In America's strong small towns, Trump's anger fails to resonate

It’s not the German or Dutch blood that makes communities like Oostburg so healthy. The churches are essential. They have active missions and ministries that reach out to the needy in their community and out to poorer neighborhoods. The strong evangelical bent of the town explains Rick Santorum’s 59 percent to 34 percent win over Mitt Romney in 2012.

Santorum, however, also did very well in the northwest part of Wisconsin, where Trump won. It turns out Santorum’s vote in northwest Wisconsin, like his vote in many states, was largely the populist vote. The Santorum vote in Oostburg, and in many German communities around Wisconsin, was the conservative Christian vote — as evidenced by Cruz’s giant victory here Tuesday.

Many Dutch and German voters in Iowa and Wisconsin have told me they dislike Trump’s style as much as his policies. His personal showiness doesn’t fit in. His fondness for insults doesn’t either. Jill from Oostburg told me she voted for Cruz, but when I asked her about Trump she squirmed before speaking—Oostburgers aren’t comfortable badmouthing people, and she had nothing nice to say about him.

Ted Cruz may not seem like the perfect fit for the nice, reserved, collaboration-minded “frozen chosen,” (as many reformed Christians describe themselves). He’s not. He’s just not Trump.