Jeb loses to Rand and other thoughts from Iowa

Jeb loses to Rand and other thoughts from Iowa

Rather than hover around watching Fox News or CNN’s live coverage of the Iowa caucus, I watched episodes of “Firefly.” Something about a TV show that follows the adventures of smugglers trying to get the hell away from an all-encompassing, centralized, intergalactic government just seemed fitting to me.

Every now and then, I would go onto Twitter or Fox’s website to see how things were going, but then went right back to the crew of Serenity.

When I finally officially checked in, Ted Cruz had been declared the winner and the wrinkled old socialist and her competitor were duking it out in a unbelievably close race.

There were a few things that struck me about what happened in Iowa.

First, the turn-out. We were told that if there was a huge turnout, Trump would win by five to ten points. There was a record turnout on the Republican side. Over 180,000 people participated. What is that, about fifty or sixty thousand more than the previous record? It appears that the turnout did help, but it helped Cruz. And, frankly, I think it really helped Rubio who came within a breath of beating Trump out of second place.

But more importantly, notice where all the traditional “political class” candidates finished. Leave aside Marco Rubio (who some call “establishment” or “GOPe” or whatever else is the derogatory term used to describe someone who is controlled by these shadowy, cigar-smoking masterminds whose only function in life is to go against the will of the people and get their guy in the White House). By more “traditional political class” candidates, I mean the “You have to have a governor with a proven record blah blah blah.” And those guys, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie were in the bottom half of the field. Jeb lost to Rand Paul, you guys — by more than three thousand votes.

This tells me that Iowans at least, are pretty much finished with the polished turds that make up the preferred candidate class of the RNC.

Also consider this, of the over 180,000 votes cast last night in the Iowa Caucus, almost 138,000 of those votes went to someone other than Donald Trump. More than 75% of Iowa Caucus-goers rejected the Trump Train. For weeks now, I have been saying that, if we go by polling, between 65-67% of Republicans do not support Trump. In Iowa, when people actually went and voted, that percentage was closer to 76%.

Sure, it could be an outlier, but it may also indicate that Donald Trump has gone about as far as he can go and has reached the peak of his base of support. Now, that doesn’t mean that Trump can’t win other states. I think he probably could win some. But I do believe that it is a clear indication that when the field begins to shrink (hopefully after New Hampshire, but definitely after South Carolina), Trump will find himself just one of a few in very competitive races. And if that percentage holds true and 75% of voters do not want him, he won’t win many states.

Here’s something else to consider. Not long ago, I mentioned that the South Carolina primary is an open primary. Democrats can choose to sit out their primary and vote in the Republican one instead, and vice versa. At the time, I suggested that many Democrats, because their nominee was all but certain, may choose to skip the Democrat Primary and vote in the Republican one instead. In fact, I posited that if Trump wins South Carolina, it may well be because Southern Democrats chose to vote for him in the open primary.

But with the photo-finish between Clinton and Sanders last night, I suspect that Democrats in South Carolina aren’t going to want to skip their own primary because suddenly they have a real horse race on their hands. Had Clinton won handily by a wide margin, a projected loss in New Hampshire would have been more palatable for South Carolina voters. But this “barely there” win coupled with the fact that Sanders will more than likely secure a win in New Hampshire will mean South Carolina Democrats are going to want to stay within their own primary to help decide the Democrat candidates’ fates. If that’s the case, Trump may not get much of a boost from Democrat crossover voters in South Carolina.

As I said a few months ago, I expected Huckabee to drop out after Iowa because the only reason he stayed in this long was to see how he did in Iowa. I didn’t expect him to drop out on the very night of the caucus. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick Santorum follows suit in the next day or so. I can’t imagine Santorum believes that he has a chance to do well in New Hampshire. I guess it will all depend on how much of Santorum’s campaign is based on ego and how much is based on the fate and future of our Republic.

The more moderate Republicans, Kasich, Christie, Bush and Fiorina, won’t drop out before New Hampshire. I doubt any of them expected to do well last night. But they are all hoping for a good showing in New Hampshire.

But here’s the thing. With Marco Rubio coming closer to second place than Trump came to first place, I would say the die has been cast among the “establishment.” They found their candidate last night. And it wasn’t Bush who couldn’t even get into the top five. My guess is, Rubio will get the biggest bump out of Iowa because of that. Let’s face it, right now the “establishment” is split between Rubio, Bush, Kasich and Christie. Rubio receiving over forty-three thousand votes (nearly four times what the other three received combined) leads me to believe the three also-rans will be set aside in favor of him.

This is only the beginning. One state down, forty-nine remain. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Iowa Republicans never pick the eventual nominee.” But most conventional wisdom is useless right about now. Iowa Republicans also never turned out at these levels. No one caucus winner has ever received as many votes as Ted Cruz did last night. In a caucus where so much was unprecedented, precedent may be useless here.

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5 thoughts on “Jeb loses to Rand and other thoughts from Iowa

  • February 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

    They said it couldn’t be done, no way, no how! TrusTED built it, and it ran like a Deer, a John Deer!
    I know it is corn-ey, and like my daddy’s old mule, lame. Don’t let those thoughts go any furrough.

    Okay, okay, Iowa voters ditch-ed tRUMP, and placed TED ahead in the field. Uh, Huh, Uh, Huh. Huckster used up a whole can of starter fluid and never got his tractor going. Those cold Iowa winter nights are tough on old tractors like Huck. JEB! and Chrispy never had a chance. A good night for TED!

  • February 2, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Some more good news is that there were 185k Republicans and 171k Democrats that turned out last night in Iowa. In 2008 and 2012 Democrats out numbered Republicans in the Iowa caucus. That’s encouraging, because looking at the big picture I just don’t want another Democrat in the oval office.

  • February 2, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I agree with you, Dianny. The battle last night was not between Cruz and Trump, it was between Rubio and the rest of the field and Rubio handily dispatched all below him and nearly overcame the two above him. You’re right about the 65-75% who oppose Trump; and Rubio sees that clearly, too, so he hasn’t really needed to challenge Trump. And while Trump’s persona will likely maintain him in the media spotlight in NH and SC, given Rubio’s strong showing in Iowa and without a Trump personality makeover, the battle now seems more well-defined: Rubio versus Cruz. As a Carson supporter, I am bitterly disappointed in the way this is turning out and the unsatisfactory choices with which I’m being left.

    • February 2, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      If you didn’t catch it Geoduck, Carson was just on The O’Reilly Factor a few minutes ago and said the Cruz campaign workers were going around telling caucus voters that if he (Carson) didn’t win the Iowa caucus he was pulling out of the race. This was the first time I have ever seen Carson angry and he has every right to be. Nobody wants to waste their vote on someone who might quit on them. O’Reilly told him that it originated at CNN and that Cruz’s campaign workers were just repeating it without verifying.

      • February 3, 2016 at 1:47 am

        Thanks, Alan. Dr Carson is just too nice for this gig — he naïvely thinks candidates seeking the office of President of the United States of America should act with honor at all times and in all things — silly man, right? Doesn’t he know professional politicians are shysters? . Cruz knew what was happening as did his campaign spokesman (as he did with the “Voting Violation” mailers, too.) and it’s all part and parcel of the ubiquitous Machiavellianism that is destroying our Republic. As Dr Carson said Monday night, “We are in the process of collapsing from within, if we continue to accept deceit and dirty tricks and lies. And people who do that are still viable candidates for President of the United States and we accept it and that’s the problem.” That is the problem, indeed.

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