Donald Trump is yelling "fraud" in a crowded political theater, claiming that Ted Cruz stole the caucus election in Iowa. He is demanding either a revote or that Ted Cruz's victory be voided.
It's certainly true that some Cruz supporter spread unsubstantiated rumors that rival Ben Carson was pulling out of the race in an effort to poach those voters. But the final results closely mirrored Carson's showing in the late polls so it appears to have had little effect.
Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation election analyst and former election official in both Virginia and Georgia, says "I know how to spot actual voter fraud, and what Trump is describing it isn't anywhere close to that.
But polls do point to a proximate cause for Trump's sudden fall in polls late in the race — from a 29 percent average to his actual 24 percent result.
Last Thursday, Donald Trump boycotted the Fox News debate out of pique at moderator Megyn Kelly. I thought that was a clear mistake. I know enough Iowans to understand how “special” they view their caucus process, and you diss them by ignoring the only GOP debate held in their state at your peril.
As it turned out, two-thirds of likely GOP caucus goers told pollsters they saw some or all of the Trump-less debate. They were able to see the other candidates in a format where they weren’t judged by who they interacted with The Donald.
The Emerson College poll, which unlike the last Des Moines Register poll was taken completely after the debate, found that Trump’s absence made 39 percent of voters less likely to go for him, and only 14 percent more likely.
Then there were the late deciders who picked a candidate after debate (about a third of voters).
The entrance poll suggests those late deciders went to Cruz and Marco Rubio. Rubio won 30 percent of these voters, and Cruz captured another quarter. Just 14 percent of those who decided in the final days backed Trump.
Combine all that with the Potemkin Village-like nature of the Trump ground game in Iowa, and a stumble was in the cards. Journalist Joan Walsh reported from Trump’s Caucus Day rally in Waterloo (how appropriate) that: “I was struck by the fact that there was nobody even trying to direct voters to caucuses at his caucus day event. Having been to so many other candidates’ events, it suddenly felt like a fake campaign.”
In fact, Trump’s brio and personality did a great job of motivating first-time voters to the caucuses even with a poor ground game. but other campaigns did at least as well and some voters showed up for the first time just to “stop Trump.”
But the real trouble all began when Trump turned on the voters of Iowa and rejected that Fox debate.
John Fund is an expert on American politics where politics and economics and legal issues meet. He previously served as a columnist and editorial board member for The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including "Who's Counting: Bow Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk." He worked as a research analyst for the California Legislature in Sacramento before beginning his journalism career as a reporter for the syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak. Fund also is a Newsmax TV contributor — More Info Here. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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