Ted Cruz gives his victory speech after Iowa Caucuses.
Ted Cruz gives his victory speech after Iowa Caucuses.

I wanted to collect my thoughts now that the 2016 Iowa Caucus is in the can on the Republican side who were the winners and losers?

Winners:

  1. Ted Cruz – He overcame negative media attention, negative ads, attacks and a narrative that said he couldn’t win. He earned this win. He built a great campaign with tremendous organization.  Cruz also set a record for the most votes received with (unofficially) 51,649 votes.
  2. Marco Rubio – Rubio exceeded expectations and had a strong third finish that will keep him competitive going into New Hampshire.
  3. Republicans for setting a new turnout record. Unofficially the number is at 186,795. I said I’d be shocked if we surpassed 150,000. Color me shocked.
  4. Conservatism – Cruz won, but also it can be argued that of all of the candidates to win the “establishment” lane Rubio is the most conservative.
  5. Iowa Republicans – They are the winner because 75.7% of Iowa Republicans rejected Donald Trump. We should be proud that we stopped him in our state.

Losers:

  1. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad – It should send a message to the Governor that the one candidate he said Iowa should defeat ended up winning, but winning with 51,649 votes. Those are 51,649 rebukes. Also the two candidates he praised – Chris Christie and Jeb Bush combined had 8,513 votes.
  2. Donald Trump – Trump’s image as a winner has been tarnished, he no longer seems invincible. Iowans rejected his style of politics and apparently missing that last Fox News debate was a bad idea after all.
  3. Jeb Bush – How many millions spent and he just won 2.8% of the vote?
  4. The ethanol lobby – when the only candidate you target wins the Iowa Caucus with a record number of votes that pretty much means you are irrelevant.
  5. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum – Their supporters were the only ones who thought they were going to surge. I like both men, but I was disappointed in the direction their campaigns turned. Whether they’ll admit it or not they hurt their campaigns appearing with Donald Trump. Sure it was a good cause, but the optics looked bad. Also the negative campaigning and attacks launched on Ted Cruz backfired. All that did was hurt Cruz, but it did not help them. Huckabee has suspended his campaign. I suspect Rick Santorum will soon as well even though his campaign said he’s headed to South Carolina.
  6. John Kasich and Jim Gilmore – Both proved that not campaign in Iowa is a guaranteed way to be embarrassed on Caucus night. Gilmore only received 12 votes!
  7. Pollsters, in particular the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll, I think we can safely say that they are no longer the gold standard. In general pollsters showed that if they don’t have their methodology right they are not going to have the right results.
  8. Mainstream media who are currently focusing on Rubio who came in third because he exceeded expectations instead of Cruz who actually won the Caucus who also exceeded expectations.
5 comments
  1. The Big winner of course was Conservatism! I don’t mind if Republicans vote for Trump, I just tire of hearing him described as a conservative. Is New Hampshire a must win for the Trump campaign to remain relevant?

    1. I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s a must win, but it will look bad for his campaign if he loses there as well. His whole campaign is built on the mantra that “he knows how to win.”

  2. Shane, I completely agree that Iowa Republicans are winners for rejecting Donald Trump. If there is one reason that Iowa should maintain its first in the nation status, it is for stopping Trump. I also agree that Cruz was a winner, but that shouldn’t be as much of a surprise–he and Trump were neck and neck at the end and, given the success of the evangelical wing in past caucuses, Cruz’s win shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The attention Rubio is getting is well-deserved. He outperformed his poll numbers by almonst 10 percentage points, and he below his establishment competition–Bush, Christie, Kasich and (to a lesser extent) Fiorina–out of the water. Cruz, by contrast, outperformed his poll numbers by only 5 percentage points.

  3. Iowans are the losers for not supporting Trump! We actually have a successful business man who wants a chance at running this country! He is pro immigration reform, pro military, pro veterans and we send select another politician, boy we are stupid!!!

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