Personally, I feel Donald Trump has handled his Iowa Row pretty well.
Second place, in the Iowa Caucus, given that event’s predictive history, is nothing to snort at. For once, Donald is not playing the part of crybaby whiner. He’s actually being a good sport about this debacle.
Perhaps this a rehearsed “stumble.” In fact, the word I used was “bump” back on January 26 when I appraised his self-imposed recusal from the Republican Presidential debate. I believed it was a faulty strategy/blunder then, and still do. It was uncharacteristic of the familiar Trump fiend who had come this far in the campaign. this “strategy” deviated from his normal slippery style. He pitched his anchor in too deeply, too early. He leaped forward much too enthusiastically and devotedly in his refusal to take part in the last debate before the Iowa Caucus (a very bad move).
On January 26, I wrote, “…this whole “boycott the Fox News/Megyn Kelly debate” detour is going to stain him. I don’t think it’s a lethal blow, but it’s a bump in the road. He’s shown too much of his deck and he actually looks, for once, quite vulnerable.”
The “bump” in this case was his second-place finish in yesterday’s Iowa caucus.
Had he taken part in the debate, would the results have turned out the same?
I believe not.
Donald Trump knows better than anyone that the home stretch of any voting event is about face time, voice time, persona time.
You don’t go dark in the days leading up to a caucus. Holding your own satellite quasi-campaign event while the “big boy’s organized and pre-formulated” event is going on elsewhere doesn’t cut it, even if you’re Donald Trump. There is a unique psychological immediacy to taking part in the debate that is expected, presumed, on the part of the electorate. Breaking from that routine places you at great odds with them. I think Donald painted himself into a corner and decided better to be a man of his word rather than a political opportunist. He lost touch with the common man. He persisted in holding his “charity” rally and hoped for the best.
His Hail Mary.
It went OK, but not fantastic. In fact, it cost him Iowa. Borderline voters decided that since they were forced to inconvenience themselves for the sake of this damned caucus during the work week, there was no reason a billionaire should escape the obligatory nag of taking part in a dead-end debate. That was the insinuation. Donald read that poorly.
To his credit, he now owns up to it.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that skipping the last debate may have hurt him in the Iowa caucuses, but he is looking forward to next Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire.
“We’re just going to do what I have to do. And if it works out, Tom, that’s great. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too,” Trump said in a press conference responding to a question from ABC’s Tom Llamas ahead of an appearance at a rally in Milton, NH.
Trump said maybe him skipping the debate hurt him — but he said he doesn’t regret fundraising for vets during the forum. Trump skipped the debate amid a feud with hosts Fox News and the moderator of the first debate, Megyn Kelly.
Let the spin begin! Don’t want to let the vets down. I think it’s a good strategy. Trump needs to hammer that home and quit playing the part of “feral outsider” as I called it in my post. For once, he’ll need to play the game, against his baser nature.
Trump’s hope is not lost. On January 26, I also wrote, “Luckily for Donald, he has built up oodles of momentum constructed of such a formidable popularity lead, that he has space with which to make some bad moves. The public is very forgiving, and his devout supporters, even more so.”
New Hampshire is not Iowa. I predict Donald will reclaim his force and resume his predominance. Ted Cruz’s foray into Iowan victory will be short-lived and parochial. He lacks the encompassing Trumpian appeal it takes to win in high-population density areas.
Where “New York values” reign.