Wisconsin voting results will prolong primary season

Image By: Jessi Schoville and Jessi Schoville

Wisconsin handed presidential front-runners of both parties a pair of solid defeats Tuesday, ensuring that the races will continue long into spring.

In the Republican race, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz routed Donald Trump, making it more difficult for the business mogul to clinch the GOP nomination prior to the convention this summer, where party delegates may not be receptive to his freewheeling policy proposals and harsh rhetoric.

“It certainly makes it harder,” said UW-Madison political scientist Michael Wagner. “Trump’s got to win more than 55 percent of the remaining delegates on the way to the convention to hit the magic number and I don’t think that’s very likely for him.”

Despite an electorate hit hard by the same forces of globalization and deindustrialization that made states like Michigan fertile ground for Trump’s message of protectionism and nationalism, Wisconsin proved resistant to him.

According to Wagner, Wisconsin’s above-average educational level and the prevalence of talk radio played a role.

“Educated voters were way more likely to vote for Cruz instead of Trump,” Wagner said. “That was part of what happened to Cruz, who did especially well in Dane County and Milwaukee County, where a lot of Republican voters are highly educated.”

“Another thing that happened is that Trump ran into a conservative talk radio buzzsaw in Wisconsin,” he continued. “Conservative talk radio is pretty powerful among Republican voters in this state and Charlie Sykes, a talk show host, gave Trump a really tough interview early in the week.”

For Democrats, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders trounced former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the backs of younger voters and white working-class voters, dragging out a primary that most pundits claim she has already won.

However, according to Wagner, Sanders’ persistence will force the party to cater to his excited base of young progressives.

“If the people who have been inspired by Sanders to participate in this system keep doing so, even if he loses, then I think he’ll have a real opportunity to shape the party especially on economic issues,” Wagner said.

As media prognosticators leave Wisconsin and lofty promises of impenetrable border walls and free college move on to new states, the primary endures as a simple reminder of the importance of civic duty.

“[Voting is] our strongest democratic responsibility and if you don’t vote, you don’t care who wins,” said UW-Madison freshman Matt McGuire. “Everyone has some sort of an opinion.”

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