Trump last night: In retrospect, we could have done much better with our ground game in Iowa

posted at 1:51 pm on February 3, 2016 by Allahpundit

As I said in the last post, what makes this morning’s “fraud!” screeching especially bizarre is that Trump had been sober about why he really lost in the aftermath of Monday night’s upset. At his presser yesterday in New Hampshire, he conceded that skipping the debate might have backfired, a claim for which there’s some evidence in the most accurate pre-caucus poll of Iowa. Then he went on Fox News, where he was asked if his GOTV operation was as good as it needed to be to counter Cruz’s famously sophisticated data-analytics team. Nope, Trump admitted.

“We didn’t have much of a ground game because I didn’t think I was going to be winning,” Trump said on Fox News Tuesday. “That’s why I’m so honored to have come in second. Most people said I wouldn’t be in the top 10 originally when I started in Iowa.”

“And yeah, in retrospect, we could have done much better with the ground game, yes,” he added.

How much better could they have done? Your must-read of the day comes from Politico:

Trump’s staff “got outclassed and outmaneuvered ― the Iowa team simply didn’t have the tools they needed, which is why they overpromised and underperformed,” said a source close to the Trump campaign. “The Iowa team did an amazing job with the tools that they had, but that’s like saying that Al Qaeda did an amazing job in a battle with the U.S. Army because some Al Qaeda fighters didn’t get killed.”…

The campaign didn’t start seriously building a data operation to target voters until mid-October, sources said, and even then it did not act with urgency. It waited until November to begin paying a data vendor, the nonpartisan firm L2, and until late November or early December to sign an agreement allowing it to use the RNC’s massive voter file. The RNC had initially offered the arrangement back in June, and it’s unclear what caused the delay in executing the agreement, but most other GOP campaigns signed similar agreements months before Trump.

At one point early in the campaign, Trump representatives talked to Cambridge Analytica ― the firm now being credited with engineering Cruz’s cutting-edge targeting operation ― about retaining the company’s services, but they decided it was too expensive. And, in early October, Trump’s Virginia state director, Mike Rubino, reached out to the nonpartisan voter data firm rVotes, writing in an email “We want to utilize this ASAP.” Steve Adler, rVotes’ owner, said the Trump campaign never followed up…

The campaign’s lackadaisical data effort is seen in some quarters as coming down to Trump’s lack of willingness to use his own cash on something that’s seen as essential in modern-day presidential politics.

Here’s a line from David Brooks’s column on Trump that brought me up short: “Bernie Sanders is a good enough executive that he was able to lead a campaign that brought outsiders to the polls. Trump is not as effective a leader as Sanders.” Before Tuesday, people would have giggled at the idea that a socialist grandpa who’s spent decades as a backbencher could build a more effective organization than a billionaire businessman, but the results are what they are. More amazing is the fact that Trump implicitly validated that critique yesterday by admitting that his organization could have been “much better.” This morning on MSNBC, he conceded that he “went through the motions a little bit” in Iowa because he never thought he had a chance there, which sounds suspiciously … low-energy. Now here’s Politico claiming that the key factor in Trump’s GOTV failure was stinginess, something you’d never, ever expect from a guy whose celebrity is built on flaunting his fabulous wealth and power. The more you think about Trump’s ground-game failure, the more damage it does to his core message, that he’s such a managerial force of nature that all of Washington will roll over once he comes to town. In the end, he got “outclassed and outmaneuvered” — two things a Trump operation should never be — by a freshman senator who’s a first-time executive himself. And, just to round off the list of Trump flaws, he let it happen because he preferred an unproven, unpredictable higher-risk strategy of total media saturation to a lower-risk data-driven one favored by the professionals around him. The inference is inescapable: If candidate Trump can get out-hustled by Ted Cruz, who famously has failed to advance his own agenda in the Senate, who would President Trump get out-hustled by?

The more I think about it, the more I think this explains why he went full “fraud!” over the Iowa results today. He realized that the perception that he’d been out-organized by Cruz was spreading, thanks in part to his own admissions, and he needed to do something to head it off. It’s too damaging to his brand as America’s CEO. Better to cry foul and take the heat for being paranoid about dirty tricks than let people conclude that he has major flaws as an executive. That would also make some sense of the “Wizard of Oz” theory of Trump’s popularity that I dismissed yesterday, in which, supposedly, millions of Trump fans are now set to abandon him in New Hampshire and beyond because there’s suddenly hard proof that he’s not invincible. There are a million ways for a Trump supporter to explain away Iowa that preserves their faith in Trump — too many evangelicals, Cruz had been campaigning there for two years, the debate boycott was a minor misstep, and so on. Preserving your faith in him while admitting that Cruz is simply a better chess player than Trump is much harder. Enter “fraud!” as a silver-bullet excuse.

