On the morning of February 12th, Andy Schmookler and I appeared on 550 AM, WSVA to discuss the political issues of the day. The biggest topic was the results of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary. However, we also discussed the aftermath of the impeachment and acquittal of President Trump.
Our next show should be taking place after the Virginia Primary in March.
Well, the Iowa Caucuses have come and gone and with it the battle for both the Republican and Democratic Party nominations for president are in full swing.
First, let’s focus on the more crowded field, the GOP. Here are the results of candidates who picked up at least one delegate:
Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates
Ted Cruz 51,666 28% 8
Donald Trump 45,427 24% 7
Marco Rubio 43,165 23% 7
Ben Carson 17,395 9% 3
Rand Paul 8,481 4% 1
Jeb Bush 5,238 3% 1
Going into the final days, it looked as if Iowa would be a contest between Cruz, Rubio, and Trump and that’s exactly what happened. Although Ted Cruz captured the most votes and delegates and thus is deemed the current front-runner, only one delegate separates the three candidates. Therefore, one could make the argument that all three of these candidates had a good night. Ben Carson, the once rising star with amazing amounts of cash was outclassed. Rand Paul’s campaign, who boasted of having a thousand precinct captains and having made a million phone calls finished with very disappointing numbers. Jeb, once the establishment favorite, has seemed to have lost a lot of steam. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the 2012 and 2008 winners of Iowa, were little more than a blip on the radar. And both you and I were only thirteen votes away from beating former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, and we weren’t even candidates and the ballot! As a result of Iowa, Mike Huckabee has ended his campaign.
Before the results were announced, I posted this message on Facebook. “However Iowa turns out tomorrow, I encourage you not to read too much into it. After all the GOP winner in 2012 was Rick Santorum and the 2008 winner was Mike Huckabee. As John Sununu said, ‘The people of Iowa pick corn, the people of New Hampshire pick presidents’.” In recent elections Iowa has typically gone for the Republican candidate with the best ground game who also most appeals to social conservatives. Therefore Cruz’s victory shouldn’t be all that surprising. Trump was likely buoyed by the endorsement of the head of Liberty University, but reports indicate that he didn’t have much of a presence in Iowa in terms of staff, phone calling, door knocking, and other traditional campaign apparatus. And Rubio is starting to solidify the Republican establishment base behind him after besting Bush and Kasich.
Interestingly, according to CNN, when it comes to education, Trump won a plurality of the least well educated, while Cruz did best with those with some college, and Rubio won with college graduates and postgraduates. The Paul results were terribly disappointing for many liberty folks. After all, in 2008 Ron Paul received 11841 votes in the Iowa Caucus or 9.93% and in 2012 Ron Paul received 26035 votes in the Iowa Caucus or 21.43%. Although there were more candidates in 2016 than either 2008 or 2012, the Rand Paul campaign gambled heavily in Iowa and fared poorly.
Switching over to the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were neck and neck with Martin O’Malley being little more than an afterthought.
Candidate Percentage Delegates
Hillary Clinton 50 26
Bernie Sanders 50 21
Martin O’Malley 0 0
Both Clinton and Sanders finished with about 50% of the vote. However, Clinton received 26 delegates and Sanders got 21 due to a series of six coin flips as a result of ties at several polling places, all of which Clinton won. As a result of Iowa, O’Malley has ended his campaign.
Again, according to CNN, Sanders was very popular among the younger voters and the poorer voters, while Clinton shined with the older and richer crowds. Curiously while Clinton won the married vote, Sanders picked up the singles, divorced, and widowed. While Cruz and Clinton fared the best among people who had previously attended a caucus, Sanders and Trump did the best with first time voters.
Although Iowa is an early and important contest, it primarily serves to winnow the field as it has done eliminating Huckabee and O’Malley. It’s far too early to declare either Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton the nominee of their respective parties. It should be interesting to see what New Hampshire brings next.