His closest competition had a bad night: The man who's his closest competition in Iowa, Ted Cruz, had maybe his worst debate performance of the cycle. And a lot of it was due to the fact that he -- not Trump -- was the candidate with the target on his back. Marco Rubio went after Cruz, hard. So did Rand Paul. But it was Cruz who also did himself no favors by trying to win an interruption contest with co-moderator Chris Wallace (and lost) and who attacked the moderators' questions like he did at the CNBC debate (but was booed in the process). Cruz got his taste of being the frontrunner, and he struggled. The Des Moines Register's front page sums it up: "Rough Night for Cruz."
He got to skip Fox's brutal video montage: Trump also won by not showing up because he avoided getting the same kind of brutal video montage that Fox News showed first on Rubio (with his past statements vowing to fight amnesty and an earned path to legalization -- before backing the Gang of Eight immigration bill), and then on Cruz (on supporting immigration reform and a path to legal status). It was evidence to Iowa conservatives that NO ONE is going to get to Trump's right on the issue of immigration.