Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Iowa Caucus Recap...Winners and Losers....
Ted Cruz - Cruz jumped out to an early lead and never looked back Tuesday evening. His superior ground game, attention to detail and resilience in the face of a "Trump attack," proved formidable. The impact of this victory remains to be seen going forward, but we know where it's not. (i.e. delegates...) Mr. Cruz walks away with eight delegates toward the GOP nomination, while Messrs. Trump & Rubio each walk away with seven. The real benefit is momentum as New Hampshire comes next on the primary schedule. Cruz won't win New Hampshire as its considered "home field" for Trump, but a top three showing will position him as a serious and stable candidate built for a long, long run as the primary path then heads south to South Carolina, Nevada and the SEC states. Underestimate him at your own peril.
Donald Trump - While he didn't win, this political novice came in second place and likely learned some lessons along the way that will serve him well. Reports that campaign events were understaffed and a disorganised ground game have been surfaced in various media outlets. Trump's chances of winning in Iowa was never great and his ham-handed attempt to connect with evangelicals fell short. Trump also gave the best speech of any I heard last night. Humble, down to earth, less bombast was just the right tone to leave Iowa and head "home" to the Northeast and the New Hampshire primary, where the billionaire will almost certainly celebrate his first primary victory.
Marco Rubio - Rubio sort of snuck up on everyone and finished just behind Trump. While he deserves credit for his performance, his victory speech was a little over-amped for my liking. Someone should have reminded him he came in a strong third in the Iowa Caucus, and that he didn't just win the Presidency. New Hampshire won't be as kind to Rubio and what happens after that is hard to see at this time.
Bernie Sanders - Just a few months ago, Sanders was 30+ points down to the Hillary Clinton "mega-machine" in Iowa. To virtually tie HRC in Iowa is a fantastic start to the Sanders primary performance. He now heads to New Hampshire, where he will almost surely win and win by a large margin. Sanders will have big-time momentum heading into Nevada and South Carolina. Conventional wisdom (for what it's worth) says Sanders then runs into a brick wall as Clinton finds more friendly states coming up on the primary schedule. Not sure how long the "Burn" will last, but it will certainly be interesting to watch.
Hillary Clinton - The presumptive Democratic nominee, for all her name recognition, her cash, her endorsements and her massive organization, couldn't shake off the upstart Bernie Sanders campaign. Yes, she is the technical winner but walks away with one... ONE... more delegate than Sanders does. Long term, she still profiles as the heavy favorite to be the Democratic Nominee, but questions abound in Clinton world. She'll lose in New Hampshire and despite how bright the road after that looks going forward, what effect will the predictable Sanders adoration have in the coming days? Stay tuned.
Ben Carson - It wasn't that long ago when neurosurgeon Ben Carson was the front runner in Iowa. With that positon however comes scrutiny and the good doctor simply hasn't held up well with the attention. The more we've got to know Carson, the less and less he appears to be a remotely serious candidate. Massive staff defections, replacements and bewilderingly snoozy debate performances, here's hoping Ben Carson, while heading to Florida to "change his clothes" reconsiders this hopeless pathetic effort and suspends his campaign and doesn't set foot in New Hampshire. It's time to write another book, Mr. Carson.