Election Thoughts: Badger State Primary

by awindram

Brief thoughts on the election narrative for the last week or so.

Main strokes:

Wins for Cruz in Wisconsin and Colorado

Wins for Sanders in Wisconsin and Wyoming 

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been busy moving apartments, but things seem fairly quiet with the election at the moment, even the “controversy” from the Trump camp regarding Colorado seemed fairly half-hearted – is this just the calm before the New York storm?

Paul Ryan has announced today that he won’t be accepting the GOP nomination if it were offered to him at a contested convention. I may be misremembering, but didn’t he claim similar just a few months ago with the speakership of the house? He’s such a needy tease that Mr Ryan.

Someone who is decidedly not a tease but is all out gagging for it is Kasich.  Following his dismal showing in Wisconsin his entire election strategy is that in the 2nd round of a contested convention all eyes will turn to him – as if he were some kind of coquettish debutante the delegates will be eyeing lustily. This obliviousness of Kasich’s is almost endearing, this belief that he is soon going to be the most wanted member of the GOP as opposed to the more pitiful future that actually awaits – the spurned Miss Havisham of the party, cobwebs collecting around him as he sits in a gown made of yellowing “Kasich for America” banners.

From my late-night cable viewer’s perspective the Wisconsin primary was about as enthralling as actually living in Wisconsin. The only interesting tension was to be found in the almost Beckettian absence of Trump. Why was he staying so silent? Was he seriously passing on the opportunity to pontificate in front of a national TV audience? His unusual stream of consciousness addresses on these primary election nights have anchored this election’s batshiiteriness, and a somewhat haltering, platitude spouting Bernie speech, in which he sounded ever more like an octogenarian dalek, was no replacement for that.

Cruz, like Sanders, also bored with an overlong speech – although, in fairness to both of them, Wisconsin may have been so unappealing an election night to the cable news networks they decided to give themselves an easy night and simply broadcast these speeches in full rather than going to the actual trouble of providing any analysis. Cruz was, of course, Cruz and so ended up coming across as seriously creepy to anyone outside of his most ardent supporters; when he performs his campaign speeches he reminds me of a precocious student hamming it up as Reverend Powell in an inappropriate High School production of The Night of the Hunter.

Still, Cruz’s win in Wisconsin makes a contested convention almost certain, but we’ll have to see if that oft-mocked word “momentum” is with him – as that’s what he seems to need to make a more compelling case (as well as allowing him to seem like a legitimate nominee) going into Cleveland if he is still trailing Trump in the delegate count. Wisconsin seems such an odd state, the home of the non-crooning Scott Walker as Governor and a GOP electorate that is arguably – perhaps due to the attempted recall of Walker in ’12 – more united than any other in the US.