Donald Trump was dealt a major setback Tuesday, when NBC News and CNN projected he had finished second in the Wisconsin primary behind Ted Cruz, who’ll walk away with most of the state’s 42 delegates.
The results will breath fresh life into the #NeverTrump movement, which has invested millions in efforts to stop Trump with little success until now. It’ll be difficult for Trump to get the 1,237 delegates he would need to win the nomination before July’s Republican convention in Cleveland. He would now have to clinch as much as 70 percent of delegates in the coming contests to win the nomination outright.
It’s a tall order, but not an impossible one: Trump had been hammered on Wisconsin talk radio for weeks. He won’t face such concerted attacks when the race moves to states in the northeast, including New York in two weeks.
If it comes to a brokered convention, Trump would be in trouble. Cruz has been building up a strong network of volunteers whom he can deploy to lobby delegates in the coming weeks. His campaign is already wooing unbound delegates in states like North Dakota.
As Politico wrote last week, “if Cruz packs the arena with supporters, Trump could watch the nomination slip away from him. And he knows it.”