Trump down 10 points to Cruz.
Why is Trump struggling in Wisconsin, a blue state with heavy manufacturing, which is his base? Part of it is some unfortunate remarks Trump has made on everything from Ted Cruz’s wife to abortion. But the biggest reason is that Wisconsin’s conservatives are largely supportive of the GOP leadership.
Because if Wisconsin is where Trump’s wave finally breaks, it will be in no small part because of Charlie Sykes.
Sykes is Wisconsin’s leading conservative radio voice after 23 years on the air and a leader of the #NeverTrump brigade since long back before it had a hash-tag. He might also be the single biggest impediment to Trump’s winning Wisconsin’s primary next Tuesday and putting the GOP nomination on ice.
[…]But if Cruz does ultimately find fertile soil in Wisconsin, it’ll be due largely to Sykes’ spadework and the anti-Trump broadsides he’s been delivering almost daily to an audience of 100,000 conservatives in southeastern Wisconsin going back to last summer.
“Talk radio’s impact can’t really be understated,” Batzel said. “And it’s first and foremost anti-Trump. There have been such tough battles here with the bargaining reforms, the recalls and Walker’s re-election, and talk radio has been a key outlet for informing the voters and informing the electorate.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus hails from Wisconsin, as does House Speaker Paul Ryan. Another reason is that conservative activists and Republican Party leaders are on far friendlier terms than in other states.
If Trump is defeated in Wisconsin, can Cruz replicate this kind of effort in future states? Most likely not. Most of the remaining states should be far more favorable to Donald Trump than Wisconsin.