Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Quick takeaways from Iowa

  • This is the last year Iowa (and New Hampshire) have a lock on the early contests, right? Because I doubt anyone outside of the other 48 states and Ted Cruz  is loving this system now. 
  • I guess Iowa can now go back to being the home of environment-destroying ethanol. 
  • Come on, people. Admit it. A tie on the Democratic side was hilarious! After all the sturm und drang of the past year, we finally have a contest and no one wins
  • Yeah, yeah, Hillary Clinton was the “winner”, but no she wasn’t. It was a tie. And for all we know, Bernie Sanders may have won the popular vote. In fact, it’s very likely he did (though we’ll never know). Yet another reason why the Iowa caucuses can go to hell. 
  • A tie, still, is better than a Clinton loss. Now she gets to lose big in New Hampshire before the map turns in her favor. Even a big victory, however, wouldn’t have changed any race dynamics. There was no way Sanders wasn’t running until March 1 at the earliest. 
  • Which of the March 1 SEC Super Tuesday contests will Sanders win: Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia? My money is in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont. Colorado could be competitive. Beats me about American Samoa. 

  • I don’t think any pollster, on either side, got Iowa right. Still, polling a contest as weird as a caucus when only about 4 to 5 percent of the state’s population will participate can’t be easy. I’m willing to give pollsters a pass on this one. 
  • Did you hear the joke about how the guy who didn’t even get a quarter of Republican support and came in third place “won” the caucus? 
  • Remember how the Republican establishment tried to claim Marco Rubio the winner of that one debate, and they all echoed the same theme incessantly even though no one believed it? Well, this is round two of their attempt to put lipstick on that pig. I’ll run the numbers later today, but  Rubio basically consolidated the “establishment” candidate bucket. That was good for third place, but not good for expanding beyond that bucket. In other words, he’s maxed out.

  • The last two winners of the GOP Iowa caucuses: Rick Santorum (2012) and Mike Huckabee (2008). At this point, it’s clear that the Religious Right has hijacked Iowa. There are plenty of reasons for Democrats to ditch Iowa. This is a good argument for the Republican establishment to join the anti-Iowa bandwagon. 

  • Iowa boosters claim they should stay first because Iowa voters take their task “seriously,” because as we know, giving us a no-decision on one side, and Ted Cruz on the other, is the textbook definition of “serious”. 

  • Campaign field operatives can breathe a sigh of relief: Their work still matters. Donald Trump had them worried there for a while. 

  • I had an ABC live stream on my computer, and they were interviewing a really excited white male college student at Trump HQ. He kept saying how excited he was, how this was his “first political event,” and how he’d gotten to the Trump victory party as early as possible, beating the crowd. But wait, how did he beat the crowd? Well, you see, the PARTY was his FIRST political event. He hadn’t bothered to caucus. And that’s why you have a ground game. That’s why celebrity status and a Twitter account can only take you so far. 

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