OK, Iowa is over and it should have taught us plenty. For a lot of the candidates, it should teach them that they are not presidential material and should head to the exits like Mike Huckabee did when the vote totals came in. Same goes for Martin O’Malley. I give both guys credit for reading tea leaves that the rest of the country saw months ago. But of course, they wanted to have the chance to have people tell them they didn’t want them to be president. They got their wish.
We also learned that Chris Christie, who only wanted to be the top vote-getting governor in the bunch finished almost at the bottom. It doesn’t bode well for the big man from Jersey. Like I’ve said before, Chris, 2012 was your chance…you waited too long. For Jeb! Bush, he showed he doesn’t have what his brother and father had when it comes to running for president. No, he won’t drop out because he has the money to continue, and he’ll bank on picking up the scraps of the other candidates. But it’s over for him. The same goes for Gilmore, and Santorum, and Fiorina. I know that Christie will hang around for New Hampshire, as will John Kasich, and Rand Paul did better than expected, but it won’t be enough to help his wounded campaign. He’s bleeding cash and needs an infusion that probably won’t be coming.
As for the winners (and losers) at the top, you have to give Ted Cruz credit. He said all along that Iowa was about ground game, and he was right. Trump didn’t pay attention to that and thought that the “celebrity fly-in” was going to be enough. It wasn’t. In fact, Marco Rubio almost pulled off the upset of the night by beating Trump. He was only a couple of percentage points behind! And while Ben Carson trailed miserably in the caucus, he finished a respectable fourth.
On the Democrats’ side, neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders could really claim victory, and that would mean it’s a victory for Sanders who trailed Clinton by 50 points just six months ago. Hillary won by a total of five precincts, and she won six coin flips (they were actually tied in the voting six times!). So, because of a coin flip, it could have gone either way. Hillary needs to count her blessings, say a few Hail Mary’s and move on to New Hampshire to take her lumps. I actually think this is going to energize Sanders’ base more than Hillary’s.
What did it teach us overall? Once again, polls aren’t accurate (the GOP poll had Trump up by five points in two separate and respected polls). And Hillary’s numbers weren’t as good as they thought they’d be. But by the same token, the pundits were also wrong. They thought that a “strong turnout” meant a win for Sanders and Trump. Neither pulled it out despite record turnouts on both sides.
Heading into New Hampshire the fields will be lighter. Expect a couple more to drop out today and over the coming days. And, expect Trump and Sanders to rebound and handedly take New Hampshire.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember this about Iowa’s ability to predict the winner…they haven’t picked the correct eventual nominee in years! Santorum won it in 2012, and Mike Huckabee won it in 2008. So much for being first to vote!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!