Wyoming voters have sent a clear message to the GOP: The Equality State isn’t getting on the Trump Train.
Voters, apparently unimpressed with the front-runner, almost shut him out completely at their Republican county convention on Saturday, giving him barely 7 percent of the vote.
Precinct caucuses were held March 1, and under half of the state’s 29 delegates were up for grabs on Saturday — the rest will be doled out during Wyoming’s state convention in mid April — but Ted Cruz swept up three quarters of them, taking nine of the available twelve. Trump, who has won eleven primary states, was awarded just one and received only 70 of 971 votes — a laughably poor haul for the Republican front-runner.
Losing Wyoming may not affect his momentum in the primary, but Trump barely beat out “uncommitted” in a red state full of white middle-class Evangelicals, his prime demographic.
If Wyoming held more sway in the primary, a loss like this might prompt pundits and campaign consultants to ask why Wyoming Republicans voted differently from the majority of their peers in eleven other states, but with only 29 delegates on the line, the anomaly of the Wyoming convention is likely to be passed over with little scrutiny.
#share#But what makes Wyomingites distinct from Trump’s usual supporters is important: They’re truly conservative.
According to a 2014 Gallup poll, Wyoming is the most conservative state in the U.S. Trump’s “bigger, better, gold-plated government” message doesn’t exactly speak to the hearts and minds of libertarian-leaning conservatives who would prefer that the government pave their roads and stay out of their personal lives. In a state that’s 91 percent rural, debatable success in Manhattan’s real-estate market means little, and it certainly doesn’t prove you have the chops to run a country. Trump’s big-government fantasies likely don’t resonate with Wyoming’s ranchers, hunters, and small-business owners who are lifelong, red-blooded, free-market Republicans, and Saturday’s results proved they aren’t buying Trump’s recent conversion to the Right.
#related#The distaste for Trump in Wyoming likely goes beyond policy. Wyomingites aren’t exactly sitting at home watching reruns of The Apprentice and wishing they could shake the spray-tanned hands of the man responsible for it. Trump’s penchant for peddling steak, vodka, and bottled water just exaggerates the distance he’s removed from the lives of average voters in the Equality State. Wyomingites don’t buy steaks from the Sharper Image; they raise them. Trump’s thin-skinned bravado and proclivity to scream “lawsuit” at every offense probably didn’t earn him any favorability points in a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps state where “rub some dirt on it” might as well be stitched into the state flag.
It seems Wyoming voters aren’t jumping on the “burn it down” bandwagon. If they’re spitting-mad at the GOP, they’re proving it by throwing their weight behind a proven constitutionalist instead of a lifelong Democrat. Wyoming voters took a stand for conservatism on Saturday. There’s plenty of room beside them for Florida and Ohio voters on March 15.
— Brooke A. Rogers was born and raised in Wyoming and is the assistant to the publisher at National Review.
[Editor’s Note: This article has been amended since its initial posting.]