If the GOP National Convention is normally a formality, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) just guaranteed that this year's will be anything but. After the senator's blowout win in Wisconsin Tuesday, the only thing that is certain about the Republican ticket is that it will probably take extra innings to decide.
After impressive showings in Utah and North Dakota, Cruz's wave of momentum only swelled in the Badger State after a series of missteps cost Donald Trump a state he was leading by 11 points as recently as February. Now, what seemed like a steep climb to the top of the GOP field before is within striking distance for the Texas senator, who -- even the media agrees -- has put the race on the path to a contested convention. With victories in every demographic, it's no wonder reporters -- and Cruz himself -- called yesterday's primary a "turning point." With a 20-percent cushion, Cruz's biggest prizes were the 36 delegates, which he banked to Trump's six (and Kasich's zero). From ideology to gender, religion, and even age, Cruz swept every category -- most, soundly. With a 21-point edge among evangelicals, he also helped to push back on the media's narrative about the Trump faithful, winning the bloc easily and convincingly.
To many, it was Trump's most consequential defeat yet. "Even if Trump manages to regain lost momentum quickly, Wisconsin left him bruised," the Dallas Morning News warned, "with a vastly narrower path to securing the nomination before Republicans gather in Cleveland in July." It is becoming evident nationally that the longer the race goes on and the contradictions mount, Americans' infatuation with the blunt billionaire is wearing off. In a head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, Trump is now only three points ahead in Mississippi -- the most conservative state in the union! With Cruz, the separation is as razor thin as ever. Nationally, the two Republicans are in a statistical dead-heat, 39 percent to Ted's 35, which is within the margin of error.
The wear and tear is also starting to show on Trump's overall favorability too. After his biggest misstep -- suggesting women should be punished for having an abortion -- Donald now has less overall appeal than either of the remaining two candidates among black and white, young and old, women and men. And while the campaign "clarified" his position, the damage to everyone, including the pro-life movement, had already been done. Maybe now, more voters are reconsidering how prepared the mogul is to lead the party -- or a nation -- when he fails to understand its core values. "[Tonight] is a rallying cry," Cruz told a cheering crowd. "It is a call from the hard-working men and women of Wisconsin to the people of America: We have a choice."
DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins has made an endorsement in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.