Whoa, Ted Cruz. Is there any here here? I guess it means Trump can't run the tables, which if you want chaos in the GOP nomination battle, is a pretty good outcome.
Obviously a big win for him, but it only buys him time. Of the last six
contested races in Iowa, the winner failed to go on and win the
nomination four times. Very often for Republicans, the voters line up
well for a particular kind of candidate--a candidate who is not received
as well elsewhere.
Trump. A bump in the road, really. I imagine
the media will go crazy the next week talking about how he face-planted
and this "raises serious doubts" about his ability to win the nom.
Nonsense. He is the opposite of the kind of candidate who normally does
well here. (Giuliani, a one-time front-runner from NYC, blew off Iowa
entirely.) He literally mocked Iowans and still finished second. If he
wins handily in NH, those will be quickly-forgotten one-week stories.
A pretty strong showing, but one tempered by the Cruz win. If Trump had
beaten Cruz and Rubio finished this strongly, he might actually have
emerged as the "winner." Iowa's delegates are irrelevant--Iowa's all
about setting expectations. Rubio way out-performed the polls (23%), and
if Cruz had tanked, he would have emerged as the plausible anti-Trump.
Now he remains the third wheel. NH will be a very big test for him. He
needs a second place finish. If Kasich or Christie sneak in front of
him, it will be very, very bad for his campaign.
The upshot is
that Trump is still the man to beat, performing respectably in a state
he had no business contesting seriously. I think Cruz is too unlikable
to be viable long-term, but his strong performance here may knock out
Rubio, which will give Trump the nomination. Hard to see this changes
the underlying dynamics much.
Dems. Bernie characterized the race, accurately, as a "virtual tie."
How does that affect things? I doubt there will be a lot of argument
here (except, of course, from Bernie partisans): a tie is a win for
Hillary. Bernie had the Red Sox primary locked up months ago and it will
give his campaign a good week. But it doesn't change the basic calculus
of the race, which hugely favors Hillary. For these reasons:
Iowa and NH are the 2nd and 6th whitest states in the US, and Bernie
does best with whites. The next two states as S Carolina and Nevada,
with huge nonwhite electorates. "Super Tuesday" follows, with several
southern states. Exiting that date (March 1), Hillary will have a big
2. Bernie has had months to speak directly
to voters in NH and Iowa. This always benefits strong dark horse
candidates. Following NH on Feb 9, there will be 14 contests and 1109
delegates at stake (NH and Iowa had 84). It's going to be impossible to
spend the same level of time with voters in these states, so name
recognition and familiarity will be an asset for Hillary.
Hillary has party support and will have many popular local pols on the
trail for her in the 16 states following NH. Bernie will be on his own.
It doesn't seem like Bernie has a ton of good paths to victory here.