Second-place Iowa caucus finisher and perpetual attention machine Donald Trump is arguing that Ted Cruz "stole" a victory in Monday's caucuses by giving out erroneous information that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race:
Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
During primetime of the Iowa Caucus, Cruz put out a release that @RealBenCarson was quitting the race, and to caucus (or vote) for Cruz.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
What Trump is describing as a "release" was an email that the Cruz campaign sent to Iowa precinct captains mischaracterizing a CNN report that Carson was going home to Florida "for some R&R."
Carson won't go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He'll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.— Chris Moody (@moody) February 2, 2016
(As Gawker points out, it's especially unclear where the "big announcement" part of that seems to have been sourced from.)
Cruz supporter Steve King, an Iowa congressman and big-time right-wing figure, sort of repeated the incorrect information in a tweet:
Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope. https://t.co/lW5Js50EMA— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 2, 2016
Is it possible that Trump is right about the effect of the misinformation? It doesn't seem like it given that Carson actually overperformed his polls in caucus results. The only major candidate who actually underperformed was Trump.
How does Trump, whose tweet-rant also mentioned a shady "voter violation" mailer that the Cruz campaign sent out, suggest we remedy all this? Ah, just to redo the entire caucus:
Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Incidentally, Slate's headline about Trump's concession speech was "Trump Loses Iowa, Weirdly Doesn’t Whine or Shout About It in Concession Speech." We might have to put an update on that one.