Via BuzzFeed, here he is on the radio earlier today speculating that he might sue over “voter fraud” in Iowa, which is one way to keep people talking about something other than him being out-organized, I guess. Exit question: Why didn’t he spend more on a ground game? I can’t understand that at all. He’s got the dough to build a gold-plated turnout operation if he wants to; his reluctance to do so may cost him a legit chance of becoming president of the United States. A source quoted by Politico explains it by noting that Trump is a businessman and businessmen never want to pay more than they have to. That’s super, but Trump will be 70 in June and he has, or had, a shot at becoming the nominee of one of the two major parties. If you believe him, he’s worth $10 billion. What’s he going to do for the remainder of his life with the extra $50 million he saved by not splurging on a GOTV operation that could have made him the most powerful man in the world?


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Comment pages: 1 2

You keep avoiding the issue. Why would a secular New Yorker, supposedly a liberal at that, have any chance in a state like Iowa. Explain that without talking about polls.

HugoDrax on February 3, 2016 at 3:01 PM

Because Trump morphed himself into a tough-talking anti-DC type after spending decades buying the Democrat half of DC.

Steve Eggleston on February 3, 2016 at 3:05 PM

I’m sure Cruz will make up that 24% gap in 5 days.

Oil Can on February 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

I see reading is not your strong suit. Let me reiterate what I said…

He may win NH, but his popularity is now in a serious slide.

And here’s what you said.

I’m sure Cruz will make up that 24% gap in 5 days.

Oil Can on February 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

And here it is again, just to show again that you’re too dumb to understand what it is people say.

I’m sure Cruz will make up that 24% gap in 5 days.

Oil Can on February 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Think before you type, or you’ll end up looking like an ignoramus.

Nethicus on February 3, 2016 at 3:06 PM

MEGYN GOES ‘FANGIRL’ ON MARCO: ‘YOU ARE VERY SMOOTH,’ IOWA SPEECH ‘AMAZING’

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 2:44 PM

“Hello, Mr. Roth, going….down?”

Bishop on February 3, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Because Trump morphed himself into a tough-talking anti-DC type after spending decades buying the Democrat half of DC.

Steve Eggleston on February 3, 2016 at 3:05 PM

How does that answer my question? I asked why Trump would win Iowa against Cruz. Isn’t Cruz also an outsider against DC? And evangelical? So why would anyone expect Trump to win in that state? Yet he got within 3 or 4% of Cruz. How does that bode ill for Trump?

HugoDrax on February 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

“Hello, Mr. Roth, going….down?”

Bishop on February 3, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Nope, ‘Hot For Teacher’.

I can only imagine what goes on at the Fox Office parties. You go Brit Hume!

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Did Hume really get busy with Kelly? If so when was that?

Bishop on February 3, 2016 at 3:10 PM

“Hello, Mr. Roth, going….down?”

Bishop on February 3, 2016 at 3:07 PM

While Roth probably thought about those lyrics, Steven Tyler beat him to the punch.

Steve Eggleston on February 3, 2016 at 3:11 PM

How does that answer my question? I asked why Trump would win Iowa against Cruz. Isn’t Cruz also an outsider against DC? And evangelical? So why would anyone expect Trump to win in that state? Yet he got within 3 or 4% of Cruz. How does that bode ill for Trump?

HugoDrax on February 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

You’re blind. I’m done with you.

Steve Eggleston on February 3, 2016 at 3:11 PM

How does that answer my question? I asked why Trump would win Iowa against Cruz. Isn’t Cruz also an outsider against DC? And evangelical? So why would anyone expect Trump to win in that state? Yet he got within 3 or 4% of Cruz. How does that bode ill for Trump?

HugoDrax on February 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Because the 10 polls prior all showed Trump as an easy winner…and he was a loser.

And then admits he didn’t put enough effort…isn’t this for the most powerful influential job in the world…and he says he didn’t put enough effort?

100%, 100% of the time…this is not a manager of a golf course job…

He sounds foolish with his excuses.

right2bright on February 3, 2016 at 3:13 PM

Trumpertantrum!!!

LOL, FTW!

John the Libertarian on February 3, 2016 at 3:13 PM

You’re blind. I’m done with you.

Steve Eggleston on February 3, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Welcome to the Wall that Trump is building, my friend. :D

Nethicus on February 3, 2016 at 3:13 PM

He actually had an excellent ground game-he got 46000 votes.

