The iowa caucuses don't have a very good record when it comes to predicting eventual Republican nominees.
In 2012, Iowa voters chose Rick Santorum, he of the sweater vests, Google-bomb neologism, and belief that voters still care about gay marriage. In 2008, Mike Huckabee left Iowa a winner, followed by Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. (Remember him?) Eventual nominee John McCain came in fourth, leading pundits to proclaim his campaign was doomed before it suddenly wasn't again.
This time around, it's Ted Cruz, a man who cooks bacon using a machine gun, calls himself "a very, very proud wacko bird," and thinks it's a good idea to go to war with Iran, because we don't have enough never-ending wars in the Middle East.
As for Donald Trump, maybe he should be thankful he didn't win Iowa.
It's all in the rearview mirror now anyway. Most candidates left the state minutes after delivering their speeches, and Iowa won't become important again until one month in 2020.
Like a good businessman, Trump should cut his losses and focus on New Hampshire, where polls show he holds a commanding 22-point lead over Cruz and the rest of the Republican pack.
That's not to say there aren't lessons Trump can learn from Iowa. In the first test of whether his poll numbers would translate to actual support, Trump's campaign fell short of expectations. Most agree that's because the real estate mogul didn't run a traditional campaign, with a traditional support infrastructure of volunteers knocking on doors and doing everything they can to drum up support for their candidate.
Instead, Trump made a short run through Iowa, stopping to ad-lib performances that were mostly about how awesome his poll numbers are, and how everything he's going to do as president will be "terrific" and "fantastic" and "unbelievable." Trump needs some new superlatives, and instead of constantly pointing to his own poll numbers, perhaps he should go with the pitch that resonates most with supporters: He wants America to win. He wants victories for the US of A, he believes he's the man who can deliver them, and as a businessman extraordinaire, he wants the opportunity to be "greedy for America."
One thing's for sure: Ted Cruz will not be the Republican nominee. He's too extreme even for the GOP national party's taste. Fearing Republicans might unify behind Cruz as a reaction to the liberalism of President Barack Obama and lack of real choices in the GOP primaries, Republican leaders in Washington have been working behind the scenes to make sure the Texas senator doesn't occupy the Oval Office.
The nomination is Trump's to lose. Now he needs to get his swagger back, and prove he can deliver voters to the polls.