Iowans didn’t just vote for Cruz, they denied Donald Trump

The record vote turnout in Iowa — 180,000 strong — completely disproved the conventional wisdom that a newer and larger electorate would favor Trump. If anything, the evidence suggests that voters were inspired to turn out for Cruz and for the surprisingly strong third-place finisher, Marco Rubio (who beat the poll averages by nearly seven points) not only to cast a positive vote for the candidate they preferred but specifically to deny Trump a win.

This is a dynamic that should be closely watched from here on out. The polls showing Trump leading everywhere have been registering the results of his astounding command of the media — but have always been blurred somewhat by his undeniably high negatives.

Perhaps, in the Iowa results, we saw the first real effects of Trump’s unpopularity with Republicans — that he may be generating actual negative turnout of the sort pollsters find difficult to measure. People may not have crawled through glass to vote for him. They may have crawled through glass to tell Trump to take a well-deserved hike.

Oh, and one last thing. In Iowa, among an all-white Republican electorate, 60 percent of the vote last night was cast for two Cubans and an African-American.