Cruz was better

gerrym51 on February 3, 2016 at 3:14 PM

How does that bode ill for Trump?

HugoDrax on February 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

It depends on what the post-mortem of Iowa reveals about Trump’s operation there.

The big WINNER wasn’t really out to win.

The CEO refused to resource the plan his fantastic people came to him with.

These kinds of things, if they stick, can corrode the image Trump has been building with every speech and interview about himself.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:14 PM

You go Brit Hume!

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 3:09 PM

No doubt, the man is a player.

Redstone on February 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

Did Hume really get busy with Kelly? If so when was that?

Bishop on February 3, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Well, this wasn’t the only place where it was reported. There was quite a bit of smoke elsewhere, and when there’s smoke there is fire (Literally)

Megyn Kelly Affair, Fox News’s “Research Division” and The Loving The Party Problem

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

He actually had an excellent ground game-he got 46000 votes.

Cruz was better

gerrym51 on February 3, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Well not really if you believe what Trump himself said.

“Excellent” doesn’t fit as an adjective, given what I’ve read today.

“Inadequate” might be more on the mark.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:16 PM

The GOPe and their rented media have only six days to bring Trump down.

So fire away, Hot Air.

Ed and AllahP, have you reached your daily quota of “Bash Trump” articles? And how many Trump supporters do you hope to swing from Trump to Rubio?

You better work harder.

Post-Iowa Poll: Trump +24 in NH…

TheRightMan on February 3, 2016 at 3:19 PM

yep, he needed a “ground” game like this…

“Carson is out”

dirty tricks VOTING VIOLATION letters

F grade, shame on you, voter

yep, a clean ground game like the Sen from Calgary

Senator Philip Bluster on February 3, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Which, of course, explains why 40 of the last 59 polls, including the last 14, had Trump winning Iowa.

I guess I have to repeat myself, knowing you won’t listen.

Steve Eggleston on February 3, 2016 at 2:58 PM

I was one of the few who predicted Cruz will be victorious in Iowa in AP’s guessing thread. Polls never did a good job of predicting Iowa caucus vote, and religious candidates (Huck, Sant) won there against both anti-establishment guys like Newt and establishment types like Romney. However, that didn’t translate well to further successes even in the Bible Belt.

Cruz can still be competitive in the South if Trump flames out and fades out, but in any other scenario it will be a Trump-Rubio deathmatch, with Cruz acting like a stalking horse for Rubio.

Masih ad-Dajjal on February 3, 2016 at 3:25 PM

yep, he needed a “ground” game like this…

“Carson is out”

dirty tricks VOTING VIOLATION letters

F grade, shame on you, voter

yep, a clean ground game like the Sen from Calgary

Senator Philip Bluster on February 3, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Bare knuckle politics.

Can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

That’s what WINNERS do. :)

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Also, Cruz has no chances in winning the North. There he won’t be able to cling to even the stalking horse tier.

Can you describe a Cruz nomination scenario? I sure can’t.

Masih ad-Dajjal on February 3, 2016 at 3:28 PM

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:26 PM

then we can be assured that you will not say a word about any Trump tactics from here on, right?

Senator Philip Bluster on February 3, 2016 at 3:29 PM

then we can be assured that you will not say a word about any Trump tactics from here on, right?

Senator Philip Bluster on February 3, 2016 at 3:29 PM

You can be assured I will say whatever I like about anything I like from here on out.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:32 PM

Megyn Kelly Affair, Fox News’s “Research Division” and The Loving The Party Problem

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

.
Nope… he yanked it. Error 408 on access

ExpressoBold on February 3, 2016 at 3:34 PM

You can be assured I will say whatever I like about anything I like from here on out.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:32 PM

iow, hippo-crit

Senator Philip Bluster on February 3, 2016 at 3:36 PM

With this country at a crossroads, facing social degeneration at home and dire threats from abroad, the last thing we need is an uninformed bluffer with a runaway ego in charge of our fate.
— Thomas Sowell

ReaganCajun on February 3, 2016 at 3:40 PM

iow, hippo-crit

Senator Philip Bluster on February 3, 2016 at 3:36 PM

No more than anyone else is.

Especially that nice guy and fair fighter Trump, right?

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 3:40 PM

David Brooks’s column on Trump that brought me up short: “Bernie Sanders is a good enough executive that he was able to lead a campaign that brought outsiders to the polls. Trump is not as effective a leader as Sanders.”

AP…Good God! Seriously…David Brooks!

You know Obama said conservatives suck…and he should know because he has creased pants perfection. That David Brooks!

