It’s only one in a long list of primaries yet to come, but Donald Trump’s collapse in last night’s Iowa Caucuses is perhaps a sign the real estate mogul doesn’t have what it takes to win the nomination. A couple of things to consider: Along with a number of others, I was skeptical that high voter turnout correlates to a Trump win, and I was right. Lots of people showed up to vote last night, but they didn’t vote the way a lot of the pollsters thought they would. I think this is due largely to a phenomenon we could see in New Hampshire and in many other primary states in the coming weeks: People may like Trump and even support him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will vote for him.
Voters have made it clear to many that they don’t want “establishment” candidates, but the more they heard from Sens. Cruz and Rubio, the more obvious it became how outside of the “establishment” these two candidates are on nearly every issue. Although many conservatives would immediately point to Rubio’s “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill as proof of his “establishment” status, highly reputable conservatives, such as the good people over at Conservative Review (now led by Mark Levin and Michelle Malkin), list Rubio as one of the nation’s most conservative politicians.
Cruz’ anti-establishment voice has also been a vital part of his tenure in the U.S. Senate since first arriving, and it never made much sense to me why so many people would rather vote for Trump. Now, I think we see that they wouldn’t.
The biggest story from last night’s primary is not that Cruz won and Trump lost. It’s also not that Rubio did much better than expected. The biggest story from last night’s primary is just how much larger the combined support for Cruz and Rubio was compared to Trump. If Cruz and Rubio together control more than 50 percent of the vote, Trump will never be the Republican nominee, because as Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and others leave the race, those voters are not likely to go to Trump. The only hope Trump had of winning was to grab the momentum early in the race and win voters who otherwise may choose Cruz. He failed in that endeavor last night, and if he fails again in New Hampshire, Trump’s campaign will essentially be dead.
Yes, Trump will always have his 25 percent of the GOP to support him, but you can’t win the primary season with one-quarter of the vote.
Photo: Ted Cruz speaking at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party in Des Moines, IA. Photo by Gage Skidmore.