While Hillary declared herself the winner in Iowa, her “victory” came down to winning 6 out of 6 coin tosses (@WikiLeaks Hillary Wins #Iowa over Sanders by ‘winning’ six coin tosses in a row. Odds this can happen randomly is 1 in 64.) And even doing that, her “win” was a statistical tie (49.8%, Mr. Sanders’s at 49.6%). Or said another way, had Sanders won a couple of the coin flips, he’d be the “winner”. And don’t forget, Hillary enjoyed a 50 point lead in June.
Hillary’s campaign staff apparently did what they were supposed to do with their ground game. So why the almost “miss” in Iowa? Maybe it’s Hillary.
On the GOP side, what can you say? Pandemonium and hilarity. Polls out to lunch and missed the final finish by miles. I loved John Bambeck’s dig: “So all @realDonaldTrump does is win, but runs for President of the US and loses first caucus to a Canadian. #SeemsLegit”
Heh. But in reality, Iowa essentially sets up a 3 person GOP race – Cruz, Trump and Rubio. If anything it was a test of candidate viability. And the down ticket for the GOP has been shown to be about as viable as … Martin O’Malley.
Trump’s second place finish (barely) leaves a lot of questions to be answered. Why were the polls so wrong? Was it smart for him to skip the last debate or did it end up hurting him? And what about Sarah Palin?
First Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump at a time she had negative 11% favorables with the GOP. Then she missed the first event of the day following her endorsement. Then she blamed her son being involved in a domestic incident on Barack Obama’s treatment of veterans, turning off a lot of veterans in the process by suggesting those who came back from overseas were no longer able to control themselves and were not culpable for their actions.
Hmmm. If Trump thought getting her endorsement was a coup, what does that tell you about his political acumen?
As for Cruz and Rubio, Cruz won with a record turnout. That was supposed to be a Trump trump. So now the chattering class is wondering, “is Trump over”? Well, we’ll see, but my guess is not and I’d also guess we’ll see a Trump that is toned down a bit and a little more careful about what he does or says during the campaign season. Not that it really matters. He is what he is and he’ll likely revert to that at some point
As for Cruz, obviously it surprised the establishment GOP. If Donald Trump weren’t the bête noire of the establishment GOP, Ted Cruz would be. And Cruz set much lower expectations for himself (as did Marco Rubio) in Iowa. For Cruz to win it again sends a loud and clear signal to the establishment GOP. But it must be like a dog whistle to humans, because they never seem to hear it.
Oh, and Jeb Bush? Pack it in buddy. You’re done. And yes, you too are a part of that loud and clear signal.
Finally, what does Iowa mean for the GOP in terms of any significance? Well, other than narrowing the field to three, not much. A reminder:
1976- Gerald Ford (lost election)
1980- Bush (lost nomination)
1984- Reagan (unopossed)
1988- Dole (lost nomination)
1992- Bush (unopossed)
1996- Dole (lost election)
2004- Bush (unopossed)
2008- Huckabee (lost nomination)
2012- Santorum (lost nomination)
So the circus moves on to New Hampshire, where it is likely that Bernie Sanders will bury Hillary Clinton. To bad it won’t be for good. And, we’ll see if the GOP has the same outcome as in Iowa. If so then you can really begin to question Trump’s viability and how deep his appeal reaches.