I know you hate Trump, but you need to use the sources that will help your cause the most. David Brooks is not one of them…even if he find Jesus alive on Manhattan Island in a Starbucks…with his pants creased better than Obama.

David Brooks!

:)

William Eaton on February 3, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Day starts: Ha ha, Trump is a whiner

Day ends: uh oh, Cruz is a cheater

mjbrooks3 on February 3, 2016 at 3:56 PM

Megyn Kelly Affair, Fox News’s “Research Division” and The Loving The Party Problem

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

Gossip…

right2bright on February 3, 2016 at 3:56 PM

After Trump’s IA meltdown and non-stop tirade against Ted, Cruz elegantly responds with one simple tweet: “Yet Another Trumper Tantrum.” Ha ha ha.

Dan333 on February 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Nothing was handed to that guy, he’s had to scratch and claw for everything.

Redstone on February 3, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Similar to Trump in that way.

DarkCurrent on February 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Where’s the story about Rand Paul dropping out?

Paperclips on February 3, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Megyn Kelly Affair, Fox News’s “Research Division” and The Loving The Party Problem

TheMadHessian on February 3, 2016 at 3:15 PM

.
Nope… he yanked it. Error 408 on access

ExpressoBold on February 3, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Here it is.

Jose K on February 3, 2016 at 4:02 PM

After Trump’s IA meltdown and non-stop tirade against Ted, Cruz elegantly responds with one simple tweet: “Yet Another Trumper Tantrum.” Ha ha ha.

Dan333 on February 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

I suppose this applies to Carson as well? Carson is set to hold a press conference today to address the blatant fraud in IA. Good luck lying your way out of this one, Ted.

Paperclips on February 3, 2016 at 4:04 PM

After Trump’s IA meltdown and non-stop tirade against Ted, Cruz elegantly responds with one simple tweet: “Yet Another Trumper Tantrum.” Ha ha ha.

Dan333 on February 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

His next tweet claimed Carson and Trump had a love child together, unconfirmed of course but voters should probably be aware.

Bishop on February 3, 2016 at 4:04 PM

Also, Cruz has no chances in winning the North. There he won’t be able to cling to even the stalking horse tier.

Can you describe a Cruz nomination scenario? I sure can’t.

Masih ad-Dajjal on February 3, 2016 at 3:28 PM

None of his supporters can. I’ve asked repeatedly. I really think the sum total of strategic thinking is:

“Rubio and Hillary are irrelevant and easily beaten, so Cruz would easily get the nomination and presidency if Trump would get out of the way! Who cares about unimportant stuff like winning states, the blue and purple states should all be kicked out of the union anyway.”

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:09 PM

After Trump’s IA meltdown and non-stop tirade against Ted, Cruz elegantly responds with one simple tweet: “Yet Another Trumper Tantrum.” Ha ha ha.

Dan666 on February 3, 2016 at 3:59 PM

So Ted’s decided to imitate a dim-bulb anti-Trumper now. That’ll help. I’ll bet you laugh at your own comments, too.

Jose K on February 3, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Trumper Tantrum

Heh

cmsinaz on February 3, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Reading the Politico snippet, it sounds like trump ran his ground game like he runs his companies.

voiceofreason on February 3, 2016 at 4:13 PM

This morning on MSNBC, he conceded that he “went through the motions a little bit” in Iowa because he never thought he had a chance there, which sounds suspiciously … low-energy.

Ow. Sick burn. ;)

Prufrock on February 3, 2016 at 4:15 PM

CNN reporting Cruz dirty tricks in Iowa…

Trump drives narratives like a 12 ton pile driver…

mjbrooks3 on February 3, 2016 at 4:15 PM

CNN reporting Cruz dirty tricks in Iowa…

Trump drives narratives like a 12 ton pile driver…

mjbrooks3 on February 3, 2016 at 4:15 PM

I think he’s returning to his old tactic of sucking up all the media in the room by feuding with somebody; Cruz is pretty irrelevant in a state like NH so there isn’t really a need for attacks on him.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:17 PM

I think he’s returning to his old tactic of sucking up all the media in the room by feuding with somebody; Cruz is pretty irrelevant in a state like NH so there isn’t really a need for attacks on him.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:17 PM

I think both Trump and Carson are looking ahead to SC, softening Cruz up.

