From FOX News‘ Chris Stirewalt:
DES MOINES, IOWA — Donald Trump’s bid for a leveraged buyout of the Republican Party took a serious blow in Iowa as the other shareholders started to get organized. Trump has lots to be unhappy about in Iowa, no doubt. He frittered away an early commanding lead here by both failing to get serious about courting voters soon enough, capping it off by snubbing Iowa’s only Republican presidential debate. He underperformed the average of pre-election polls by more than 5 points, losing despite having led in the final 13 polls……..But the real problem for Trump in Iowa was not that he underperformed – hardly surprising given his status as a celebrity candidate with limited organization – but how the rest of his party behaved. First, what promises to be a sustained anti-Trump effort made its debut in Iowa and obviously did some damage. The Our Principles PAC and other pro-GOP groups will keep the heat on Trump as the race rolls on. It was overdue move for a party on the brink of a crackup.
John Podhoretz in the NY Post:
Monday night, Iowa’s Republicans made it clear they would not be held responsible for placing their party in the hands of an insult-comedian character assassin — choosing instead exactly the kind of combative conservative the state’s GOP almost always prefers……. This is a dynamic that should be closely watched from here on out. The polls showing Trump leading everywhere have been registering the results of his astounding command of the media — but have always been blurred somewhat by his undeniably high negatives. Perhaps, in the Iowa results, we saw the first real effects of Trump’s unpopularity with Republicans — that he may be generating actual negative turnout of the sort pollsters find difficult to measure. People may not have crawled through glass to vote for him. They may have crawled through glass to tell Trump to take a well-deserved hike.
Donald Trump has run his campaign as a jackass. His online supporters have banded together as an online mob attacking everyone angrily. His opponents have been targeted by neo-nazis, white power advocates, and an angry mob willing to sell their souls to an unknown. Iowa decisively rejected the politics of jackassery tonight. Trump, on the force of his personality, could not carry the state. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio both relentlessly covered the state, built ground game operations, and shared positive visions for the future. Trump attacked, attacked, and attacked. He sold no positive vision, just discord and anger. Iowa has rejected that. Now we can hope the rest of the nation will as well.
Trump’s remarkably gracious concession last night surprised many – especially this writer who predicted he’d insult the state on the way out. Maybe he realized his loss to Ted Cruz was on him. The polls which had him five points up were wrong and he can’t just say you’re winning. The crude insults of candidates wasn’t going to make people vote for him. Ducking the debate for petty reasons didn’t show strength.
Maybe there’s more to Trump’s statesman-like appearance. He was relieved that someone else won and he can slide away easily and stop burning his own money on another reality show.