ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – Ted Cruz surged to a solid win in the Republican Primary in Iowa last night, garnering 28% of the vote, and winning 8 delegates. Donald Trump was “honored” to come in second place, at 24% and taking 7 delegates. Marco Rubio exceeded expectations at 23%, and 3rd place, also taking home 7 delegates.
Among the second tier candidates, Ben Carson placed 4th with 9% of the vote, and more importantly, coming away with 3 delegates. Rand Paul placed 5th with 4% of the vote, and taking home 1 delegate. Jeb Bush placed 6th with 3% of the vote, and put 1 delegate in his pocket.
Delegates are the name of the game in the Electoral College system, so if you didn’t get any delegates at all, which was the case with all the other candidates, there is no way to spin it, Iowa was an unmitigated disaster for them. Mike Huckabee, showing the most sense and the least ego, announced last night that he was “suspending his campaign”, which is politico speak for “I quit, and I’m bowing out of the race”.
The big surprise in Iowa for the GOP race was the apparent coalescence of the Establishment vote around Marco Rubio. This could have been a result of the natural effect of caucusing, as voters from various factions harangue and cajole each other during the process. OR, it could have been due to the fact that Microsoft was counting the votes, and they have donated millions to Rubio. But, that’s the problem when you throw ethics out the window. Anyone counting the vote OUGHT be barred from having donated to any candidate, to avoid any appearance of impropriety. But the Elites don’t even try to keep up the façade of fairness anymore. Microsoft called the election for Clinton before the voting even started. This has cast a pall over all of the Iowa results.
Dr. Ben Carson is pissed off! He is accusing the Cruz campaign of dirty tricks, specifically that Cruz operatives spread a false claim during caucusing that Carson was suspending his campaign. This won’t change the results of the vote. The Carson campaign needs to remember that “politics ain’t beanbag”. The watchword in political campaigns is VIGILANCE. Campaigns need boots on the ground to watch for cheating, and to be prepared to do something about it immediately, not the day after. Ted Cruz is, unfortunately, establishing a reputation as a dirty campaigner. Besides what he did to Carson, there was his mailer to voters accusing them of a “voting violation” for not having voted recently. That skated very close to an election law violation.
Someone needs to tell Ted Cruz that he only won Iowa. His hours long victory speech sounded like he won Master of the Universe. Save it for Inauguration Day, Ted.
Donald Trump pulled off in his speech those qualities that his detractors say he is incapable of: He was classy, with plenty of humility and humbleness. Significantly, he went out of his way to mention that he has become “great friends” with Mike Huckabee, the guy who just bowed out. Were these words so effusive because Huckabee is no longer in the contest, or is an endorsement of Trump by Huckabee in the offing? Has Mike Huckabee secured a Cabinet appointment in a future Trump Administration? Time will tell.
Readers know I love the Biggest Loser category in my debate scoring. Well, we have a Biggest Loser in Iowa too. That is Jeb Bush. Even though he managed to pocket a delegate, he did so at great cost: Bush spent $2,884.00 per vote cast for him. Bush was reduced to paying people to attend his campaign events in Iowa. This is what you get with an unappealing candidate with too much money to spend. Most of the Establishment candidates, like Bush, Kasich, and Christie, have invested all their energies in trying to kick start something in New Hampshire, a state in the Northeast that is seen as more hospitable for their “moderate establishmentness” than states like Nevada and South Carolina. Expect a great “culling” of the Republican field after New Hampshire.
On the Democrat party side, it was a tie. Both Clinton and Sanders got roughly 50% of the vote, there being only a 0.3% difference in their vote totals. Under the arcane rules of Iowa Caucusing, the final delegate split was 24 to 21, in favor of Clinton, only because she won 6 coin tosses in a row.
In my day, winning a coin toss six times in a row was called having the Devil’s own luck. It’s a 1 in 64 chance of happening. That tells me Bill Gates was flipping the coin. In other words, some kind of shenanigans, a.k.a. CHEATING was pulled off by the party apparatus to save Clinton from a clear cut loss in Iowa, because everyone recognizes that she is going to lose in New Hampshire, and a loss of Iowa might just put her shaky campaign into a death spiral. I think she might be in a death spiral anyway. A tie in Iowa was a disaster for the Clinton campaign, don’t let the spinmeisters fool you.
Martin O’Malley also announced he was “suspending his campaign” after his asterisk showing. I’m thinking that he knows his miniscule vote share was the difference between a Clinton or Sanders win. By bowing out, he’s saying to us that he’d rather see Sanders win than Clinton.
What to make of the polls that showed Trump surging by 5 to 7 points before the Iowa vote? Pollsters like CNN and Quinnipiac now have egg on their faces. They apparently did not factor in the strength of Ted Cruz’s ground operation, nor the dynamics of the Caucus system. Polling will get more accurate under conventional primary polling, which forbids campaigning near voting booths.
So now it’s on to New Hampshire. After the dust settles in New Hampshire, there will be tremendous pressure on the losing establishment candidates to bow out so that all the votes can gather around one establishment candidate. That won’t change the fact, however, that the real contest is still between Cruz and Trump, and that voters this year prefer an outsider to an insider by a two to one margin.