The last time Donald J. Trump participated in competitive Iowa caucuses, he lost narrowly, accused Senator Ted Cruz of Texas of stealing the contest, claimed fraud, demanded that Iowa Republicans nullify the results, and called for a rerun.
While Iowa has a history of troubles with its caucus results, there’s been no evidence of fraud. The 2016 Republican contest was, in fact, the only one since 2008 that had gone off without a hitch.
And yet if Monday night ends with Mr. Trump underperforming expectations, both his history and his rhetoric during this year’s campaign suggest he won’t hesitate to cry foul and refuse to accept the result.
Mr. Trump has already accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida of “trying to rig” the caucuses. Laura Loomer, a far-right and anti-Muslim activist whom Mr. Trump last year considered hiring for a campaign post, suggested on social media that “the deep state” was engaging in “weather manipulation” to instigate Iowa’s Friday snowstorm and subzero temperatures to depress Trump turnout on Monday. And Donald Trump Jr. suggested in a Telegram video that “we can’t take anything for granted, or assume that everything is going to be on the up and up. We’ve seen this rodeo before.”