One of the more amusing moments I saw on Iowa Caucus Night was after Donald Trump's concession speech was shown, TV analysts commented how surprisingly gracious it was, how chastened Trump seemed, and (most importantly) how it impressively showed how much Donald Trump had matured as a candidate.
I thought to myself, well, yes, it's much more low-key than he'd been, but...how much he'd matured?? From just that? Seriously? One short concession very late at night when he was sort of shell-shocked and said he came in second when, in fact, he came in second? That showed how much he had matured?
And then it was so nice to have one's opinion confirmed when the very next day rolled around.
There was Donald Trump (R-Trump Towers) having another of his ME ME ME Twitter Meltdowns (tm). Sending out a torrent of "mature" tweets (honestly, just the comment of a a "tweet" showing one's level of maturity for a presidential candidate is funny enough) like -- "Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!" And also - "Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified." And...well, you get the point.
Now, to be fair, Ted Cruz (R-TX/Canada) and his campaign did commit several underhanded, perhaps even fraudulent acts, one of which Cruz himself even apologized for. That was when staffers sent tweets and went around suggested caucus-goers that Dr. Ben Carson (R-Mayo Clinic) was about to drop out of the race -- which Dr. Carson is not. Then there was the Cruz official-looking mailer about "VOTING VIOLATIONS" that even got the Iowa Secretary of State to slam it for being unfairly deceptive.
None of that, of course, is the sort of thing that nullifies election results or gets a new election called. And none of that, underhanded as it is, is what the public views as "stealing" an election. It doesn't speak well on Ted Cruz (and little ever does), but lying to the public is not the same as stealing votes, stealing an election.
More to the point are other factors that pointed to Donald Trump not winning, and the poll results being somewhat off. For starters, there's what this chart points out --
Far more than Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, most Trump supporters made up their mind to vote for him a month ago or more. But with Cruz and Rubio (especially the latter), voters made their decisions within days of the election. After the last poll was taken.
And what could have caused that? Well, a few things.
One is a reaction to Donald Trump deciding to drop out of the last Iowa debate. That hasn't impacted his poll numbers in other states, but other states weren't voting just days later and finalizing their choices.
Another is that Donald Trump's "ground game" organization to get out the vote was always seen as significantly weaker than his top opponents.
There are no doubt other factors, but what these two have in common are one thing -- actions that Donald Trump himself took (or more accurately, refused to take). In other words, in many ways, he had no one to blame except himself.
There's another factor, too. Something I've referenced here at length for a long while. There is a huge difference between telling a pollster over the phone who you favor and going into a voting booth and marking down that you are voting for Donald J. Trump for President of the United States. Now, to be clear, Donald Trump can still win the GOP nomination. There's a LOT of time, and a LOT of other primaries. And this isn't the factor. But I continue to contend that's it's "a" factor, and will remain so -- along with all the other factors.
But all that is sort of beside-the-point here. Because more notable is not why Donald Trump finished a close second, which is still very good -- but how he responded to finishing a close second. How petulant, childish, whining and complaining this "much more mature" Donald Trump was.
C'mon, guys, that's Donald Trump. You know that's Donald Trump. He's an ego-maniacal, self-righteous, racist bully who will always act that way when he doesn't get his way. Because it's always how he's acted.
And being underhanded, lying and fraudulent to get whatever he wants is how Ted Cruz will always react, as well. Because it's who he is, too.
And the only reason that Marco Rubio looks "moderate" and "sane" is because of how ego-maniacal, self-righteous, racist, bullying, underhanded, lying and fraudulent the two egregiously far-right opponents are above him.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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