ROMNEY WORDSWORTH – It is Wednesday, February 3, 2016, and you know what that means: It’s Trumpday! Let’s get started.
Breaking this morning, Rand Paul announced he is suspending his campaign, joining Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley in exiting the presidential race in the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses. In addition to having failed to gain much traction with Republican primary voters, Rand Paul also has a significant primary challenge to his Senate seat. Last month, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray filed to run against him.
The reverberations of Iowa continue to be felt. It is now confirmed that the Cruz campaign circulated a false campaign memo, claiming that Dr. Ben Carson was leaving the race, on the night of the caucusing. Ted Cruz has issued a formal, public apology to Carson, but characterized the fake memo as a “mistake”. Carson has accepted Cruz’ apology.
There is an old saying that: “He who wins at the cost of his honor, is defeated.” Ted Cruz now bears the stigma of a dirty campaigner. If and when Dr. Carson does bow out of the race for real, the hurt feelings among his supporters make it unlikely they will move to the Cruz camp now. Carson is one of the few candidates with a significant chunk of voters. Ten percent could make the crucial difference in a future primary state. A further shadow that may come to haunt Cruz is that from now on, all of his self- righteous rhetoric about justice, fairness, and integrity will now ring a bit more hollow than before. Cruz posed as “the candidate of Jesus” (my words) in his over the top appeals to Evangelicals. Well, would Jesus have lied to get elected? Ted Cruz is running an ad on the radio about Trust and Truth as I type. Can you trust Ted Cruz? Not if your name is Ben Carson.
Donald Trump has tweeted today that Cruz’ cheating ought to nullify the Iowa election results. While no one expects this to actually happen, it does portend future attacks by Trump at Cruz: You can’t trust a dirty campaigner, and you shouldn’t reward him with your vote. Trump has also publically acknowledged that skipping the FNC debate probably cost him some support in Iowa. I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the media control on the electoral process to be broken.
Looking ahead to New Hampshire this coming Tuesday, the polls (to the extent you can trust them) look very good for The Donald. Taken as late as the day before Iowa, Donald Trump is averaging a 22 point lead over his nearest competitor. Even if Cruz gets some momentum out of Iowa, it will not be enough to erase Trump’s 22 point lead. The practical effect of Iowa is that Ted Cruz got one more delegate than Donald Trump did. A huge Trump win in New Hampshire will erase that delegate lead.