Today as the Iowa Caucus begins and everyone’s personal life for the next few months on this site ends.
So…Why is Iowa’s Caucus So Special Anyway?
If the process of the Democratic caucus sounded dumb and incredibly unnecessary in that video, that’s because it is. Yet you tend to get basically the same results if you were to do a secret paper ballot, so to each their own I guess?
Also the Iowa Caucuses don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, but more on that in a bit.
Like It or Not, Trump Matters
In these 2016 primaries, Donald Trump has become a Cthulhu-like monster that continues to wreak havoc on the GOP’s once calm primary waters. His candidacy has essentially taken down the super-PAC gilded campaign of Jeb Bush and has pushed one-time fringe candidates like Ted Cruz onto the national spotlight. Many have even contemplated the prominence of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary is a direct backlash to Trump’s comments on the campaign trail. Regardless, it’s not hard to see Trump’s fingerprints all over these primaries.
The point was driven home last Thursday on the GOP debate stage when various candidates were shown former clips of themselves presenting moderate policy proposals to the press, yet for these primaries had moved decisively to the right. Whether it was Ted Cruz on immigration or Marco Rubio on climate change they have all taken far right stances on almost every issue. The reason for this is simple.
It’s because of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump – for better or worse – has caught the imagination of bloc within the GOP that has been ignored by Establishment Republicans for years. So in some ways, many of us should have seen this coming. Yet in the coming days as the caucuses start in various states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, we’re still not convinced Trump is going to be the nominee (just because people show up to your rallies and cheer, doesn’t mean they’ll caucus for you). Win or lose though, the run of Donald Trump has had a profound effect on the 2016 primaries. It didn’t matter if Trump wasn’t physically there on that debate stage last Thursday night, because in more ways than one, he most certainly was.
Straight Talk: Iowa is a Big Deal Because We Make It into One
We have been getting inundated with emails asking the question, does Iowa really matter as much as the media is saying it does?
In other words, it’s complicated.
To say the Iowa Caucus doesn’t matter wouldn’t be right. They do matter, but on a much more micro level than people think. Take Donald Trump’s campaign for example. There have been rumors for months that Trump’s “ground game” (ie the ability to get people to vote in caucuses) has been “laughably inferior” compared to his rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. While on the other hand, reports have Bernie Sanders creating an impressive “ground game”, so much so it’s making the Hillary Clinton camp nervous.
So right now, we don’t know if any of this is true. All of this is essentially hearsay. But what the results of the Iowa Caucus will reveal are these smaller truths. The caucus essentially acts as a litmus test for many campaigns and answers many questions that we may have. Questions like:
- When Martin O’Malley bows out of the Democratic primaries, where will his supporters go?
- Is Ted Cruz peaking in the right time or will he become an afterthought – much like Rick Santorum had become in 2012 – as we go deeper into the primaries?
- People aren’t seriously voting for Donald Trump as their Republican nominee, right?!
What the Iowa Caucus doesn’t do however, is tell you who’s winning their respective primaries. This is the start of a VERY LONG process. We won’t have legitimate idea till Super Tuesday (March 1st) comes around. For the casual follower of American politics, Iowa really doesn’t matter to them. For the political junkie however, it’s the first glimpses to a much larger question. So without further adieu…
TPT Predictions in Iowa:
The Republican Caucus:
1) Donald Trump
2) Ted Cruz
3) Marco Rubio
4) Ben Carson
5) Jeb Bush
6) Rand Paul
7) John Kasich
8) Chris Christie
The Democratic Caucus:
1) Hillary Clinton
2) Bernie Sanders
(Photo Credits: Google Images)