Iowa Caucuses: What did we learn?

cruzWell, the smoke has cleared.  The votes have been counted, and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump — the two favorites of grass roots conservatives — were standing on top of the hill with the most votes.  The results should thin the herd a little.  The money will start being funneled more to the folks who look like they have a real shot at 1600 Penn.  On the Democrat side, Martin O’Malley is hanging it up.  There’s still a crowd of folks on the GOP side who appear to have overstayed their welcome. (Yes, we’re looking at you: Jeb Bush, Jim Gilmore, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee.) 

The talking heads are busy spinning away on this vote.  Meanwhile, the campaigns and the rest of the traveling circus are heading off to New Hampshire for the next big test.  After that, the Carolinas will be at ground zero for this political traveling circus.  We’ll be seeing and going through an awful lot of what Iowa and New Hampshire have been seeing and hearing.  hillary

What can we take away from Iowa?  Here are a few things we noticed around here at Haymaker HQ:

  1.  Hillary ain’t all that.  The drive bys and the DC crowd have been moaning about what a juggernaut Team Hillary is.  We heard it in 2008, but Barry Obama took the wind out of those sails.  This time around we’ve heard the same thing.  Yet, it appears that loon Bernie Sanders — who isn’t even registered as a Democrat — has given Ma Clinton a too-close-to-call fight.
  2. New Hampshire actually has a better record at picking the eventual nominee than Iowa does.  This was the 10th presidential caucus since 1980.  In the NINE prior caucuses, there were only FIVE occasions where the Iowa winner went on to win the GOP nomination.  Since 1980, the New Hampshire winner has gone on to win the GOP nomination SEVEN times.  (Since 1948, there have been ONLY FOUR people who have won the New Hampshire GOP primary but failed to win the nomination.)
  3. Frank, conservative rhetoric can win.  You would think this would finally shut up all of those consultants who claim the GOP needs to water itself down.  (But it won’t.) The two guys in the Iowa race who delivered frank, unfiltered hard-nosed conservatism came out  on top.
  4. Logistics matters as much as presentation. It’s one thing to have great rallies and give great speeches.  It’s another entirely to be able to effectively get your folks to the polls.  People were wondering if The Donald could translate all of that enthusiasm at his rallies into an effective GOTV effort. The final vote tally showed things to be a lot voteidcloser than what the polls were showing.  It looks like The Donald might have been outworked on the ground by The Ted and The Marco.  Team Trump needs to step up their behind the scenes, GOTV efforts if they want this phenomenon to keep rolling.  Sure, The Donald is firing up the folks and entertaining them.  But remember: There IS an election out there, as well. I know The Donald has people on the ground here in The Carolinas, as does Cruz.  Some elected types were with Bush, but have slithered over to Rubio.  

13 thoughts on “Iowa Caucuses: What did we learn?

  1. 1. Rubio is the pick for the McCain/Romney/establishment/RNC crowd. He beat the other establishment candidates but was competing for votes against Christie and Bush so not all that surprising. The media is pushing his third place finish is a “Rubio moment” but Ron Paul finishing a close third in 2012? Completely ignored.

    2. The most evangelical wins Iowa and as you pointed out they don’t get the nomination. Cruz will be a “front runner” for months to come. Just as Santorum and Huckabee did he’ll corral the evangelicals, keep them from voting for Paul, and then push them to Rubio.

    3. Pauls campaign getting college kid volunteers to make a million calls to Iowa voters? Awesome job pissing people off. Well done. He can’t compete in the “live free or die” state as it will go to the most Progressive, big government candidate (Trump). Paul is done and with him goes any real difference in foreign policy and civil liberties on either side of the ticket.

    4. Trump coming in second is a blow to his overinflated narcissistic ego. He hates losing, and will come even more unhinged. Look for even more “I can shoot someone in the street and not lose supporters” statements.

