Donald Trump’s back – and there's nothing the Republican party can do | Christopher Barron
Two weeks is an eternity in politics. On April 5, Senator Ted Cruz won a decisive victory over GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in Wisconsin. Cruz’s victory was supposed to mark the beginning of the end for Trump. The pundits and the anti-Trump crowd in the Republican party crowed about how his campaign was finally on the verge of the meltdown they always insisted would transpire.
Back then, Cruz declared: “Tonight is a turning point. It is a rallying cry.”
Well, on a spring night in New York, that turning point became a U-turn.
Trump’s victory cuts across every demographic. He won right across the state. With young and old. And despite all the talk about his problems with female voters, he won decisively with both men and women.
All of the work Cruz had done to narrow the delegate gap over the last two weeks, picking them off one at a time, is likely to be completely undone by tonight’s victory. Worse for him and his supporters, the calendar is about to get even more daunting. Next week, voters will go to the polls in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. All states where Donald Trump leads in the polls.
The trajectory of this race is now back to where it was before Wisconsin. Donald Trump is in the driver’s seat. He is the only candidate capable of securing the 1,237 delegates needed before the Republican national convention in Cleveland and he is the clear favorite to win the nomination.
This does not mean that Trump is unstoppable. It’s still possible that the formidable anti-Trump forces within the party might succeed – but it won’t be at the ballot box.
Because what tonight’s results make clear is that when Republican voters are asked to go to the polls to select the party’s nominee, Trump usually wins. The Cruz campaign has banked on low-turnout caucuses and winning delegates in states that didn’t bother to have a presidential preference vote at all.
This presents a stark contrast in how the two men are perceived as we head towards the finish line. Donald Trump is the candidate of Republican primary voters, while Ted Cruz – incredibly, given his past – is the candidate of party insiders.
If Donald Trump fails to secure the nomination in Cleveland, it will not be because it was “stolen” from him as Trump supporters are already claiming. If Cruz – or some other candidate – succeeds on a second, third or fourth ballot, that will be completely with the rules. It won’t be cheating, but it also won’t be consistent, even in the vaguest sense, with what Republican primary voters actually want.
I am not a Trump supporter. I didn’t vote for him when my state (Virginia) voted, and I am not sure that I can vote for him in November if he is the nominee. I do, however, believe strongly that political parties are made up of people, and at the end of the day the Republican party should be a reflection of what those people actually want.
Donald Trump will go to Cleveland having won – by far – the most votes, the most primaries, and the most delegates. What would it say about the Republican party if at that point, at the end of an almost year-and-a-half-long process, it simply said “thanks, but no thanks” to the will of its own voters?
New York, like so many of the nominating contests in this cycle, might not be want party insiders want, but it does express the desires of grassroots Republicans.
Right now all roads lead to a Trump nomination. The only question is whether the establishment can find a last minute detour.