by Rod D. Martin
February 2, 2016

Last night Ted Cruz won the largest number of votes ever cast for a candidate in the history of the Iowa caucuses. Moreover, he did it in an eleven-candidate field.

This time a year ago — and six months ago, and three months ago — most of you thought he was a no-hoper.

There are several things that stick out from last night:

1. The most likable candidate won. All the “Cruz isn’t likable” spin is hogwash, as the attached chart demonstrates. They think if they repeat it enough….

Net Favorability Republican Candidates Jan. 28, 2016

2. Ted Cruz is the first Hispanic ever to win the Iowa Caucuses. If he were a Democrat that’s all you’d be hearing right now. He isn’t, so it’s barely been mentioned.

3. Turnout hit 180,000, 50% above the highest recorded. Record turnout was supposed to mean a Trump blowout.

4. Marco Rubio’s “surge” landed him in third place: exactly where he was predicted to end up. Ted Cruz’s surge — way above every pre-caucus poll — moved him from second to first. Yet the pundits and media can’t shut up about the former: Fox News in particular seems as “in the tank” for Rubio as it was four years ago for Romney. This is telling in a number of ways.

5. Oh, and one more. A year ago all we heard was that “Republicans will only vote for a governor.” Last night, all of the governors combined received two fewer points than Ben Carson, who himself managed just 9%.

By the way, the Hillary-Sanders tie tracks well with what I’ve been telling you about Bernie’s surge, and all the more so when you learn that in six locations last night, the winner was chosen by a coin-flip. Defying 1:64 odds, Hillary won all six. Ri-ight.

I expect that, while Ted could win New Hampshire, he probably won’t. Trump is nowhere near out; neither is Rubio. Ted’s next must-win is South Carolina. But last night was a must-win too: a Trump victory would have become a self-fulfilling prophesy no one could have overcome. Ted Cruz pulled it out, convincingly. He is not a man to be trifled with.

All of this defies all the polls and predictions you’ve been hearing all year; and all year, if you’ve wanted to know what was really going on, you’ve needed to read and my Facebook page. Let’s see if that streak continues.