Donald J. Trump doesn’t like to be called what he calls others.
This morning, though, he is.
The real estate mogul/reality TV personality finished second last night to Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa. Cruz the Carpet Bomber knocked Trump down to second place by 3 or so percentage points.
It might be that Trump’s larger embarrassment — if he’s capable of feeling it — is that third-place finisher Marco Rubio damn near caught him.
Two junior U.S. senators — Cruz from Texas and Rubio from Florida — put Trump into a kind of a political fecal sandwich, which ought to have taken some of the swagger out of Trump’s campaign strut.
Ought to, yes?
Well, time will tell us pretty quickly whether it did.
Trump is heading to New Hampshire to carry on his GOP primary campaign, right along with Cruz, who vanquished him in Iowa and Rubio, who almost did.
I still don’t believe Rubio should have sounded so, um, victorious last night as he crowed about his third-place finish. Cruz and Rubio still finished ahead of him.
However, there are ways to spin this in a way that should give Trump plenty of pause as he marches on.
I am not going to speculate on what might have caused Trump’s failure to finish first, which he all but guaranteed. His stiffing of the Fox News debate? His phony pandering to evangelicals? His continuing insults to just about anyone who disagrees with him? The absolute absence of a sophisticated policy — on anything?
It might be one of those things. Or all of them. Or, perhaps, none of them. There might have been just a visceral dislike for a guy whose glitzy New York style just doesn’t play well with the corn-fed Middle Americans who comprise Iowa’s voting population.
The next chapter in in this saga is about to unfold.
On to New Hampshire!