By ZACH NOBLE
A good deal of fatalism has pervaded the #NeverTrump discussion, mainly because there's plenty of fatalism to be had. A lying con man is getting a shot at the presidency thanks to the anger of a burn-it-all-down crowd of largely uneducated, largely unemployed Americans for whom early death is an increasingly common phenomenon.
In a tone of sincerity, not parodic derision: Sad.
But maybe Wisconsin can give us hope.
The people of Wisconsin have quite a few good things going for them.
Wisconsin's unemployment rate is below the national average in 15 counties (and 12 of those counties went to Cruz).
Cruz benefited especially from the votes of practicing Christians in Wisconsin, demonstrating the power that pastors have to sway those members of their flocks who actually show up to services (people who say they're evangelicals but never go to church, on the other hand, are prime Trump supporters).
Of course, Wisconsin has faced struggles. The state has lost one-fifth of its manufacturing jobs since 2000 (like much of the Rust Belt), many of them replaced with paltry $12.50-an-hour positions. In many rural counties, the population is shrinking.
But despite their economic pain, the majority of Wisconsin's GOP voters saw through the Donald's bombast, and they cast anti-Trump votes.
Perhaps they found hope in their churches, their marriages or their livelihoods.
Or maybe it was the fact that Wisconsin people are just plain nice that kept them from going to Trump.
"Here in Wisconsin, we value things like civility, decency," Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes proclaimed as he challenged Trump on-air.
Small towns across the state like Oostburg, Wisconsin, heard Trump's message of anger, and decided they wanted none of it.
Their civilization was worth preserving, not burning to the ground.
"Oostburg is a strong, functioning, loving town," wrote journalist Tim Carney after spending a day chatting up the locals and witnessing small acts of kindness. "It has no need for Donald Trump."
Three-quarters of the town pulled for Cruz.
If we hope for the future of America, let's hope there are more towns like Oostburg out there.
Zach Noble is a journalist who has covered everything from the OPM hack to a rescue dog's retirement party. He's been wrestling to reconcile his bleeding heart Catholicism with his pragmatic libertarianism since that freshman year love affair with Ayn Rand. He tweets erratically as @thezachnoble.