Wisconsin Primary Results: An Ego Blow to the Front-Runners

This Matters | Abi Murphy | April 7, 2016

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If you somehow managed to drag yourself into a voting booth on Tuesday morning, and are still too hungover from a Tuesday night at the KK to Google who won, read this. And if you do keep up with politics, but want a break from the theatrical reporting of Trump’s twitter fingers and other drama, you can read this, too.

The state of Wisconsin held its primaries on Tuesday, and the results favored the underdogs of the Presidential race, Sanders and Cruz.

Wisconsin State results*:
Cruz: 36 delegates, 48%
Trump: 6 delegates, 35%
Kasich: 0 delegates, 14.1%

Sanders: 47 delegates, 56.6%
Clinton: 36 delegates, 43.1%

Dane County results*:

Cruz: 26,320 votes, 38.2%
Trump: 20,884 votes, 30.3%
Kasich: 20, 055 votes, 29.1%

Sanders – 102, 585, 62.6%
Clinton – 61,072, 37.3%

Source: Election results courtesy of The Associated Press

What This Means

Going into the primaries, the candidates all understood Wisconsin would be a make-it-or-break-it for front-runners. Unfortunately for Clinton and Trump, who have had a slight lead from the past primaries, it proved to to be the latter. Mid-primary season is time for front-runners to start clinching their wins, and by significant margins (around 13%), the respective top candidates for both parties lost.

In UW-Madison’s own county, Dane County, Cruz won by a whopping 8%, and Sanders slayed with a nearly 25% margin.

Cue the field day for #neverTrump and #feeltheBern campaigns around campus.

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Why It’s Important

These wins were HUGE for Sanders and Cruz.

Let’s start with the Dems.

Bernie’s win in Wisconsin was, in his eyes, an absolute turning point for the Democratic race. In in the 2008 Wisconsin primaries, Hil had a knockout round against Obama. Clearly, this wasn’t the case in 2016. Bernie crushed Hilary in many key counties, including Waukesha county and Dane county. Clearly some students are liking this whole “tuition-free” education idea. If you want to thank anyone for Bernie’s win in Wisconsin, however, thank Scott Walker, and the thousands of his #haters who showed up at the polls in support of Bernie.

“In Wisconsin, probably the easiest way to define a Bernie Sanders presidency and a Sanders administration is to tell you that it would be pretty much the exact opposite of a Scott Walker administration,” Sanders said at a Sunday night rally in Madtown.

This is important because out of the past seven primaries, Bernie has won six, putting an end to Hil’s prior winning streak. This momentum (fun drinking game: take a shot every time you hear a Bernie supporter use this “buzzword”) could really have an effect on the next scheduled primary, New York. Which would be a very symbolic and literal triumph, because no one likes getting beat on their home turf.

However, it is important to remember Clinton still has a substantial lead, with 1,780 delegates of the total 2,383 delegates needed for the Democratic nomination.

Now, for the Republicans.

Cruz’s victory in Wisconsin has a lot of people talking about how this might lead to a GOP “contested convention.” If you’re like me, and had absolutely no idea what this means, here is a quick explanation. Basically, every year one candidate is a super-star candidate and wins enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee for their party, and the party holds a convention as a symbolic party. However, if this doesn’t happen, it is considered a “contested convention,” meaning shit will go down at the convention, and the Republican meetings in Ohio will make a crucial difference in deciding the nominee.

This is not a good thing for the Republican Party!!!! The last time a contested convention produced a winning President for the United States was in 1932 with FDR.

Cruz’s victory over Trump has a lot of key politicians thinking this might end up happening, putting a lot of pressure on both Trump and Cruz as they continue their battle until the Republican National Committee nominating convention in July. Becoming a front-runner might be a little farfetched though, seeing as Cruz would need to win around 4/5 of the rest of the country’s delegates in order to win the Republican nomination. Trump, with his 743 delegates, still has an enormous lead over ever-insignificant Kasich, who holds 143 delegates, and Cruz who has 517 delegates.

Overall, there MIGHT be hope for the individuals who viewed a Trump vs Clinton election in the Fall as the inevitable– if you define “hope” as substituting one or both of those names for Sanders and Cruz.

Whether you favor the “underdogs”, or the charismatic (does this word even do justice to Hillary and Donald’s personalities?) “frontrunners” you should stay tuned for rest of this entertaining political show.