Thursday, February 04, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: What now?

This coming Tuesday, New Hampshire will host the first Presidential primary in the country. Last Monday, of course, we saw the Iowa caucuses play out, with some interesting results:

-- Ted Cruz won on the Republican side, while Donald J. Trump (when did he add the "J," and isn't that a little too much like Homer Simpson?) came in second. Surprisingly close at 3rd was Marco Rubio.

-- Far behind, with less than 3% of the vote was Jeb Bush. It was estimated that he spent about $2,800 in Iowa for each vote he received. Aren't these Republican big spenders tired of their money going down the drain, with this on top of the Romney loss in 2012?

-- On the Democratic side, it was a virtual tie between Sanders and Clinton (with Clinton ahead by a miniscule 0.3%).  Many people are seeing it as effectively a win for Sanders.

-- Martin O'Malley, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum have now dropped out of the race.

What will happen in New Hampshire? Here are my predictions:

-- Sanders and Trump will win.
-- Rubio will be second.
-- Bush will be far behind, and then drop out.
-- There will be a muddle between Kasich, Christie, and Carson.

What do you think?

[and yes, that is a real Ted Cruz coloring book, available at Barnes and Noble. Also available: The Donald J. Trump Off-Color Coloring book.]

What Happened? How do we know? What does it mean?

Ted Cruz out-thought, out-organized, out-worked, out-disciplined, and out-smarted his competition. As a result he won Iowa. Also, give him a huge amount of credit for holding off the charging bull: Donald J. Trump.

Donald J. Trump did an amazing thing and vastly out-performed any reasonable expectations other than the ones that formed on the last weekend of the canvass (he now holds the record for the second-most votes in an Iowa GOP caucus in the history of forever). Pretty darn impressive. But there's just one problem: he's now a loser.

Marco Rubio polled third in all the polls. But he claimed victory and the MSM megaphoned his bold assertion. So, in the feeble minds of many, he is the real winner of Iowa.

What might happen in NH? Nobody knows anything, but here goes nothing:

I think Trump is blunted. I think we will see a collapse in his enormous NH lead this week. I can see him holding off the competition and winning still--but I can also see him losing again. Either way, I agree that there will be a muddle in NH, but I think Trump will be in the middle of the muddle.

As for Bush quitting: Maybe. I suppose anything is possible. However, in the history of American politics, no Bush has ever quit any race ever. Never. Bushes don't quit. Barbara is headed to NH. Word on the street is that W is headed to SC. Bush is running for president not for personal gain but for love of country and family obligation. If he quits at halftime, he will dishonor the Bush name. I really do not expect him to do that. But who knows.
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I'll agree there is a possibility Trump's chances of sweeping the nomination do not look as good now, but I'm skeptical this blunts Trump. Instead, it seems to stand as a testament to the publicity he wields. He took 24.3% of the vote without even showing up. Most of the people who did not vote for him were people who had made up their mind within the last week (i.e. when he did not participate in the debate or campaign for the caucus).

More if anything, I see this as an outlier for Cruz and a big win for Rubio. Cruz garnered the "very conservative" vote in Iowa, which is unique to the area while completely missing out on the more moderate crowds. See Mike Huckabee from 2008. I think that is giving him an inflated sense of what his style will yield him in less attuned (to him) states. Iowas was all but a sure thing for Cruz without any politicking.

Marco, however, got validation he was missing. I think a lot of people saw Jeb and Marco as interchangeable, but now Marco has some general support to shown he's a contender with the other two.
WF and Lee, you both make sense... and of course, we are all guessing! I think NH will be more important than Iowa.

And WF, that is an intriguing point about the Bushes, which I had never considered. You might have changed my mind.
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