Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Donald Trump Faces Harsh Test in Wisconsin

This is a great piece.

Wisconsin's primary's tonight. I have no clue what's going to happen, as some polls have had Trump leading Ted Cruz by as much as ten points. But we'll see. Trump couldn't fill a hall in Milwaukee last night, so the Badger State's not like the groundswell he's been receiving in states like Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina.

At WSJ, "Donald Trump Faces Great Test Against Wisconsin’s Conservative Political Network":

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Wisconsin Republicans could be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare: a sophisticated electorate guided by a conservative political network that has honed its tactics during 13 state Senate and two statewide recall elections held since Republican Scott Walker became the governor five years ago.

Mr. Trump has built a formidable delegate lead in the Republican presidential primary by appealing to people who are infrequent voters. But they are a rarity here—especially in the vote-rich counties that ring Milwaukee and form the core of the state GOP base.

During the 2012 general election, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties each saw turnout of 79% or more. Only one county in the state saw turnout less than 55%, according to the state’s Government Accountability Board.

“Wisconsin has been through a lot of challenging elections, so people are up on the issues,” said Alberta Darling, a Republican state senator from the Milwaukee suburb of River Hills who survived a 2011 recall after backing Mr. Walker’s repeal of collective bargaining rights for most of the state’s public employees. “We are seasoned voters and that’s made a big difference this year.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz barnstormed the state on Sunday, beginning with a Green Bay rally where he was introduced by Mr. Walker, who didn’t say Mr. Trump’s name but said the state’s Republican voters won’t be easily swayed.

“No matter what anybody says coming into the state, we are well-informed,” Mr. Walker said.

At stake in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary are 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Mr. Trump retains a commanding delegate lead, with 736, compared with 463 for his closest rival, Mr. Cruz. A Republican needs to win 1,237 delegates to become the party’s nominee. Wisconsin polls show Mr. Cruz holding sizable leads over Mr. Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Mr. Trump on Sunday called for Mr. Kasich, who is a distant third in the delegate hunt with 142, to end his campaign. “He’s not taking Cruz’s votes; he’s taking my votes,” Mr. Trump told reporters in Milwaukee.

Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf said no Republican candidate will win the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the nomination before the Republican National Convention in July. “We look forward to Trump dropping out before the convention,” Mr. Schrimpf said.

In addition to a GOP electorate educated on conservative issues, Mr. Cruz has another hidden advantage: Republican voters here show up. Of 10 presidential swing states tracked in a 2012 Bipartisan Policy Center report, only Wisconsin had more than 70% voter turnout in each of the last three presidential elections.

And Milwaukee’s conservative talk radio hosts have taken a victory lap in the national media after treating the Republican front-runner to a series of rough interviews, touting themselves as the bulwark of the anti-Trump forces.

But if Wisconsin hands Mr. Trump a defeat Tuesday, it will be because of voters such as Ed Perkins, a 75-year-old retiree in Grand Chute.

Always interested in politics, Mr. Perkins said he first became involved in conservative causes to defend Mr. Walker and Republican state senators during the recall elections of 2011 and 2012. He now leads a local tea-party group and on Friday hosted a Cruz campaign event featuring Mr. Cruz’s father, Rafael, at a restaurant in Appleton.

“People like myself have become more knowledgeable about what’s going on,” said Mr. Perkins. “The result of that, of all the candidates, we feel Ted Cruz is the constitutional candidate in front of us.”
Still more.

And see Betsy Woodruff, at the Daily Beast, "Sad! Donald Trump Bombs in Milwaukee."