Newspaper article International New York Times

Opponents See Trump Fading in Wisconsin ; Resistance Was High in State Even before His Most Recent Controversies

Newspaper article International New York Times

Opponents See Trump Fading in Wisconsin ; Resistance Was High in State Even before His Most Recent Controversies

Article excerpt

The Stop Trump movement may never have another chance like the one in this state, where resistance to Mr. Trump was high even before the recent outrage.

The danger signs are mounting for Donald J. Trump in Wisconsin: Right-wing radio hosts are flaying him, Gov. Scott Walker and other elected Republicans have endorsed Senator Ted Cruz, and a new poll showed Mr. Cruz with a 10-percentage-point lead in the state before Tuesday's primary.

The Stop Trump movement may never have another opportunity like the one here, where resistance to Mr. Trump was running high even before his campaign became consumed by a new round of controversies, from his mocking of Mr. Cruz's wife to the arrest of his campaign manager to his comments in favor of punishing women who get abortions.

If Mr. Trump is dealt a setback in the Wisconsin primary, including a potential sweep by Mr. Cruz of all 42 delegates, it would be his most prominent reversal since his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in February. And it would show Mr. Trump's vulnerability before the race moves to New York and other Northeastern states.

The state's Republican establishment, cohesive and battle-tested after years of partisan warfare under Mr. Walker, has dug in to support Mr. Cruz -- not out of true love for the Texas senator, but in a marriage of convenience to halt Mr. Trump, whose temperament and conservatism many doubt.

But at the same time, if the forces arrayed against Mr. Trump do not prevail in Wisconsin, they are unlikely to slow Mr. Trump in the ideologically more favorable turf of the East, increasing his chances of locking down the nomination before the July national convention.

A poll released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School showed Mr. Cruz leading the Republican field with 40 percent and Mr. Trump with 30 percent, a reversal from a month earlier when Mr. Trump held a 10-point lead. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio was third, with 21 percent.

A Cruz victory will suggest that a backlash against Mr. Trump has set in after a series of nasty episodes, including his insults of Heidi Cruz and the arrest of Corey Lewandowski, Mr. …

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