Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Donald Trump, the New York billionaire seeking the Republican nomination for president, achieved something monumental in Monday night's Iowa caucuses. He became the very thing he most despises: a loser. With Texas Sen. Ted Cruz winning 28% of the vote, Trump's 24% narrowly beat Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for second place by one point. So much for all the polling, which Trump had obsessively been citing every three seconds.
To be sure, voter turnout was huge, at record levels. About 50% more Iowans braced the nighttime cold to get in on the action. That's a good thing for our Democracy. The more people who engage in our political process the more effective and inclusive it will be. And yes, as in-the-tank-for-Trump conservatives like MSNBC's Joe Scarborough have been pointing out, he garnered the most votes in the history of this state's caucuses save for Cruz himself. But Cruz won, not Trump, and Rubio essentially also achieved "the most" votes except for Cruz. So in the context of the totals, Trump achieved nothing special except grab a proportionate slice of the record turnout as did his more viable opponents.
And why was there record turnout? The conventional wisdom prior to Monday held that Trump was so wildly popular that he would be drawing tens of thousands of Iowans off the couch and into the caucuses for the first time. People so angry, so fed up, so ready for "something different" that this would be an election like no other. Quite the opposite could also be said though. That Trump so angered and offended the collective intelligence of the good people of Iowa that they got off that couch, alright, but to ensure that he wouldn't win.
As I've been saying for months, Trump is an embarrassing sideshow. A modern day Morton Downey Jr. A carnival-barking agitator, spewing hate-filled racist rhetoric, not a mainstream politician with substantive policy proposals. And while it's been fun for Iowans and others to pack arenas to experience The Donald Trump Reality Show, as evidenced last night, it's not translating to victory.
So what about New Hampshire? Unless Jeb Bush pulls off a miracle and rises up from the ashes (which I still believe is a strong possibility), the smart money's on Trump fading into oblivion from this point forward, with Rubio taking the Granite State's contest next week. From there, Cruz will win South Carolina, and then it'll be a tough battle between the two "non-establishment" Senators thereafter.
Trump will soon figure out a way to exit the race--based on some typically self-aggrandizing, truth-stretching gibberish--and go back to doing what he does best: borrow the shit out of other people's money to slap his ubiquitous brand on gauche skyscrapers, ugly clothing and anything else he can license. Maybe even file a bankruptcy or two and get divorced again. But no matter the spin, he's still a loser. The thing he hates most. There's nothing more delicious than a Trump concession speech.