Ted Cruz's speech in Wisconsin Tuesday night—one of the best of his presidential campaign—only briefly mentioned his top rival for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump. Instead, the Texas Republican, reinvigorated by a series of recent primary wins capped off by the double-digit victory in Wisconsin, had his eye toward the general election and his likely opponent, Hillary Clinton.

"Tonight was a bad night for Hillary Clinton," he said, noting her loss in Wisconsin to Bernie Sanders. "It was a bad night in the Democratic primary, and it was an even worse night for her in the Republican primary."

Nodding toward Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who endorsed him last week and who introduced him Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Cruz argued he was uniting the "full spectrum" of the Republican party. He offered a rallying cry, "jobs, freedom, security," designed for a national campaign. He touted the women in his life, like his wife Heidi and his mother Eleanor, whom Cruz said "smashed glass ceilings by becoming a pioneering computer programmer." Perhaps in a bid to transcend partisanship, Cruz even quoted at length an icon of the rival party, John F. Kennedy.

"'I think the American people expect more from us than cries of indignation and attack. The times are too grave, the challenge too urgent, and the stakes too high, to permit the customary passions of political debate. We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future,'" said Cruz, quoting Kennedy's 1960 Democratic National Convention speech.

"Tonight, Wisconsin has lit a candle, guiding the way to the future," Cruz continued. "Tonight, once again, we have hope for the future."

It was a banner night for Cruz, who at this writing appears on track to win most of Wisconsin's congressional districts and with them a big chunk of the state's 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Cruz, ever the strategist, took stock of the last few weeks of the GOP primary, and proclaimed that the race for the nomination has turned on "four very different states," adding Wisconsin to a list including Utah (which Cruz won resoundingly), Colorado (where two congressional districts awarded their delegates to him), and North Dakota, where over the weekend Cruz successfully picked up more delegates than expected at that state party's convention.

Calling the win in Wisconsin a "turning point," Cruz said he believed he was on the path to win the nomination. The only question for him was when he would do so.

"As a result of tonight, as a result of the people of Wisconsin defying the media, defying the pundits, I am convinced our campaign is going to win the 1,237 delegates needed to win," he said to cheers. "Either before Cleveland or at the convention at Cleveland, together we will win a majority of the delegates and together we will beat Hillary Clinton in November."

For all the confidence, Cruz remains behind Trump in the overall delegate count. And the GOP frontrunner doesn't show signs of fading quite yet, especially in the next big primary contest in his home state of New York on April 19. Polls show Trump leading Cruz there with about 53 percent support. If Trump can win over 50 percent of the vote in New York, he'll win most of the state's 95 delegates. That means the Republican race would essentially reset to the situation before Cruz's recent string of good fortune.

But that doesn't mean Cruz doesn't have reason to celebrate a big night in the Badger State. It keeps him in the race and hurts Trump's ability to reach the majority of delegates before Cleveland.

And the general-election pivots suggest Cruz recognizes part of winning over Republican primary voters in upcoming states like Pennsylvania and Indiana means convincing them he would be a viable candidate to defeat the Democrat in November.

"Hillary, get ready," Cruz said at the end of his speech. "Here we come."

A little premature, perhaps, but after Wisconsin, much more plausible.