From: A Wisconsinite Reader [Email him]
In a way it isn’t surprising to me that Cruz beat Trump in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has always been an odd state, and I say that as a lifelong resident. It is an odd mix of liberal radicalism and lets-not-rock-the-boat middle-of-the-roadism. Basically, the state is half liberal, half moderate, and this makes its movements a bit deformed.
People look at the state and expect that, since it is half Republican and half Democrat, that thus it is half liberal and half conservative. But that isn't the case. It is probably 40% liberal, 40% moderate, and 20% conservative. Thus once in a while the stars align, the conservatives get a hold on a good section of the moderates, and drag them along for a somewhat uneasy ride.
But the moderates start making noise before too long, like State Senator Luther Olsen (literally a Ripon Republican—he represents Ripon, WI) and his betrayals on Common Core. But Olsen isn't a hardline liberal. He's a moderate. He went along with some of the conservative reforms, but for the past couple of years now he's been trouble. Now reform has really slowed down, and it takes a lot of wrangling to get even a few decently reform-minded bills through the legislature.
The people in this state don't really like the liberals, but they don't really like the conservatives either. What they would prefer is a moderate government tinged with conservatism.
But back to Trump and Cruz. I think this is a state that would have required a miracle for Trump to win. His direct, forceful style is off-putting to the large moderate element who would rather have yogurt for dinner instead of steak. I doubt many of them like Cruz, but his softer, almost sentimental manner puts them at ease.
It was also a big night for Bernie, who beat Hillary 56.6% - 43.1%. This state has a lot of doctrinaire liberals who wouldn't think Hillary is faithful enough to be trusted. Plus a lot of large campuses for the youth vote, which always favors Bernie.
Like I said, this is an odd state.
James Fulford writes: One reason some Wisconsinites don’t get the need for Trump is that they’re not suffering from diversity. For example, the town of Oostburg, below, is 95% white:
Another way of putting that, from our old friend David Frum: