Back in the halcyon days before the New Hampshire primary, pundits of all stripes were eager for a theory that could explain how Donald Trump would lose in the Republican race even though he had been leading in the polls for months. One was that Iowa would be the Trump killer. Because of the state’s caucus system, Trump’s lack of a ground game would hurt him there. And if he lost in Iowa, then his luster would fade and he’d quickly diminish.
A leading advocate of this hypothesis was Bill Kristol, who predicted in late December that when “Trump loses Iowa, the mystique disappears, [and] he’s just another candidate.” Writing in National Review, John Fund made a similar prophesy, arguing that, “Losing Iowa Could Be Trump’s Kryptonite.” Variations of this theme could also be found in Vox and elsewhere.
Well, the theory has been put to the test and found wanting. Iowa was not Trump’s kryptonite, and establishment Republicans will have to find another way to defeat the Xenophobe of Steel.