Iowa Caucus

One can legitimately question the fairness and undue influence that the state of Iowa has grabbed for itself in the Presidential primary process but the impact is undoubtedly profound. As the demographic statistics show, Iowa is not reflective of America, 94% of Iowans are white, the state’s corn-based farming and industries receives massive amounts of subsidies, over 1/3 of the population is evangelical and the state’s total population (in a country of 320 million) is less than 3 million (less than 1% of the US population).

Despite all of those unrepresentative factors, Iowa gets to play a deciding role (along with New Hampshire) for all of America in which candidates may be eliminated or elevated before the rest of the country gets to vote. In a more representative democracy, as much as it would make those in small states howl, it would seem far more fair for a larger state with a diverse and larger voter base, more reflective of America’s actual population, to be the first state to vote (New York or California for example).

Instead, we and the candidates are stuck with a skewed state making such a massive impact on who could become our next President.

And for two candidates in particular, it could be make or break.

The first candidate whose campaign could be mortally wounded by a loss in Iowa is Ted Cruz. Cruz and his family have been part of the extremist evangelistic community for decades so with Iowa being so over-representative of fundamentalist evangelicals, a loss here would be devastating.

If Cruz is going to win anywhere, he would win in Iowa. There are no polls in the upcoming states showing Cruz with the same opportunity to win. A win in Iowa could shift polls in other states more his way and provide for a more competitive back and forth race between Cruz and Trump. If Trump wins Iowa then goes on to win NH as appears probable, there is no big game changer for Cruz that would do anything to change the growing Trump momentum.

Cruz is more likely to fade in the polls in such a scenario as voters abandon him as a lost cause. That could help someone like Marco Rubio gain “the next best hope to beat Trump” status but from that point, Trump will have an avalanche of wins that, especially with the Super Tuesday votes in Southern states in March, would be hard for Rubio or any other candidate to derail Trump’s path to the nomination.

So, the proposition is, if Cruz loses in Iowa, Trump’s winning of the GOP nomination becomes far more likely.

The second candidate who needs to win Iowa, even though he claims he doesn’t, is Bernie Sanders. Bernie does have passionate supporters all across America so while his campaign could sustain itself despite a loss in Iowa, it will be hard (but not impossible) for Bernie to withstand the Southern voting on Super Tuesday and still look like he can win this thing.

Winning in Iowa would create a powerful argument for Bernie to take to the South and elsewhere, that he has the wins and the momentum, in Iowa and New Hampshire (the latter being a bit of a slam dunk for Bernie, especially if he wins in Iowa), to insist that he can and will win the primary.

Many pudnuts (intentional spelling) have noted the far bigger support Hillary Clinton has with the African American community but many of these alleged professionals forget that this was the case even when Barack Obama was running against her in 2008. Many will remember the meme at the time, “Is Obama black enough?” for the black community to support, that is. Hillary led Obama among African Americans for quite a while but after he won in Iowa, he proved that he could beat Hillary and be viable which changed that dynamic to his favor.

Could the same happen for Bernie if he wins Iowa? It’s possible. There are those in many different communities that harbor doubts about Bernie really being able to win the nomination and Presidency. Back to back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire could move voters towards him.

If Bernie loses in Iowa, he loses that momentum argument which is key for a challenger against an established and formidable opponent (who was supposed to be the massive favorite). If Bernie splits Iowa and New Hampshire with Hillary, going into South Carolina where Hillary is polling far ahead of him, it is unlikely to change the outcome in that state. After that loss and the many losses in Southern states that would follow in March, the question of Bernie having sufficient momentum and support to end up winning the nomination would be huge and problematic.

While Bernie is competitive with Hillary in some states that follow, he isn’t beating her in any of the polls for those states. So even a status quo situation would be trouble for Bernie’s candidacy, let alone mounting losses.

An insurgent campaign like Bernie’s needs to make people believe in the possibility of victory, without a validation of that belief, Hillary is more likely to prevail.

Hillary already has many Superdelegates committed to her. Those remembering her attempt to use them in 2008 to override Obama’s winning the nomination by beating her in the primaries should recognize how she uses this undemocratic aspect of the system to advantage herself. So even if at the end of primary season, Bernie was close to Hillary, her Superdelegates would hand her the victory. Bernie would need to win and win decisively to overcome the Superdelegates advantage Hillary already has and he would need Iowa and New Hampshire to make that statement.

Meanwhile, losing in Iowa while being at the bottom of polls in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada could be enough for a few candidates to drop out. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee each need to retain the evangelical vote to have “a prayer” of being competitive and if they lose as big as expected in Iowa, that hope should be extinguished so they could drop out. Martin O’Malley would also have very little reason to stay in the race if crushed in Iowa so he could quit too (though he may be gambling that Hillary’s email problems could derail her and give him an opening if he stays in long enough).

The Iowa Caucuses close their doors at 5:00pm PST tonight to start their caucusing process. We shall see if they also close the doors on some of the candidates’ campaigns when they announce their results.

UPDATE – 9:23pm PST:

Ted Cruz did win the GOP Iowa Caucus and Trump came in 2nd, just one point ahead of Rubio who took 3rd. So Cruz did what he needed to do to retain his top tier status, Rubio overperformed which helped him and Trump underperformed against expectations so he comes out the biggest loser…so funny for someone whose whole campaign is based on him being a winner. 

