Perspective on last night’s Iowa Caucuses:
1. Cruz has successfully won the Republican side–with such other illustrious former nominees like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee.
Wait! Neither of those guys went on to be the nominee! Instead it was Romney (came in 2nd in 2012) and McCain (came in 4th in 2008) who did. What this says is that on the Republican side, Iowa is not representative for the Republicans for who can win the entire process–it favors religious conservatives too strongly. Now perhaps this has finally shifted as the Republicans as a whole have become far more conservative–but Cruz’s win doesn’t actually bode that well for him.
Trump and esp. Rubio are the ones to watch. Now–if Rubio does well in New Hampshire–he’ll become the establishment candidate–and pick up some support (but not that much–it’s like 10% total divided amongst all the establishment candidates). If he doesn’t come in at least 3rd, however, he loses this momentum and it looks again like Trump will take it.
Trump just has to not fold in New Hampshire–and he’ll again be the odds on favorite.
2. On the Democratic side, interestingly, the person who has won in Iowa has gone on to be the nominee the last two times. Kerry upset Dean and Obama upset Clinton. Iowa is a better bellwether state for the Democrats. There are progressives there–but also mainstream and even somewhat conservative democrats.
And what did we see? Well–Clinton appears to have won 49.8 to 49.5 .. by .3%. This is essentially a tie.
With this–she’ll get 23 delegates while Bernie gets 21. However–in context, the Clinton camp must be worried. A year ago, polls had Clinton leading Sanders 60% to 6%. Six months ago, it was 51% to 25%. 3 months ago 51% to 34%. At the start of the year, 47 to 42%, and yesterday it was still 47 to 44%.
Her vast dominance in name recognition and apparent coronation has disappeared from a 54% lead down to a .3% win in the space of a year. She–the former first lady, senator of New York, and secretary of state with the best name recognition of any politician in the country–has barely squeaked by with a win in a farm state over a strongly left-wing social democratic Jew from Brooklyn(not even a solid party member, but a lefty independent) whose history is of being the mayor of Burlington (a city of 42,000 people), then an independent Rep from Vermont (a state of less than a million people), and then finally senator from the same.
Given this–do not talk to me about “electability” arguments. Iowa is a good testing ground for electability for Democrats–and Clinton appears to be barely able to beat someone who calls himself a socialist in public and who many people describe as a radical. Furthermore–Clinton is actually from the midwest–she grew up in a suburb in Chicago–Park Ridge–not far from where I grew up–which should provide you with a better sense of the culture & values of the midwest than a New York Jew.(This is not saying that New York Jews don’t have values and culture–not at all–they have a great culture and values–but it is different than that of the midwest…).
And yet–after all of your money and name recognition–you are barely holding on, Hillary.
What does this tell you, Hillary? Perhaps that if you think you can win by just being the “default” candidate, you will fail.
That is not leadership. Leadership is about vision–it’s about staking out actual positions that people may not agree with and then working to persuade them. You claim to have great persuasive powers having worked in the senate–but you don’t seem to think that you have to use them with the voters who will elect you. That we all will just trust you.
But many of us don’t. You are too close to the people who have regularly crashed the economy and stolen our wealth (to protect their own) and who think of us as peasants. Yes–you have a pretty decent record on reproductive rights and women’s issues–but you did not lead when it came to LGBT at all–and while your history on racial issues is not bad–it’s not any better than Bernie’s. In fact–in all of the issues that you tout as your strengths–Bernie agrees with you (exception being guns–where he’s actually more aligned with what the average American thinks…). But when it comes to inequality and taking on the Oligarchy–you are incredibly silent. You don’t lead–you look flustered and just a bit sheepish.
This must change if you want to win. You will have to steal Bernie’s thunder rather than claiming that thunder is bad.
And yes–this turned into a rant–but it’s an important one.. because this is an important data point for this election. It’s just one–more will follow–but it’s a big one.