What to watch in Iowa: GOP

Trump

Donald Trump needs to win or finish within 2-3% in a close second. His whole philosophy and appeal is that he is a winner:

“We’re going to win so much — win after win after win — that you’re going to be begging me: ‘Please, Mr. President, let us lose once or twice. We can’t stand it any more.’ And I’m going to say: ‘No way. We’re going to keep winning. We’re never going to lose. We’re never, ever going to lose.”

-Trump, quoted by the Washington Post

If Trump is not one of the winners Monday, well that makes him a loser, and his binary brain will explode.

Ted Cruz has the easiest night. He’ll finish first or second and be a major force with no one on his right flank. He just needs to break 20%. If he fails to do that, the establishment attacks of the past two weeks will have worked to eat away his support, and they will crescendo going into New Hampshire.

Marco Rubio needs to finish third. The third place finisher will likely absorb the “Stop Cruz and Trump” momentum going forward. Everyone knows Marco’s thirsty, but can he win states?

Rand Paul needs a haircut.

Jeb Bush needs his exclamation point more than ever. If he finishes third, he’ll grab the “Big Mo” in the words of his father. At minimum, he needs to look like he tied Rubio.

Is Ben Carson still in the race? Anyone who loses to Dr. Carson in Iowa is, officially or unofficially, finished. I’m looking at you Jeb!

Chris Christie needs to stay alive with >5% so that he can withdraw after New Hampshire and save face.

John Kasich only cares about New Hampshire. He’s played the expectation game well.

Carly Fiorina.

Mike Huckabee will be there.

“Santorum” describes Rich Santorum’s campaign pretty well. It seems like it’s been 60 years since Rick was dueling for the nomination, probably because he still lives in the 1950’s. Zing. Let the fight for Rick Santorum’s supporter begin.