Special Report 2/2/16 - Review of Iowa Caucuses
|Editor: Screenshot: Final GOP Vote Iowa Caucus|
Unlike some other winners in recent years, including Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, Cruz has ample cash on hand and a credible national campaign operation to capitalize on this victory.
The Cruz victory is even more impressive given that for the last three weeks Cruz has been the target of withering attacks from all sides. Trump hit Cruz repeatedly with ludicrous attacks on his citizenship. The party establishment, from the governor of Iowa to Bob Dole, did its best to smear him. In the last debate, which Trump skipped, every other candidate saw their chance to eviscerate Cruz, hoping to knock him out of contention. None of it worked.
How did Cruz defy expectations? According to the exit polls, there was a surge of evangelical voters. In 2012, evangelical voters made up 57% of Iowa GOP caucus-goers. Last night, they accounted for 64% of Republican caucus-goers, and Cruz won them by 12 points.
Trump Scores Strong Second - If anybody had said one year ago that Donald Trump would finish second in Iowa, they would have been laughed out of the room. But that is what happened last night. Ironically, it is seen as underperforming by the guy who built his whole campaign on being a winner. (In fact, Trump almost finished third.)
The last two weeks have been very good for Donald Trump. He picked up endorsements from Sarah Palin to Jerry Falwell, Jr. He had massive rallies in Iowa. But at the end of the day, his ground game couldn't compete with the Cruz campaign.
I couldn't help but notice last night that when Trump came out to make his post-election statement, he did not do what many people expected. He did not attack the voters of Iowa or launch into a rant. He was much more astute and avoided a "Howard Dean moment."
Before last night Trump was leading the polls in virtually every state in the country, and often by large margins. In the most recent New Hampshire poll, for example, Trump leads by 26 points. The polling over the next couple of days will say a lot about whether the Iowa defeat has hurt him nationally or not.
Rubio Impresses - I predicted that Marco Rubio would come in third, but I underestimated how strongly he would run, finishing just behind Donald Trump at 23%. As the saying goes about presidential primary contests, "There are three plane tickets out of Iowa," and Rubio claimed one of those tickets.
Rubio's campaign is understandably trying to portray his very close third-place finish as a victory. While Rubio did not win the caucuses, there is no doubt that his showing is impressive.
Rubio clearly had a surge in the last couple of weeks, and he may have crushed the remaining hopes of Jeb Bush and the more credible hopes of Governors Christie and Kasich, all of whom are hoping to emerge as the establishment candidate. While Rubio has some establishment support, he also received his share of values voters.
Look for Rubio's campaign and supporters to emphasize how well he did with younger voters, which the party must attract in November. Also look for Senator Rubio to come under fire from Trump, as well as Bush, Christie and Kasich.
Like the proverbial groundhog, Iowa voters have just guaranteed that we will have several more weeks of a bruising campaign season with some very strong candidates.
Results On Rest Of The Field:
Sen. Rand Paul 4%
Gov. Jeb Bush 3%
Carly Fiorina 2%
Gov. John Kasich 2%
Gov. Mike Huckabee 2%
Gov. Chris Christie 2%
Sen. Rick Santorum 1%
I am proud of my endorsement of Senator Ted Cruz. As I have told you before, I will promote him but I will not attack the other candidates. In the final analysis, I hope to not only celebrate his nomination but bring our party together so we can defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders and get our country back on the right track!
|Editor: Screenshot: Final DEM Vote Iowa Caucus|
Here's some good news: The bad blood between the Sanders and Clinton camps is growing by the minute. Insiders say that Sanders and his wife, as well as top campaign officials, were furious that Hillary Clinton was giving a victory speech when the results were unclear. At one point the crowd at Sanders headquarters started chanting, "She's a liar! She's a liar."
Sanders is demanding the raw vote totals be released, which the party establishment is unlikely to do since it is all in for Hillary. Among young, college-age leftists who swarmed the caucuses, exit polls revealed that they broke 80/20 for Sanders. In short, the wounds opening up here may not be easy for Democrats to heal.
Hillary Clinton may be claiming victory, but her weak showing has many Democrats wondering whether she's got what it takes to hold the White House in November. While Republicans are on fire, the energy in the Democrat Party appears to be with Bernie Sanders.
On to New Hampshire!
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families
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