Thoughts after Iowa

In the wake of the Iowa caucuses, 4 candidates for president have already suspended their campaigns (namely Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and Martin O’Malley). This has only been the beginning of what will be a long and arduous presidential campaign, but this year’s Iowa caucus in particular has surprised many. Journalist Greg Giroux made the interesting observation that since 1972,  no candidate who has finished worse than fourth place in Iowa has won the Democratic or Republican nomination.

If we assume that this pattern continues through to 2016, we would be left with the following candidates:

  • Ted Cruz
  • Donald Trump
  • Marco Rubio
  • Ben Carson
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Bernie Sanders

While I am certain that one of these 6 people will be in White House next year, this caucus has made me less confident that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, leaders of their respective parties when it comes to the polls (more about the polls later) will actually be the ones contesting the election ten months now. Below are my thoughts in the wake of these caucuses.

Marco Rubio now has a serious chance of getting the Republican nomination. Polls (which really haven’t been that accurate thus far) predicted he would lag far behind Cruz and Trump yet he finished a very impressive 3ʳᵈ, only 1% behind Trump and 4% behind Cruz. Once you consider that Iowa is a state which has a disproportionately higher evangelical base (which Cruz and Trump thrive on) it seems that it can only get better for Rubio. In fact, Rubio is the only candidate who appears to be able to beat Hillary Clinton in a general election. If Republicans consider Rubio’s broad appeal to Hispanics and younger voters, not only could he win the nomination, but the presidency too. I’ve already sung his praises as the Republican Party’s sole hope of beating the Democrats but don’t get me wrong; he still has quite the mountain to climb. After all, the spectre of Donald trump continues to loom over the party.

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I feel that Rubio has the potential to win the nomination, and potentially even the presidency.

Bernie Sanders really can beat Hillary Clinton. Who would have thought 6 months ago that a 74 year old independent from Vermont would come within 0.3% of a former First Lady and Secretary of State? Iowa was meant to be a coronation for Clinton, but it took a coin toss for her to end up with more delegates than a self-described socialist. You really couldn’t make this up. He’s leading in New Hampshire by a margin which only seems to be getting larger and larger. It is perhaps a bit presumptuous on my end, but this mirrors Hillary’s 2008 bid which started strongly but faltered decisively around this time 8 years ago.

Ben Carson will fade away, and I still think Ted Cruz will too. The popularity of these two candidates hinges very heavily on evangelical voters, who, while having a relatively high turnout at elections, are becoming a smaller and smaller voting bloc. Carson’s 4ᵗʰ place cements his steep descent into the second tier of Republican candidates. I can’t say the same for Ted Cruz, who defied all odds and beat Trump to 1ˢᵗ place in Iowa. That being said, he too is starting to see his popularity erode to more moderate candidates such as Rubio and Kasich in New Hampshire and so I feel that in the coming months his candidacy will become less and less significant.

So, what have you taken from the caucuses? Still think it’s too early to decide? Drop a comment below!

 

9 Comments Add yours

  1. davidprosser says:

    I shall watch this with interest. Normally the only interest the UK gives to the US Presidential elections is voting day itself to see who made it. Given that Trump has a high profile he’s excited more interest this year as the feeling is, should there be a third World War, he will have caused it. Also Hilary Clinton is well known from her days as First Lady as well as her solo roles and seems to have garnered a bad press from certain incidents. Can she overcome those to get the vote or maybe she can’t overcome the fact she’s a woman when it comes down to it.
    I look forward to your commentary.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that Hillary has a large structural advantage but that being said, Bernie poses a real threat to her and it could be 2008 all again. Only time can tell though.

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  2. Kate says:

    The best thing about the Iowa caucus (for me) was simply the fact that Trump did not win. I truly fear for our country if he does win. As for Hilary- I’m not that surprised that Bernie Sanders is close behind her. I think the “scandal” that surrounds her weighs more heavily on peoples’ conscious than they realize when it comes down to entrusting their country to her. I don’t find myself to be a political person (I cringe during debates at the barbs and often choose not to vote for a candidate simply because they were cruel in their words and actions to other candidates) but those are my thoughts:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was relieved to see Trump didn’t win. That being said, I’m not too fond of Cruz either. I agree with you about Hillary – I think perhaps people think she is more of the same, and the electorate doesn’t want the ‘same’ anymore.

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  3. lauramaria3 says:

    Might be too early to decide, but I think you’ve got an astute breakdown here. You’re right–it’s incredible that Sanders has done so well, considering. And I think this is a testament to the people desiring the grassroots democracy he represents.
    In any case, I read somewhere recently that this and the NH caucus matter because the media jumps on it, and because we BELIEVE they matter. It becomes a sort of self fulfilling prophecy with incredible predictive power. Haha, almost like Wall Street speculation, which only adds to the irony. Thanks for sharing such a salient post! Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I think that if Sanders wins NH (which is almost bound to happen) who knows what will happen next?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John Smith says:

    Yet another great post! You are covering more and thinking more than many grown ups!

    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/l7uzqg/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-democalypse-2016—bernie-sanders-kicks-off-his-presidential-campaign

    Here is Jon Stewart’s clip from over 10 months ago when Bernie had announced the run. It looks such a great insight in light of all things that have happened.

    For prediction, instead of polls, I look for live betting market. http://www.cnn.com/specials/politics/predict
    Bernie still has uphill battle against Hillary’s SuperPAC money and shameless establishment support!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words! I think Bernie really has a chance now.

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