Now that the first caucus votes are behind us, we can look in the rear view mirror and draw some conclusions about what lies ahead. Iowa drove O’Malley, Huckabee, Paul and Santorum from the list of wannabees.
The three obvious winners, Cruz, Trump and Rubio have staying power at least through South Carolina. Some of the other pretenders are hanging around with hope of getting their spike in support from New Hampshire.
Iowa had its surprises. Trump did not live up to expectations. Cruz and Rubio did better than expected. The others are all still breathing, but barely.
Carson is upset that Cruz pulled some dirty tricks on caucus night. Ben, welcome to the big leagues. If you can’t play the game, then you shouldn’t be on the field. Cruz finished atop the heap in Iowa but the cheap move against Carson might do enough damage to Ted’s campaign to deny him the nomination. That error also gives hope to the wannabees that they still might have life. They all hope to breakout in New Hampshire.
The caucus system is a grueling affair designed to force the candidates to assemble an effective staff and do their planning and strategize for the vote. The ground game identifies their supporters, gets them to the caucus, and make sure they vote for the right candidate. Without this type of effort, success can not be achieved. Just ask Donald Trump. This process is necessary for the rest of the primary season.
Iowa is more evangelical than we will find in most states. Because of the conservative and religious nature of the Iowa Republicans, an entirely different result will probably appear in New Hampshire. Some of the wannabees who finished in single digits did not even have representatives at all the voting places. They hope to do better in primary states where the ground organization is not as difficult or important.
Hillary Clinton won a real squeaker over Bernie Sanders. Sanders has to be considered the real winner. After all was said and done, Sanders tied Hillary in a state that should have rejected Sanders’ socialists philosophy. Bernie did much better than any expectation. After Hillary finished a poor third eight years ago, any victory is considered a win by her camp this year.
Hillary Clinton has many problems that are constantly following her wherever she goes. Her email scandal will probably lead to her indictment on felony charges. The emails exposed another problem relating to the Clinton Foundation and illegal contributions from foreign governments. The FBI will issue their recommendation to the Justice Department soon. Even though Sanders didn’t capitalize on these Clinton scandals, his campaign benefited from the cloud hanging over Hillary’s head.
Bill Clinton is another drag on Hillary’s campaign. His womanizing, and Hillary’s support for her husband, plus her campaign to demonize those who Bill molested, followed Hillary all through the Iowa campaign.
I think everyone is glad that Iowa is behind us. New Hampshire and South Carolina come up rather quickly, and new stories, different atmospheres, and different local issues are needed to provide some freshness to the campaign for the White House.