From the beginning of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, I have consistently said that I do not expect him to win the nomination, or, if he does capture it, to win the election. My reasoning has had nothing to do with whether Trump actually believes in the positions he has adopted for his campaign, or his rocky relationship with the Republican Party, or the strength or lack thereof of his campaign machinery. It has had everything to do with Trump himself, and whether he will be able to sustain his own interest in the presidency long enough to restrain himself from making some major gaffe.
And so, as I write this on the morning after the Iowa Caucuses, I must be feeling vindicated, right? After all, pundits are blaming Trump’s second-place showing on his decision to forgo the final debate before the caucuses.
Not so fast. I am now beginning to rethink my assessment of Trump’s chances, precisely because of the results in Iowa and Trump’s decision to snub FOX News.
To the extent that the pundits are right, Trump’s action seems foolhardy. The safe call would have been to take part in the debate, and Trump knew that. He gambled, and he lost Iowa.
But it was a calculated risk, and the gamble may actually pay off in the future. Trump could afford to lose Iowa, especially to Ted Cruz; he can’t...