    1. Rand started losing me with his zigzagging positions and I started leaning more towards Cruz a few months ago.

      Rand is not going to zoom from single digits into top contention. His campaign is flatlining, and he needs to recognize that and drop out after New Hampshire, focus on his Senate race.

  2. The really amazing thing is the turnout on the GOP side, which is the largest turnout ever for an Iowa caucus for either party. In contrast, the Democrat turnout was down substantially from the last contested caucus.

    Ted Cruz had more people show up to support him at the Iowa GOP caucus than any candidate for president of either party EVER. According to the news this morning, his campaign had a hard count expectation of 35,000 minimum and a best case scenario of 42,000, but he actually got nearly 52,000.

  3. Well, the Hildabeast is claiming “victory”, but that is in question. She won six precincts by a “coin toss” (which is legal, according to caucus rules), but she was six-for-six (odds are 1 in 64)..
    The Sanders campaign says they were informed by the Iowa Dem. party that the results from 90 precincts are “missing”, as the party failed to staff them. (go figure).
    The cream rises to the top, and Ted Cruz pulled out a win. That will take some of the wind out of Trump’s sails.

  4. It looks like CBS, with the approval of RNC is trying to throw Ted Cruz a curve in the next debate by putting someone who has been extremely hostile to Cruz as one of the two who will question candidates.

    We do not need biased journalists trying to skew debates. RNC just knocked out NBC for biased journalists and also deleted National Review as a co-sponsor for putting out a magazine centered around conservatives who questioned Trump.

    But this biased journalist in the CBS debate is an establishment Republican mouthpiece and they are not likely to move against her.

  5. One of the links in an ad on the Haymaker gives some very good analysis of who we do NOT need, and that is Marco Rubio. The link is to respected conservative blogger Ace of Spades:

    Ace’s main point is that Rubio is the candidate of the clientist (or corporatist or special interest) wing of the Republican Party and represents everything that the grassroots is against. Ace also sees a need to have at least one party standing up for the citizens rather than just a set of special interests, and the only way to do that is to rescue the GOP from the special interests that make up the ”establishment”. He says beating the establishment this year is even more important than beating the Democrats.

    1. I guess that is why a major British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph of London, called Marco Rubio a ”Cuban Obama” today.

  6. If the Republican Party is to have any chance for winning the presidential election in November Ted Cruz or a Jeb Bush can’t be the nominee. Cruz does a great job on working up his specific supporters and has a great organization, but he alienates groups and people within the conservative movement. Cruz comes across sneering, sneaky and too domineering. Even during debates he comes across as condescending and prideful. Even Richard Nixon yet had the ire of the media and some within the establishment Republican Party against him could work the crowds with smiles and wholesale rhetoric won the presidency in 1968.

    Jeb Bush, well Americans are “Bushed out” of this old tried political dynasty. Jeb’s style of politics is the same old worn road of “as is” politics. He has nothing new to bring to the American voters table. He is a sitting duck for anti Bush tactic that will come from the Clinton campaign. Jeb needs to save his money for his son and that future. At this point in time the other GOP candidates aren’t even in the mix or comment. That leaves us with Trump or Rubio.

    Trump may be pompous in behavior, but he is a populist candidate and if the true winds of political change maintain he could be a threat to the inept Hillary machine if he is the Republican nominee. Trump has the money, organization and a message being heard by the masses. The Donald is brash and animated but his is resonating to pissed off Americans. American independent voters for sure have tapped into Trump’s vitriol. Even labeled Republicans may finally be angry enough to want a win by not staying home on election day and vote for Trump.

    Marco Rubio could go head to head with Hillary and pull off a win. Rubio has appeal he is young, but not to young to become president in the eyes of most voters, Rubio’s Hispanic background and family story is the “American dream” come true. He is intelligent, aggressive, in debate and performance, but comes across as personable. His likability factor is high as was seen with his strong third place finish in Iowa. Another all important element in the general election is the fact Rubio comes from the large electoral state of Florida. It has been stated many times over that the candidate that scares the Clinton folks more then anyone is Marco Rubio.

