Donald Trump gave a brief concession speech after being defeated by Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucus on Monday night, striking a humble tone not often heard from the boisterous billionaire.
"We finished second. And I want to tell you something: I'm honored. I'm really honored. And I want to congratulate Ted. And I want to congratulate all of the incredible candidates," Trump told his supporters
At the end of the night, Cruz gained 28 percent of the vote, winning eight delegates, while Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio received a respective 24 and 23 percent of the vote, earning them seven delegates each.
Gathered below are 10 reasons Iowans deserted Trump in the caucus.
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1. He attacked Carson
— "Trump lost Iowa largely for one reason: he crushed Ben Carson," Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy wrote
in a Tuesday column, noting that the famed neurosurgeon was once favored to win the state. "Trump used his verbal powers and eviscerated Carson. Carson's poll numbers collapsed, his campaign staff quit, and his fundraising machine ground to a halt. But it was a Pyrrhic victory for Trump because the Carson voters didn't back him — they switched to Cruz!"
2. He gaffed while talking about Iowans
— In the week leading up the caucus, Ted Cruz ran an ad that showed Donald Trump struggling to articulate himself, The Washington Post reported
. "How stupid are the people of Iowa?" Trump is seen asking his followers at a rally. In context, Trump was asking the audience if they really believed a story about Ben Carson's troubled youth, but Cruz's TV spot did not provide that context, leaving viewers to wonder why Trump would ask such a question. Salon also noted
that Trump retweeted a follower who asked "Too much Monsanto in the corn creates issues in the brain?" just after Carson eclipsed Trump in the Iowa polls in late October.
3. He once supported abortion
— Keep the Promise, the network of super PACs supporting Sen. Ted Cruz, ran an effective attack ad in the week before the caucus that showed Donald Trump's 1999 interview with the late Tim Russert, The Washington Post reported
. In the clip, Trump says he's "very pro-choice in every respect." He goes on to say he would not ban partial-birth abortion as president. While Trump has declared himself pro-life these days, his past comments likely hurt his campaign.
4. Evangelicals abandoned him
— "Evangelicals made up 64 percent of the 2016 electorate. And that pretty much explains Cruz's victory," wrote The Weekly Standard
. "He won 34 percent of evangelicals, while Trump won 22 percent and Rubio won 21 percent. Among the 36 percent of caucus-goers who aren't evangelicals, Trump took 29 percent, Rubio took 26 percent, and Cruz took 18 percent."
5. He skipped the Fox News debate
— Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer said Monday night that Trump's decision to skip the debate was "kind of a slap in the face" to Iowa voters and "allowed the others to come out and shine," CNN reported
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6. Sarah Palin's endorsement hurt him
— While some said Palin's endorsement of Trump would help him with evangelicals and Tea Partiers, many pundits wondered aloud if her endorsement would actually hurt the Trump campaign in the end. Many pundits still blame her for McCain's loss in 2008, and after Fox News decided not to renew her contract last year, FiveThirtyEight noted
that "her net favorability rating among Republicans has declined more than 55 percentage points [since 2008], from +83 percentage points to +27 points by mid-2013."
7. National Review attacked him
— Just 10 days ahead of the Iowa caucus, the conservative magazine released a special issue
, "Against Trump," in which more than 20 prominent conservatives, including Glenn Beck, William Kristol, and John Podhoretz, argued against nominating Trump.
8. He relied on polling too much
— At campaign rallies, debates, and in the media, Donald Trump often touts a series of national polls, which are often conducted via landline telephones, according to Townhall
. "Ask yourself how many people do you know personally that have given up landlines," the publication wrote.
9. Cruz had a better ground game
— "Trump created a large enough pool of people to win the Iowa caucuses and unfortunately his campaign was unable to convert them to voters," said Roger Stone, a one-time Trump advisor, according to Politico
. The publication noted that Cruz had the superior get-out-the-vote infrastructure set up in Iowa, including a top-notch database to target potential voters with mailings and digital ads.
10. He didn't spend the money he needed to
— Politico reported that "A source said the Trump campaign balked at the price tag associated with Cambridge Analytica’s services," a best-in-class data firm. "Instead, Trump’s data shop is headed by a pair of low-profile former RNC data engineers, Matt Braynard and Witold Chrabaszcz, who are regarded as technically savvy but who do not have previous high-level campaign experience." Cruz's campaign spent at least $3.6 million on his data firm, while it appears Trump spent about $235,000 on his through the end of 2015, according to Politico.
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