Texas Senator Ted Cruz may have turned the race for the Republican nomination with his win in Wisconsin Tuesday night, taking more than 30 of the 42 delegates up for grab. Doing so leaves Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner, with very little room for error going forward if he wants to win the 1,237 necessary delegates to secure the nomination on the first ballot cast during the GOP convention. And although the GOP billionaire and real estate mogul did not make a direct television appearance after Cruz was declared the winner, Cruz’s Wisconsin win still led to a total Trump meltdown.
“Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet — he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump. We have total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win in New York, where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls, and beyond. Mr. Trump is the only candidate who can secure the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and ultimately defeat Hillary Clinton, or whomever is the Democratic nominee, in order to Make America Great Again.”
In addition to the furious statement the Trump campaign unleashed, the Trump camp also said that its candidate “withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again” and stated that Cruz had the support of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as well as a number of local conservative radio hosts. As the “anti-establishment” candidate, Trump’s success is often tied in with drawing the contrast between himself as an outsider, and those whom he considers GOP “insiders.”
“[Trump] is the only person who can secure the nomination through the delegate acquisition process,” Lewandowski said Friday.
So-called “anti-Trump” Republicans, however, disagree. Most believe that Trump’s only way to secure the Republican nomination is by clearly winning the 1,237 delegates needed to do so.
“There is a growing consensus that Trump’s best chance to win the nomination may have come and gone,” said Saul Anuzis, who is the former Michigan GOP chairman and a Ted Cruz supporter. “The path for getting to 1,237 before the convention is very limited for everybody now.”
The fact that the path for all three candidates left — and there are still three, as John Kasich still refuses to leave the race — does mean that the chances of one of them getting to the 1,237 delegates needed are very slim at this point. And statements released by Trump’s campaign after Cruz’s decided win in Wisconsin leave little doubt that Trump is willing to fight to the end, which also increases the chances for a contested convention in July.
Republican officials now seemed resigned to the idea. According to Politico, the Republican National Committee held a conference call specifically to explain the intricate rules of a contested convention to around two dozen veteran GOP operatives. This is, Washington strategist Bruce Haynes says, a clear signal that “everyone can see this coming now.”
There are, however, three more months left before the GOP convention, and if there is one thing that has remained true about this primary season so far, it’s that almost anything can happen.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images News]