Monday, February 1, 2016

Politics: Iowa Caucus

The first results of the 2016 primary election season are in and the Hawkeye state has decided on candidates. We still don't know who comes out ahead on the Democratic side as Bernie Sanders has performed so well, he is right behind Hillary Clinton in his delegate count. I think that Sanders can take this as a victory even though the actual numbers might not favor him when all the votes are counted. On the other side a three-way race has taken off with Ted Cruz winning this state, Donald Trump underperforming in second, and Marco Rubio riding high coming in an unsuspected third with a high percentage.

Two candidates have dropped out after the results tonight, Mike Huckabee and Martin O'Malley. The field will continue to shrink as the actual votes get counted. I won't spend much time analyzing performances of Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, or any of the other candidates that didn't over ten percent. Though I think Ben Carson performed fourth best in the Republican party his gaffe over laundry shows his candidacy disintegrating.

Marco Rubio turned his high performance that gained him third place into a victory and gave a long speech trying to build up momentum as he proceeds to New Hampshire. Rubio attacked Clinton and Sander and Obama and made vague promises in his third place speech. He was so close to Trump. If he had pulled it out, he would have really celebrated and gained even more momentum.

Now I think the pundits can start to predict Trump's decline with his performance in Iowa. I think voters do not support his craziness and don't see him as a viable candidate. His speech didn't have the cockiness he has run with before and he made it short and sweet. Trump is turning his attention to more familiar ground in New Hampshire where he has to come up on top or risk an even faster decline in this election.

Ted Cruz on top had a rambling speech, and it was clear he gained enough of the religious vote in Iowa to take the lead. I don't see Cruz doing well in New Hampshire but he could have a decent performance in South Carolina to keep up his momentum. The last two winners of Iowa were Huckabee and Rick Santorum in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Neither of these candidates performed well throughout the rest of their elections so I don't see that this victory propels Cruz to the nomination. Interestingly both these candidates performed terribly in this state this year as well.

Hillary Clinton came off strong in her speech to a large crowd but it was a sigh of relief as she dropped from a fifty point lead to a .2% lead with 95% of the vote counted. Clinton tried to come off strong but she is backpedaling, and Sanders is almost guaranteed to take New Hampshire next Tuesday. Clinton can take this as a win but she looks like she is rapidly losing her chance at the nomination yet again to an upstart candidate.

Bernie Sanders comes off the most victorious in this campaign. His speech was confident and addressed the insults and critiques of his campaign. Sanders looked strong and ready to continue his campaign for as long as it takes to win or finally be declared a loser. He drags the Democratic party to the left and could continue to gain support.

With the first votes nearly counted, the spin begins but the numbers will finally make a decision. Mostly I take that Trump underperforms and Clinton has a tough competition ahead. Rubio looked strong and I shouldn't have underestimated him. I don't see Cruz sticking around for that long. As I said in my last politics post, it is hard to count out Bernie Sanders and the race is too close to call even after midnight.

I will return next week to analyze the results. My picks for New Hampshire are Sanders for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. So far I've missed out on the Republican side, and it's too close to call on the Democrat side. It's going to be an exciting race, and I'm glad it's election season!

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