The Iowa caucus may be over but just so we wouldn’t lose all the media attention today we decided to have a snowstorm to keep media in our state for at least another day.
As I predicted last week Ted Cruz end up victorious on the Republican side. The Cruz ground game proved to be too much for Donald Trump and the other candidates. I expect Marco Rubio was pleased with his close third place finish that likely makes him a real contender moving forward. It is also interesting to me that the last caucus winner, Rick Santorum, finished dead last on the Republican side. What does a victory for Cruz in Iowa mean? He’ll obviously get a bit of momentum with the victory but Iowa hasn’t been too good at predicting the winners on the Republican side. Instead, I look for Marco Rubio to begin surging by beating expectations here in Iowa. More than any other Republican I see him as the candidate who can steal voters away from the Hillary Clinton base. Because they tend to be more devisive candidates, Cruz and Trump are more unlikely to sway democrats and independent voters in my opinion.
On the Democratic side, I am somewhat surprised Hillary Clinton managed to gain a narrow victory. She has to be relieved but given her massive party support network here in Iowa, it may be hard to call it a “real” victory. The numbers were a virtual tie and as one political operative said she had “pretty much every institutional advantage a candidate could dream of having.” In fact, Sanders managed to almost defeat Clinton despite no name recognition prior to the start of this campaign and with much less ground game support here in Iowa and fraction of the endorsements. There is NO question that Sanders’ supporters were by far the most enthusiastic supporters in Iowa. So can he win the nomination? That’s questionable because his support really has not appeared to go beyond “progressive” white voters. He will need African-American and Latino support if he intends to win. For her part, Clinton appears to have much more support nationally (particularly among African-Americans and Latinos) so it will be interesting to see whether Sanders can pick up momentum from his showing here in Iowa. Unlike 2008, we did not see the kind of overwhelming support for Sanders like we saw for Obama.
Should be an interesting race moving forward. In my opinion Marco Rubio may have had the best night of any candidate and I don’t think Trump is really interested in “buying a farm” after his second place showing. I am quite certain Hillary is very happy to move along to other states and Sanders has a lot of work to do if he intends to catch up. Even though Cruz won, he quite possibly gave one of the most dreadful victory speeches in recent history. His speech was interrupted by our local media not once, but twice, and he will need to improve his polish if he intends to sway mainstream voters.