Donald Trump has been dealt a major blow in his bid to wrap up the Republican nomination after Ted Cruz’s victory overnight in Wisconsin. Cruz’s victory speech was laced with apparent providence, suggesting that he is now the man to take the Republicans forward. He said that the state has ‘lit a candle guiding the way’, before going on to proclaim the win as a key moment in the race for the GOP’s nomination:
‘Tonight is a turning point, it is a rallying cry to the people of America. We are winning because we are uniting the Republican Party.’
But although Cruz was keen to talk up the significance of the victory, Trump – despite having been dealt a blow in defeat – still isn’t dead and buried yet. The billionaire businessman remains the Republican frontrunner (with 740 delegates to Cruz’s 514), and he was quick to point this out. He is also continuing to present himself as the Republican anti-candidate, suggesting that Cruz is merely doing the party’s bidding. In a statement, the Trump campaign said:
‘Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet – he is a Trojan horse being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination.’
This is a tactic which has worked well for Trump in seizing support from a large percentage of Republican voters fed-up with their party. But using the same approach in defeat is harder to justify, in that it makes the Donald just look like a sore loser.
Whether this is the moment we’ll look back to as the beginning of the end for Trump is hard to say. The race for party nominations on both sides continues to draw up surprises on a night when Hillary Clinton was defeated by Democrat rival Bernie Sanders. But it does seem significant in showing that Trump isn’t immortal. At many points in the race, he’s appeared to be able to say and do whatever he pleases. However, following a string of misguided comments in recent weeks, Trump’s defeat shows that he is just like every other politician: he is at his weakest when he takes success and support for granted.