Donald Trump doesn’t think Cruz treated him fairly in Iowa, wants a do-over

Donald Trump didn’t take his loss in Iowa well:

Donald Trump, via iprimages / Flickr

Donald Trump, via iprimages / Flickr

Trump went on to cite a few cases of Ted Cruz’s campaign engaging in what Ben Carson would call “dirty tricks.” As Carson’s campaign has alleged, people caucusing for Cruz were claiming that Carson had already dropped out of the race. Carson’s base of support overlaps most closely with Cruz’s, so Cruz would stand to gain the most if Iowans believed that Carson were no longer in the race. Trump went on to complain about Cruz’s shady (but perfectly legal) voter shaming mailer, and he also accused Cruz of lying about his past support for Obamacare and “choice,” by which he probably means abortion rights — rights that Trump was fine with until very recently.

Taken together, the only appropriate thing to do, according to Trump, is to void Monday’s results and start over:

(UPDATE: Asked by the Boston Herald if he would sue over the Iowa results, Trump said “I probably will.”)

Setting aside for the moment that even if Cruz’s campaign did deliberately lie about Carson’s premature exit from the race, there’d be no legal recourse to void Iowa’s results, the more important point here is that there’s no reset button in politics. It isn’t some video game where you can just quit and play again if you’re losing. There are a lot of perfectly legitimate reasons for why Trump lost, starting with the fact that he didn’t invest in any semblance of a ground-level operation to help him translate his strong showing in the polls into actual people caucusing for him. The idea that Cruz’s campaign was able to manipulate thousands of Carson supporters into backing him instead of Trump through nefarious hijinks is laughable. It also doesn’t explain why Marco Rubio over-performed relative to the polls.

But of course, this is a Republican race, which means that when you lose, you don’t just take your ball and go home; you claim the winner cheated.

This has implications beyond Iowa, though. Trump has consistently said that he will not launch a third-party bid for the White House as long as he is “treated fairly.” If he and his supporters are incapable of accepting losses as legitimate — they must be the result of fraud, rather than Trump’s own incompetence or the fact that a lot of people just plain don’t like him — then the moderators at Fox News debates are going to be the least of the RNC’s worries.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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12 Responses to “Donald Trump doesn’t think Cruz treated him fairly in Iowa, wants a do-over”

  1. mark_in_toronto says:

    What a privileged crybaby.
    Cries about tough questions and dirty politics.
    Not exactly presidential material.

  2. FLL says:

    I’m delighted that Trump is giving some added publicity to Ben Carson’s valid claim. Rat-fuckery is indeed the method of operation that Cruz normally uses. The Republican primary campaign is turning into a big mess, but it’s nice that Trump has been clearly diminished by the Iowa caucus. However, never forget the single most important political circumstance, backed up by centuries of American history:

    Fundamentalist Christians, represented by their current champion, Ted Cruz, cannot just be defeated. They have to have a stake driven through their heart.

    Anything that furthers that end—including Trump’s whiny publicity about the clearly documented rat-fuckery that Cruz engages in—is a service to the Republic.

  3. gratuitous says:

    Gee Mr. Trump, as Doyle Lonigan might say, “Not only are you a loser, you’re a sore loser as well.” If you don’t know how this game is played, you might consider withdrawing until you grasp the rules a little better. This isn’t like those artful deals you’re used to cutting where you hold all the power and the hapless party of the second part has to bend to your whims or lose all of their money.

    Grow up, Donnie.

  4. BeccaM says:

    Once more, Trump says he’ll “probably” sue, only he won’t. I really do hope Trumpy is ‘treated unfairly’ enough though for him to decide to launch an independent bid. It’d be the biggest, sloppiest fish-lipped kiss he could possibly give to the Democratic Party in 2016.

    It’d be interesting to see how much Cruz’s shady rat-fucking move helped him, but given Carson actually beat expectations (Quinnipiac = 8; Emerson = 3, actual result = 9%) it looks like it didn’t make that much difference. Cruz, Trump, and Rubio all performed within the expected margin of error. The one who definitely did significantly better than expected was Rubio, for the other two, Cruz and Trump, it was just a couple points better and a couple points worse.

    As you noted Jon, many outlets have reported on the fact Trump has very little ground organization. His campaign is mostly ‘virtual’ in the sense he gets up on a stage, gives a big speech, and depends on the networks to give him millions of dollars in free air-time (which they’ve been doing, obviously in the hope he’ll juice their ratings with yet another outrageously bigoted and/or bullying remark). He has no GOTV effort, no real media strategy other than what I just said, certainly no coherent campaigning strategy, messaging or policy positioning. On top of this, I saw an article yesterday noting how for the last few weeks, donations have been drying up for The Donald. (Despite his claims to the contrary, Trump is NOT investing very much of his own money in this campaign.)

    The next few weeks are going to be…well, interesting, to use that word again.

  5. BeccaM says:

    And then there’s “Rubio: Too busy being a fanatic choir boy”

  6. BeccaM says:

    Wow, you can’t even get your specious accusation right. First of all, Cruz didn’t tweet anything. His campaign sent out that email saying Carson was dropping out, and the one reported tweet was from Rep. Steve King. Secondly, Jon’s article mentions and links directly to the reports of all the rat-fuckery Cruz’s campaign engaged in — and it is indeed a formidable list. It’s a hell of an indictment of the lack of basic decency and ethics of the Cruz campaign.

    Finally, the whole point of the post here is that what Trump is demanding isn’t going to happen and how his demand for a caucus do-over makes Trump look like a petulant child. As usual for him.

    I loved this line in particular in Jon’s post:

    But of course, this is a Republican race, which means that when you lose, you don’t just take your ball and go home; you claim the winner cheated.

    And yet you write your trash comment. You are a true putz.

  7. Jon Green says:

    lol

  8. NumberOne1AZfan says:

    Jon Green – you know that Trump was complaining because Cruz tweeted that Carson was dropping out of the race – which was a total lie, in order to sway voters to Cruz, yet you write this trash article .

    You are a true Democrat.

  9. Don Chandler says:

    One thing is for sure, Trump/Carson/and Cruz are showing us how they would govern: Trump: Through Faux Outrage/Carson: In Absentia/ Cruz: As a Used Car Salesman.

  10. The_Fixer says:

    Oh, this smacks of another stunt to keep himself in the news.

    It’s right from the Trump playbook – sue, or threaten to sue, someone to get his way. Even if he doesn’t win, he keeps his name out there – which is most important when marketing himself.

    What will be very telling is how he adapts in New Hampshire. If he suddenly sprouts a capable ground organization headed by professionals, then he’s at least somewhat serious. If he forgoes that and instead starts suing people, then we can safely assume that he’s not being serious about winning the nomination or the Presidency.

    In any event, I wonder who he’d sue? Maybe he should start with the people who didn’t vote for him. I’m certain that will get them to change their ways!

  11. Quilla says:

    “Hog Chow”

    Bloom County has it covered.

  12. 2karmanot says:

    Loser

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