“It’s not the will to win that matters. … It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” ~ Paul “Bear” Bryant
People here at Ted Cruz’s campaign headquarters are meticulously preparing to win a contested convention, if there is one. Because Donald Trump is a low-energy fellow, Cruz will be positioned to trounce him in Cleveland, where Trump’s slide toward earned oblivion would accelerate during a second ballot.
Wisconsin has propelled Trump, a virtuoso of contempt, toward joining those he most despises: “losers.” In the 1992 general election, Ross Perot, a Trump precursor, won 21.5% of Wisconsin’s vote, above the 18.9% he won nationally. Wisconsin’s populist tradition is persistent and indiscriminate enough to encompass Robert La Follette and Joseph McCarthy. And evangelical Christians are less important in Wisconsin than in contiguous Iowa. Nevertheless, temperate Wisconsin rejected Trump, partly for the reason that one of his weakest performances so far was in the reddest state, Utah, where conservative Mormons flinched from his luridness. His act — ignorance slathered with a congealed gravy of arrogance — has become stale.
If, as seemed probable a month ago, Trump had won Wisconsin, he would have been well-positioned to win a first-ballot convention victory. Now he is up against things to which he is averse: facts. For months Cruz’s national operation has been courting all convention delegates, including Trump’s. Cruz aims to make a third ballot decisive, or unnecessary.
On the eve of Wisconsin’s primary, the analytics people here knew how many undecided voters were choosing between Cruz and Trump (32,000) and how many between Cruz and John Kasich (72,000), and where they lived. Walls here are covered with notes outlining every step of each state’s multistage delegate selection process. (Cruz’s campaign was active in Michigan when the process of selecting persons eligible to be delegates began in August 2014.) Cruz’s campaign is nurturing relationships with delegates now committed to Trump and others. In Louisiana’s primary, 58.6% of voters favored someone other than Trump; Cruz’s campaign knows which issues are particularly important to which Trump delegates, and Cruz people with similar values are talking to them.Read the rest of George Will's op-ed HERE.
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