Donald Trump’s Existential Pickle

IF your very candidacy and identity rest on your supposed talent for victory, can you survive a defeat?

.. Neither his image nor his ego leaves any room for a setback, any allowance for second place. And as Iowa draws near and several polls suggest the strong possibility that Ted Cruz will finish ahead of him there, it’s time to talk about what that would mean for a self-enamored emperor who pretty much insists on his own perfection — and who has built his brand on it.

At that point, Trump would no longer be a brilliant exception to the laws of political gravity. He’d be someone whose lax management of his Iowa operation was laid bare, whose basic competence was in dispute

.. Challenged on his policies (which don’t really exist) or his credentials (which are dubiously applicable to the presidency), he whips out his poll numbers as proof of his worthiness. Sometimes he whips them out just for fun. And as he holds them high, he makes the argument that he must have good ideas, good sense and good preparation. After all, he’s winning!