Jose K on February 3, 2016 at 4:21 PM

uh, oh…

two-for…

Rubio campaign involved with anti-Carson dirty tricks…

-Conservative Review / Judicial Watch

mjbrooks3 on February 3, 2016 at 4:21 PM

I think he’s returning to his old tactic of sucking up all the media in the room by feuding with somebody; Cruz is pretty irrelevant in a state like NH so there isn’t really a need for attacks on him.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:17 PM

I think Donald has taken some of this personally, and has reacted at times a bit irrationally.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 4:23 PM

I think both Trump and Carson are looking ahead to SC, softening Cruz up.

Jose K on February 3, 2016 at 4:21 PM

That could be the case too. A Trump win in SC would make him very difficult to stop. Carson might decide to side with Trump, which could make life very difficult for Cruz and Rubio.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:24 PM

Ben Shapiro [email protected] · 1h1 hour ago
Carson: Cruz’s tactics weren’t Christian!
Trump: Cruz cheated! I won!
Cruz: Sorry, Ben; Trump might nuke Denmark.
*Rubio slowly backs away*

Okay that is too funny.

petunia on February 3, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Seriously how can folks except Trumps behavior

You really want this for 4 years????

cmsinaz on February 3, 2016 at 4:27 PM

I think Donald has taken some of this personally, and has reacted at times a bit irrationally.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 4:23 PM

I think he’s more calculating that. I don’t think the “real” Donald Trump has shown up very much on stage; we’re seeing the blustery, loud character he played on the Apprentice.

I really think the “real” Trump is the one we saw on stage immediately after Iowa.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:28 PM

mjbrooks3 on February 3, 2016 at 4:21 PM

No, it was a Rubio fan… not the campaign and it didn’t make it into the caucus… it was a tweet picking up on the rumor, saying it was from Rubio campaign by mistake. It had nothing to do with the campaign, it’s Cruz again trying to smear others with his sins.

petunia on February 3, 2016 at 4:29 PM

The problem with this post is that it assumes everything Trump does is some brilliant Machiavellian political calculation.

The guy is a narcissistic celebrity buffoon — don’t be surprised when he acts like it.

redandexpert on February 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

Doomberg

Sigh

SMH

cmsinaz on February 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM

He was gracious all of 3 minutes

That was not the real trump

cmsinaz on February 3, 2016 at 4:32 PM

I think he’s more calculating that. I don’t think the “real” Donald Trump has shown up very much on stage; we’re seeing the blustery, loud character he played on the Apprentice.

I really think the “real” Trump is the one we saw on stage immediately after Iowa.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:28 PM

I think it’s all the “real Trump”, top to bottom.

Brian1972 on February 3, 2016 at 4:39 PM

I really think the “real” Trump is the one we saw on stage immediately after Iowa.

Doomberg on February 3, 2016 at 4:28 PM

Seriously man do you really believe that? This flock mentality has gone beyond just passion and enthusiasm for a candidate. It’s cultist and frankly you guys are just creeping me out at this point.
What kind of Vulcan mind meld has he conducted on you chumps?

Buttercup on February 3, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Worst thing for a candidate like Trump? He’s becoming the butt of the joke.

Tater Salad on February 3, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Also, Cruz has no chances in winning the North. There he won’t be able to cling to even the stalking horse tier.

Can you describe a Cruz nomination scenario? I sure can’t.

Masih ad-Dajjal on February 3, 2016 at 3:28 PM

There isn’t. Cruz’s campaign is a big unicorn hunt. His plan is to go after some huge group of white evangelicals who apparently were not sufficiently motivated to vote against Obama. In the meantime, he will alienate not only mainstream GOPers, but also the general pubic as well. He has no crossover appeal at all.

I think Trump’s campaign is the Greatest Snowjob on Earth, but if he could get a grip on himself, I think he would do much better in the general.

Lou Budvis on February 3, 2016 at 6:04 PM

Lou Budvis on February 3, 2016 at 6:04 PM

The evangelical hunt will be left behind since it is not required in other states other than Iowa.

Cindy Munford on February 3, 2016 at 7:57 PM

I wish he had figured this out before he gave Megan Kelly the satisfaction of thinking that it was missing her hard hitting questions from the debate.

Cindy Munford on February 3, 2016 at 8:05 PM

Don’t worry Trump, you are still in very good position to win, better than anyone else.

Dollayo on February 4, 2016 at 1:25 AM

Come on Donny…if you won’t even stand up to Cruz’s campaign staff how are you going to “Build a Wall” and “Make America Great Again”?

trs on February 4, 2016 at 7:07 AM

Ding-ding is a friend of mine!

DarkCurrent on February 3, 2016 at 2:29 PM

Very cool video! I visited the Long Hua Temple last August.

Garwalf on February 4, 2016 at 2:20 PM

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