Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Iowa Caucus - What did we learn?


Only in America and only in Iowa could you have four different people making victory speeches when only two people won.

First was Marco Rubio stealing every line possible from Trump and Cruz as he profusely thanked the Iowa voters for helping him do the impossible against all odds.  Odd thing is he only finished third but he had a plane to catch to New Hampshire so he was pressed for time.

Then it was the actual GOP winner Ted Cruz and before he was halfway through the victory speech out came Hillary Clinton and the networks cut to her while cutting off Cruz.

Hillary gave a fiery and almost mad speech stealing every line possible from Bernie Sanders while hugging Chelsea and Wild Bill before running off to catch her plane for New Hampshire as if she had enough of the Iowa voters.  Since she was still in a dead heat at the time and no news network predicted she would win, it seemed a bit audacious and bizarre.

Bernie Sanders followed Hillary, although he did not claim a voting victory, but certainly was justified in claiming a great moral victory against the Clinton machine.  By the time all four victory speeches were done there was still just one winner and one dead heat.

What did we learn from the Iowa experience?

In terms of strategy, Cruz was best with his 12,000 volunteers who got him the victory.  Next best was Rubio who targeted just five of the ninety-nine Iowa counties and still managed to finish third breathing down the neck of The Donald.

Trump stunned the news media when he also spoke and gave a gracious and humble three-minute thank you to the Iowa voters, with nary a nasty word uttered.  As of the morning after there were still no nasty Tweets from Trump, an eerie silence.

In the Iowa Caucus only one winner since 1972 then won the presidency, Barack Obama in 2008, not much of a record of success over a forty-four year period.  It was the same with Republicans as just George W. Bush in 2000 won since 1976.

As for the Republican vote, it went like this.

Ted Cruz                    51,666             28%
Donald Trump          45,427             24%
Marco Rubio             43,165             23%

Carson at 9% and Paul at 5% rounded out the top five of the twelve GOP candidates.  No other candidate received more than 3% of the vote.  It is interesting to note that Rand Paul beat all four GOP candidates who were former governors, while two former winners of the Iowa caucus, Huckabee and Santorum, got just 2% and 1% respectively.

Records Broken

The top three GOP finishers all broke the record for the most votes in Iowa GOP caucus history, quite a remarkable feat.

The total Republican vote of 186,295 shattered the previous GOP record of 121,503 while 171,109 Democrats voted, well below the 240,000 Obama drew in 2008.  In fact, this may have been one of few times more Republicans than Democrats voted in the Iowa primary, perhaps not so good a sign for the Democrats in terms of new voter registration and turnout potential this year.

Bernie Sanders won the youth vote, age 17-29, by an astonishing 84% to 14% for Clinton, also a bad sign for the Democrat frontrunner.  Most notable in the GOP race was a significant increase in the Evangelical voters, the Cruz base.  It totaled about 64% of the GOP voters, but Cruz, Trump, and Rubio split the vote evenly.

Cruz and his highly proclaimed Iowa organization delivered as did Rubio and his five-county strategy.  As for Trump, he may need to beef up his ground organization in future primaries but for his first election effort and considering all the anti-Trump media for the past nine months, it was quite respectable.


No comments: