On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), the most conservative man in the Republican field and the target of attacks from Donald Trump, establishment Republicans, and the media, won a tremendous victory in the Iowa caucus. Literally every poll going into Monday had Trump up, and up significantly – in the RealClearPolitics poll average coming into Monday, Trump led by 4.7 points, clocking in at 28.6 percent; Cruz averaged 23.9 percent; and Marco Rubio averaged 16.9 percent.
As of 7:15 p.m. PT, Cruz had outperformed the polls by about four percent; Rubio had outperformed by over six percent; Trump had underperformed by four percent. The media treated the entire evening as an exercise in Rubio Comeback Narrative™, but the real winner of the evening was obviously Cruz, the man dismissed by pollsters, mocked by the press, dismissed by the establishment elites, slandered by fans of Trump. Cruz smacked down the Donald, whose entire narrative was that he “wins,” by doing the hard, on-the-ground work required to actually achieve victory. And what’s more, he won the Iowa caucuses while fundamentally rejecting the boondoggle crony capitalist policy nearest and dearest to many Iowans: ethanol.
That’s a massive story, no matter how you slice it. And it’s a far bigger story than Rubio’s rise, given the fact that Rubio finished third, took no serious heat from Trump or the media other than one very rough question from Megyn Kelly in the last debate, and now has to compete with a bevy of other establishment-lane favorites in New Hampshire.
So, here’s where we stand: Cruz has shown he can both take a punch and throw one. Rubio has been able to ride media favor to a better-than-expected finish. And Trump is clearly less formidable with voters than with pollsters.
But here’s the big point of the night: Donald Trump can be beaten. In fact, here’s some live footage of the Cruz campaign informing Trump of the results:
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