Hillary and Bernie end the night in a virtual tie which is as good as a win for Bernie and a disappointing performance for Hillary who had so much behind her and was so far ahead in IA for so long. It isn’t likely to really matter which of them wins by 1%, it will remain a virtual tie to all but the candidate who claims the win (and their supporters). 

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gyp46
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gyp46

Iowa, the perfect example of ‘do as I say, not as I do’!! 1st: so many so called born agains willing to ignore their values to back Trump who is a fake Christian, then you have so much federal money pouring in to subsidize their farming community while complaining about ‘big government’, ya just gotta laugh at those republicans with their hands extended for the fed$$$$!!

monicaangela
Member

Very well said gyp46! 🙂

Kalima
Admin

And to think how the media disrespectfully ignored Bernie until recently, calling him an “outsider”. Shows how much they know. I’m sure there must be millions of proud Americans tonight.

—-

How Sanders caught fire in Iowa and turned the Clinton coronation into a real race

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-sanders-caught-fire-in-iowa-and-turned-the-clinton-coronation-into-a-real-race/2016/02/02/83b08d22-c79a-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html

monicaangela
Member

I am one of those proud Americans! This race helps restore my faith in the people of this nation. Even without the support of the MSM and mostly with negative press and negative coverage from most of the “so called liberal media,” Bernie has shown that the people of this country aren’t as ignorant as many of those who would try to dominate the political scene and influence the vote seem to think. 🙂

funksands
Member

8:09 pm

I think he’s got it.

funksands
Member

Or not. lol

funksands
Member

I agree about Cruz, mostly agree about Bernie. I really think Cruz is dead if he doesn’t win Iowa, Bernie is in a tough tough spot regardless of whether he wins Iowa or not. Bernie does not have a good lineup of states coming down the road early on. Massachusetts March 1 is his next best shot, with 9 other contests going to Hillary in the meantime.

(besides NH obviously)

KillgoreTrout
Member

Time will tell. I think Bernie could lose Iowa, and still be OK. Iowa is a very poor representation of the American voters at large. They’re mostly white farm owners and businessmen.

funksands
Member

KT, Bernie polls really well with white voters and is struggling with non-white voters.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Is that nation wide, or just in Iowa?

funksands
Member

KT, I think it is primarily party affiliation habit? They view her as the Democrat in the race? Name familiarity? Black voters especially supportive of the Clinton name and brand? Just educated guesses.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Thanks funk. It may have to do with the early Black Lives Matter angst against Bernie.

It may also have something to do with Bill Clinton being the first Black president. (Ha-Ha) Just a joke.

funksands
Member

Nationally hispanic and black voters prefer Hillary 2-1. It’s an issue.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Thanks funk. Why do you think that is?

monicaangela
Member

I believe you were at the meeting I just attended. 🙂 Some of your ideas are those expressed by many of us at that meeting. However, we do not believe Iowa will take the wind out of Bernie’s sails. As a matter of fact, we believe a loss in Iowa will cause his supporters to work even harder to shore up his chances for victories in the South.

I personally plan to work hard for Bernie, and have signed up for a trip to South Carolina with Nina Turner and her entourage in order to help get out the black vote for Bernie. Don’t throw your hat in yet on the democratic candidates, I don’t believe any of them will drop out after Iowa, not even Martin.

As for the republican candidates and Cruz needing this win, I kind of agree with you, but I don’t agree that many of those running in the republican primary will drop out after Iowa, you have to remember that for some, this has not been about winning the election, but actually more about winning a better economic situation for themselves.

If Trump wins Iowa, I believe he will go on to win many other states, however, I don’t believe he will do so as easily as some might think he will. You have to remember, he is running into states where he has insulted large numbers of the population, and I don’t believe he will get any sane AA or Latino votes in those states. I think we will get an indication of what his chances are with those groups when he gets to Nevada and South Carolina. I suppose this will all depend on voter turnout.

I would also say that Hillary Clinton needs to win Iowa just as much as Bernie does…maybe even more than Bernie does. 🙂

KillgoreTrout
Member

I agree. Iowa is really being over-hyped. That state is not even close to being a true representation of American voters at large. Mostly white, religious, farmers and business owners.

monicaangela
Member

Exactly.

Nirek
Member

Hillary has a BIG bag full of dirty tricks. I just read an article that said they have out of state people as precinct captains. Why would out of state people be allowed to caucus?

If the younger folks caucus Bernie will win.

monicaangela
Member

Those captains that are not registered democrats in Iowa, can be a precinct captain, but cannot vote. Even some that are too young to vote can be a precinct captain. They are there, but just as organizers I believe.

KillgoreTrout
Member

It’s really not all that dirty of a trick. It’s rather a regular practice.

KillgoreTrout
Member

I think Bernie could lose Iowa and still win New Hampshire. The demographics for those two states are vastly different. Levels of education are a great example of this. Plus, many New Hampshire voters resent Iowa for being the first primary state and won’t pay much attention to wins there.

I guess we’ll find out, soon enough.

monicaangela
Member

I’m glued to my iPhone, my computer and my TV. GO BERNIE!!!!!!

KillgoreTrout
Member

Absolutely! I don’t think we’ll know much until at least 8pm eastern time. Caucuses, instead of vote counting, and all that. 😉

Keep your lovely fingers crossed!