Trump’s Loss to Cruz (And Near-Loss to Rubio) Shows Power of Religious Liberty as Campaign Issue

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The results of the 2016 Iowa Caucus are in, and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won with 28 percent of the vote. Donald Trump finished in a disappointing second place with 24 percent, while Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) surged to a close third place with 23 percent.

Terry Schilling, Executive Director at American Principles Project and contributor to The Pulse 2016, explained tonight’s results:

“Tonight proves one thing — if you won’t prioritize protecting religious liberty, you won’t win,” Schilling said. “Running on social issues is a winning strategy in both the GOP primary and in the general election. Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio prioritized life, marriage, and religious liberty, and Iowa caucus-goers agreed that their values most matched their own. With Rubio outperforming in Iowa and nearly beating Donald Trump, expect him to perform well in New Hampshire next week.”

Maggie Gallagher, Senior Fellow at American Principles Project and another The Pulse 2016 contributor, said that Donald Trump is in trouble:

“Trump’s brand was ‘winning’ and he just lost,” Gallagher said. “He is going to find it increasingly hard to win if he continues to fudge and refuse to provide specifics on many issues, including religious liberty, and especially the First Amendment Defense Act. Religious liberty will be a key issue to liberty voters in New Hampshire as well.”

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for the American Principles Project.