What Wisconsin’s congressional GOP primary can tell us about the future of the Republican Party.
We should make something very clear, current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was always going to win his primary contest. But I don’t think anyone expected this bad of a landslide! Getting more than 80% of the vote, Ryan CRUSHED his challenger Paul Nehlen in his primary race. Even though the race was a complete blowout by Ryan, there are actually two important takeaways from yesterday’s primary race.
There are Voters Within the GOP That Still Support the Establishment Pick
Wisconsin is by no means a “red state.” It hasn’t voted for a Republican president since the 1984 presidential contest, not to mention areas like Milwaukee and Madison within the state continue to make Wisconsin a Democratic stronghold.
Still, many would be surprised by the number of conservatives that exist in rural areas. After all, Wisconsin did elect Gov. Scott Walker twice and currently has a Republican senator representing the state in Ron Johnson. So for Ryan to win big last night in his predominantly conservative district, it showed that there are still voters who support GOP Establishment politicians like Ryan.
While this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, a Ryan victory at least shows signs that just maybe the old-guard within the GOP can hold on till after November once this populist dissatisfaction over incumbent Republicans blows over. Assuming this anti-establishment wave is just a phase within the Republican Party and not the new norm…
This Major Defeat Could Spell Disaster for Trump in the General Election
It doesn’t take a genius to see the parallels between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s primary opponent Paul Nehlen. Just watch his two-minute campaign ad if you need any context. Nehlen, in many cases, was a localized version of Trump. And he lost last night by a “UGE” margin!
If you’re Trump today, Nehlen’s massive loss should be concerning. Granted while Nehlen doesn’t share nearly the same amount of name recognition as Trump does, the Wisconsin challenger basically mirrored his campaign after Trump and lost by a 70-point margin to a conservative voting base!
Considering Trump in the general election will have to get MANY MORE votes in a more diverse voting base – that hasn’t been as conducive to his message thus far – there’s a real chance the general election could get ugly!
(Photo Credit: Paul Ryan Instagram)