Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why the Iowa Caucuses Mean Nothing and Something

With any luck we won't have to look at his pie-hole much longer.

The results of the Iowa Caucuses are in and the results were pretty predictable.  On the Republican side, the man with the best ground game (Cruz) won, by a narrow margin.  The real results are that no one person really "won" but that three front-runners emerged in a virtual tie.   Cruz, Trump, and Rubio each got about 25% of the vote, and the remainders were all the single digits.  If this repeats in New Hampshire, the next GOP debate will have only three people in it.

This is probably good news.  Rubio is still in the game and getting as much vote as the other two major contenders.  Cruz did well in Iowa by having the best organization.  Bear in mind that a Caucus is different than voting.  You have to go to a caucus area and then stay there, sometimes for hours, and argue with your neighbors as to who should win.  While many people are comfortable casting an anonymous vote, few are comfortable going face-to-face with neighbors and friends and expressing their opinions.  Peer pressure causes people to change their minds.

Bear in mind also that if a candidate doesn't get a certain percentage, then the caucusing continues, and people often switch allegiances or make deals to prevent "the other guy" from winning.  So the results are skewed.

The main thing is, Rubio is still in the game.  Trump will crash and burn as he has no real political organization.  He is the darling of the news media and gets lots of coverage and free publicity.  Cruz does likewise, to some extent, but also has a real organization in place.  Rubio is third only because he is moderate, and he has the best shot of actually winning the "middle of the road" Americans who will vote in November for real.

On the Democratic side, much fuss has been made of how well Sanders did.  Again, a caucus is not a vote, but a nightmare of "in your face" politics.  And I am sure a lot of college students showed up for Bernie.  No one gets passionate about Hillary.  Bill Clinton said it best, "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line."   And right now, a lot of people are in love in Bernie.  But now that the spotlight is on him, he will likely flub it an fail.  Let's hope anyway - an ineffectual socialist President would be a nightmare.

My prediction: The Sanders candidacy will sputter and die when he is caught on hidden camera smoking pot.  Come on - you know he does.  It is just a matter of time.  He will fail the drug test.  It will be interesting to see how he does in New Hampshire.  As a "local boy" from nearby Vermont, he should do well.  But the no-tax "live free or die" conservatives in New Hampshire might not warm to him.

Trump's campaign will sputter and die after New Hampshire, as he has no real political organization in place.  It will get rough in the subsequent primaries as people start to tire of the flavor-of-the-week and the media loses its fascination as well - once they realize it no longer sells ad time on their shows.

Getting down to Cruz versus Rubio, while Cruz will do well with the die-hard conservatives and the evangelicals, Rubio will win over the more moderate Republicans and - more importantly - the big money.

Which will set us up for an interesting match in the fall - Hillary versus Rubio.   A conservative Democrat versus a "liberal" Republican.

And we complain we don't have real choices!

EDIT:  Apparently the New Hampshire primaries are utterly meaningless.  Sanders may have benefit from being a local boy (in neighboring Vermont) or because independents voted for Trump (perhaps as an act of political prankserism).   If the choice in November is Trump or Sanders, it will be a tough call - and a sad day for America.