One of the interesting theories floating around the conservative blogosphere is that Donald Trump knows he’s going to lose the Iowa Caucuses. That’s still an untested theory but it’s still interesting. The theory goes something like this: Trump knows that he’s about to lose in Iowa. The traditional option is to just accept defeat and move on. Mr. Trump is anything but traditional, which means this option is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Another option is to call Iowa voters stupid, something he’s done before. That’s a possibility because that strategy isn’t traditional. Still, that isn’t the most likely option if Trump actually loses.
The perfect option for Mr. Trump is to have a manufactured scapegoat to blame his loss on. What could be better in Mr. Trump’s mind than using a loss in Iowa to galvanize his supporters while criticizing Megyn Kelly? It’s perfect because he could continue his tough guy charade while not having to admit that voters simply rejected him because he’s a hardline liberal with a nasty temper.
The truth is that Trump will only have himself to blame if he loses Iowa, which is looking likely. Actually, he’ll have his past statements to blame for losing in Iowa. The Our Principles super PAC has created an ad that opens with the question “How much do we really know about Donald Trump”? That opening will immediately get everyone’s attention. What follows will hold everyone’s attention.
What follows is a series of questions showing Mr. Trump’s liberal positions on hot button issues like partial birth abortion, universal health care, which Trump says would be paid for “by the government”, to praising Hillary Clinton for surrounding herself “with very good people.” The ads are brilliant because they aren’t attack ads. They aren’t attack ads because they’re just using video clips of Trump talking. If he’s saying things that Republicans traditionally reject, then Mr. Trump has no one but himself to blame.
Anyone who’s studied Mr. Trump knows that Mr. Trump is as likely to blame himself for his defeat as it it’s likely for Vladimir Putin to order Russian tanks out of Crimea as a good will gesture. Hitting multiple Powerball jackpots are more likely to happen than Putin returning Crimea to the Ukrainian government.
While Trump is still likely to win the New Hampshire Primary, the likelihood of him winning the first-in-the-South Primary in South Carolina is a much trickier proposition. That’s because it’s a far more conservative state than New Hampshire and it’s filled with evangelical Christians and military vets. In fact, it’s likely that Trump’s hosting a fundraiser for vets is aimed almost exclusively at winning in South Carolina. Thursday night’s fundraiser has almost nothing to do with doing well in Iowa.
Now that the first votes of the presidential primaries are about to get cast, much of the games-playing is dropping to the side. People are finally making up their minds. They’re finally focusing on things like whether the candidate has the proper presidential temperament or whether they can picture the candidate as their next commander-in-chief. In both instances, Trump doesn’t do well when compared with candidates like Sen. Rubio or Sen. Cruz.
That’s the truth of the matter. You just won’t hear it from Mr. Trump.