Trump lost in Wisconsin, which is a unique state and not necessarily a Republican stronghold. I don’t think this is a harbinger of some sea change in the likely outcome of the primary. Trump will still pull this off, and nothing relevant has changed.
Like much of the Upper Midwest, Wisconsin reflects the values of the German and Scandinavian people who settled it. This has long been a Republican leaning area, but has little of the libertarian-oriented and bellicose culture of the Scots Irish, nor the pro-capitalist feelings of the Patrician WASPs of the Northeast and every country club in America. Midwesterners are in favor of order, tranquility, efficiency, fiscal responsibility, but is not necessarily concerned about racial issues, from which it is largely insulated, nor animated by the kind of culture war resentments that inspire “ethnic” whites who have fled diversity in America’s cities.
Trump somewhat uniquely has won among a variety of constituencies: Southerners, Evangelicals, working class whites from rural and urban areas, and New Yorkers impressed by his plain spokenness. But the Midwest and its culture of “niceness” and high level of social peace and prosperity are not fertile ground for his message. But the races ahead suggest a series of wins, including in NY. Furthermore, the press is guilty of malpractice in its failure to run down Ted Cruz’s sex scandal, which should kill his fraudulent campaign, and the party leadership appears to have used him as a “cat’s paw” to dethrone Trump, with the aim ultimately of installing a moderate like Jeb, Graham, or Rubio at the convention.
This won’t work. For starters, Trump is likely to hit the majority number for delegates or get very close to it. And, even if he didn’t, and even if somehow the party installed one of its own at the convention–which Kasich thinks would be just neato–the voters would either follow Trump to a Third Party, refuse to vote on principle, or do something else to show their contempt for the GOP. Such a move would play into their well evidenced paranoia of a party cabal hostile to its voters, and the party will be like a locomotive pulling empty cars. Perhaps that’s inevitable. The party’s coalition of the rich and the working class is an uneasy marriage at best, the leadership offers little to the latter part of that group, and our interests are increasingly divergent. It seems win win. Either Trump rebrands the party, or the party disappears and a new, nationalist party takes its place. There just ain’t enough country club members to win elections.