So Donald Trump lost Iowa tonight. With 28% of the vote as of this writing, it looks like sentient man-boob Ted Cruz will take the victory lap, probably in the campaign RV his embarrassed young daughter is sleeping in the back of. Trump comes in second, but it should be said that according to projections he loses by a full four points, which is quite a bit in the world of the Iowa caucus.
For a normal candidate, a second-place showing in Iowa isn't a death knell. But Trump is different and he always has been. The thing about Trump is that his entire campaign is based on the premise that he's a winner. That's what Trump does: he wins and doesn't lose, ever. It's why he's able to get away with doing things other candidates would get creamed for. In fact, his ability to do anything he wants, no matter how offensive or grotesque, and never pay a price for it is a self-reinforcing part of his mystique. It proves conclusively that he can't be taken down.
But there's a problem with this model, and a couple of others have noticed and commented on it. All it would take to destroy that image in his supporters' minds is for him to lose. Because if he loses, the myth of The Donald is dead in the water. And now he's lost. He got beat by a doughy dipshit nobody likes. It'll be interesting to see how he spins this and how it impacts his campaign, if at all. (He really has been able to shake off most adversity so far.)
Trump is of course notoriously thin-skinned, as most pompous bullies are, so you can expect him to do what he usually does when he feels slighted. He'll probably take to Twitter or maybe grab the nearest microphone and go off on the entire state of Iowa, insulting voters there, calling them dummies, or maybe dismissing their decision tonight as the ravings of people living in a place nobody cares about. "I mean Iowa, who cares about that place?! Have you been there? I mean, it's a dump and the people there are idiots!" If he doesn't do that, you can definitely expect him to express utter bewilderment, as he did when Ben Carson seemed to overtake him in the polls for a hot minute a few months back.
Either way, tonight the Iowa caucus voters finally took the wind out of Trump's sails. The race is far from over, but a lot may have just changed.