    However for any Republican win against Hillary even a Hillary in chains, given that Sanders or Biden do not come to be the final Democrat nominee, (not going to happen) depends on how distrustful she is presented in regards to her legal troubles and Benghazi to name a few. First and foremost the GOP Presidential candidates need to learn not to air personal attacks on each other. Who is the real enemy in this race? The object of attack is Obama and his third term via Hillary. Now is the time for not only the Republican presidential candidates, but the various Republican and conservative organizations produce and broadcast propagandized ads through every media method from Facebook to TV continuously for every American to realize the evil of Obama and Hillary’s effect on the United States. American voters must be informed, but pushed hard over and over even if it takes scaring them into voting November 8th, 2016 for a Republican President. .

    The reality of it all is Hillary Clinton as President would be a Obama on steroids administration. God forbid.

    1. Marco Rubio is a loser. He is the leading establishment candidate for president and represents the Mitch McConnell / John Boehner / Paul Ryan wing of the party, or what is known as the Surrender Caucus, that caves in to Obama. Polls show that Republican voters are disgusted with this element of the party, with 65% saying they feel betrayed by them. Nominating an establishment candidate will turn off the GOP base and insure a loss. A lot of GOP voters who have been betrayed by the Washington Republican leadership will not longer settle for the lesser of the evils.

      The only way, we are going to win is to nominate one of the insurgent candidates, which included Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum. Scott Walker would have also appealed to both the grassroots and the establishment. Of these, only three are left standing.

      Principled conservatives like Ronald Reagan win. Wishy-washy moderates like Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney lose. It is time to try the Reagan strategy, and the candidate closest to that approach is Ted Cruz, although Donald Trump and Ben Carson also have some elements of the Reagan approach.

      Marco Rubio has also made himself unelectable by being such a cheerleader for amnesty for illegal aliens, including a pathway to citizenship for them. Rubio and Bush both want amnesty and ”comprehensive immigration reform” as a signature ”accomplishment” of their presidency. They would both focus like a laser on it, and that would put a real danger of it passing, which would destroy the country. We actually have a better chance of defeating amnesty by electing a Democrat, so a lot of amnesty opponents would hold their nose and vote for a Democrat over either of these GOP amnesty whores. With a Democrat president, at least there would be a better chance of getting Republicans to have enough backbone to stop it in Congress.

      The best bet is a GOP president who opposes amnesty, or at least does not regard it as a signature issue, but if we have an amnesty whore like Bush or his protege Rubio, then many anti-amnesty voters will simply not be able to vote Republican for president. It is a ”third rail” issue and Rubio has grabbed hold of that third rail with both hands. If Rubio had upheld his campaign promise to Florida voters from his Senate race, he would not be in this mess, but he abandoned that the very day he took office.

  7. From what I read and heard about the Iowa Caucus was they were unprepared for the turn-out. They were totally thrown a curve and having misplaced (trashed) votes proves that they did not have a good security back-up.
    There were some questions concerning the Cruz Camp tweeting that Dr.Ben Carson was suspending his campaign and those voters should vote for Cruz. I smell a rat in the woodpile. BTW Is Cruz really Constitutionally eligible?

    1. The very first US Congress, back in 1790 passed a law that is still on the books today that specifically defined the term ”natural born citizen” as including someone born abroad to a US citizen. There has never been a real question in the law that allows Ted Cruz to run. Other presidential candidates including John McCain, have been born outside the US to one or more American parents. The problem today is a birther opportunist, Donald Trump, stirring crap for his own political benefit.

      As to the Carson incident, it is unfortunate, but it was Carson’s own people who put out the statement that he was returning to Florida and would have a major statement the next week. It is not surprising from that statement that both some in the media and some in other campaigns put two and two together and got three.

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