Wisconsin votes Tuesday for … Paul Ryan!

How will Wisconsin vote Tuesday?

Wouldn’t Megyn and Shep, Wolf Blitzer, and Comet like to know!

The Marquette Law School Poll released last week has Cruz up 40% over Trump’s 30%; Kasich gets 21%. But who gets the delegates?

Joe Handrick's analysis

Each of the state’s eight congressional delegates elects three delegates to the national convention in Cleveland. They are bound by the winner of their district. The other 18 are bound by the statewide winner. All delegates — statewide or congressional — can be released only if their pledged candidate releases them or if that candidate falls below 35% of the roll call vote at convention. (Each state is different.) It is more than conceivable that the convention rules committee this year could change the rules to make easier the release of delegates.

The conundrum facing Republicans is that if they vote for Kasich does that elect delegates for Trump? Kasich, in Madison Saturday, said, “A vote for Kasich is a vote for Kasich.” Maybe so, but if Kasich gets 33% of the Second District’s vote and Cruz gets 32%, Trump gets the delegates with his 35%.

Former state legislator Joe Handrick of Minocqua is one of the most perspicacious election observers in the state. He predicts Cruz wins statewide, giving him those 18 delegates, and at least another five of the state’s eight congressional districts for a total of 33 of Wisconsin’s 42 delegates. Trump, he says, could win the other three congressional districts for nine delegates, or be shut out entirely. Kasich, he thinks, could get three delegates out of the 2nd Congressional District (Madison).

Joe works his numbers out on the back of an old state government inter-departmental mail envelope. He doesn’t have the services of Ol’ Sparky, the Eisenhower-era mainframe computer housed in the tool shed here at the Stately Manor. (The mechanism also pops corn and melts the butter for it.)  After an oil change and a new fan belt, the white lab coats at the Blaska Policy Werkes jump-started the relic and watched it light up like a Philco console TV dropped into the bathtub.

The envelope, s'il vous plaît

Two shift changes later, Ol’ Sparky blinked twice, emitted a puff of acrid blue smoke, and spat out these results:

•  Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton by six percentage points. (FBI agents are sharpening their pencils.)

•  Rebecca Bradley by two percentage points over JoAnne Kloppenburg for state Supreme Court. (After Brookfield reports on Thursday.)

•  Chris Abele over Chris Larson 56%–44% in Milwaukee County. Larson is just foul. A major architect of the Democrats’ failure in the Legislature.

•  Tom Barrett over Ald. Bob Donovan; a surprisingly close 52%–48% for the incumbent mayor over a Trump-like character.

For the GOP presidential nomination, Old Sparky puts it at Cruz 46%, Trump 29%, and Kasich 25%. But how many delegates, you clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk?! Sparky whirred a bit more before revealing:

•  Trump: 3 delegates (Sean Duffy’s far-northern 7th District)

•  Kasich: 3 delegates (Dane County-centered 2nd District)

•  Cruz: 36 delegates (six districts X 3 plus 18 statewide)



Is Cruz a placeholder?

The Great Squironi

There is something of a cultural disconnect; Cruz seems foreign, coming out of the Deep South with a charismatic, fundamentalist Christian background. Wisconsin is more pragmatic; so it is fitting that my mentor, Tommy Thompson, is heading Kasich’s Wisconsin effort.

At his event Saturday at the Coliseum Bar, Kasich clearly outlined a make-it-to-the-convention strategy. He recounted his efforts shepherding Reagan to Midwestern state caucuses trying to woo delegates in the 1976 convention.

“Your life changes when you are a delegate. All of them feel a burden on their shoulders. They know they will be picking the commander in chief, the potential leader of the free world.”

But Kasich’s best line Saturday was, “Where is my Spotted Cow?” One was quickly proffered. (Fun fact: Kasich travels in a big old Airstream travel trailer.)

Saw Scott Klug Saturday, a Kasich supporter. Also Terry Grosenheider and Ave Bie. (I’m attending the Cruz town hall with Megyn Kelly today.) Klug has been quoted as saying that pining for Ryan, the home-state congressman and House speaker, is widespread.

Better call Paul

Ol’ Sparky deals in facts. For pure intuition and gut instinct, we turn to the Great Squironi. The all-seeing Squironi predicts Wisconsin sounds the death knell for the transitory Trump madness and ensures a contested convention. Politico says losing Wisconsin “would surely embolden the anti-Trump forces in other states.”

Both Cruz and Kasich may be mere placeholders, sandbags to stop the flood tide of Trumpism. I have been saying this for the past six months that a contested convention will turn to Paul Ryan. ("Draft Paul Ryan," Nov. 18, 2015.) Now young Christian Schneider, token conservative at a certain Milwaukee daily, agrees. He notes that Ryan disavowed interest in the Speaker’s job but was prevailed upon to take it. It will happen again this July in Cleveland. Republicans “Better call Paul” he writes.

In the 10 previously contested Republican conventions, the front-runner became the nominee only three times. … This year, when the candidates reach Cleveland, the Republican Party will be plagued with three damaged candidates, all tainted by the odor of failure. Ryan is one candidate who has been poll-tested on the national stage. … Ryan has contrasted himself with the current presidential field, exuding strength, compassion and policy expertise. This likely has not been an accident.

If Trump heads into the convention without the magic number of 1,237, already more than a hundred delegates are poised to break with him on a second ballot, Politico reports.

Spin that one, Hannity and O’Reilly!

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