The one thing that I want to learn from Iowa is …

ap-iowa-caucus-2008-crop

Eighty percent of life is just showing up, as Woody Allen puts it.

Well, not in politics. In politics, showing up is everything. If you don’t show up to vote, you do not exist. And in Iowa, we’re going to learn whether the Trump voter exists in the numbers suggested by the polls, or whether they are illusory. That’s the main thing I want to know from the Iowa caucuses. Is this real, or a nightmare?¹

Armed with that information, we could then make a series of assessments:

If Trump voters do show up in numbers large enough to give him the victory, then they’ll likely show up in New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina as well, and the obstacles to a Trump nomination shrink considerably. He may very well run the table.

If they show up, but not in numbers large enough to keep Ted Cruz out of the top spot, then the race is still very much up in the air.

If they show up, but Trump, Cruz and Rubio all finish within five or six percentage points of each other,  then Rubio is the winner of the night. Even if he finishes a close third, such a performance would give credence to Rubio’s claim that he is the logical standard bearer for the GOP mainstream, a claim that he can then cement in New Hampshire a week later. (If I had to bet — which I don’t — that’s the outcome I’d bet upon.)

Writing in National Journal, the well-respected analyst Charlie Cook puts it this way:

“At this point, my gut sug­gests that by the time we get deep in­to the pro­cess (come March), Trump will ap­pear to have the sup­port of the pop­u­list, less ideo­lo­gic­al third of the GOP, roughly where he is now; Cruz will have con­sol­id­ated con­ser­vat­ives and roughly one third of the party; a con­ven­tion­al can­did­ate (Bush, Christie, Kasich, or Ru­bio) will be pulling about a quarter, with the re­main­ing fifth up in the air. That spells a con­tested con­ven­tion.”

——–

¹On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders may well win the Iowa caucus, setting him up for a win in New Hampshire as well. But as much as that would excite Sanders’ voters, I don’t think it would change the basic trajectory of the race. Iowa and New Hampshire are prime Sanders territory. Democrats in those states are overwhelmingly white, and Sanders runs best among white Democrats. The latest CNN poll, for example, gives him 42 percent of white Democrats nationwide, compared to 45 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Among non-white Democrats, Clinton has a 24-point advantage.

See you here later tonight.

UPDATE at 10:05: Well, it looks as though I would have won that bet on the GOP side, with the top three finishers all within a handful of percentage points. The Trump voters did turn out, but at lower levels than the polls predicted, and the night will be remembered as a big win for third-place finisher Rubio.

That may sound odd — hooray for finishing third!! — but Rubio now has a real argument that the Bush/Christie/Paul/Fiorina contingent, who together couldn’t crack double-digits, ought to fold up the tents and rally behind him. That’s the message that he’ll take to the funders and the voters in New Hampshire.

Reader Comments 0

703 comments
Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

I really think the south can't vote for a Cuban, short and simple //

Uh, can the poor benighted fools vote for an atheist Brooklyn Jew? 

Where does this boundless contempt for the people in the region you live in come from?

Peachs
Peachs

@Donnie_Pinko this guy is every thing he rails about keeping out of this country, and says Jesus to spike his polls, and if he turns out to be gay that is just a cherry on top of a typical Republican who is never who they say they are. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Peachs @Donnie_Pinko

Still perpetuating, Peachs?

Unbelievable!

Don't call yourself a champion of gay rights when you're using it as a club with which to beat Rubio.

Gays are nothing more than useful tools to you and those like you. You're the kind of heterosexual I can't tolerate.

breckenridge
breckenridge

 "I'm suspending my campaign due to illness - the voters are sick of me."  Mike Huckabee, 2-1-2016


LOL! Good one Huckster.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Being Tuesday, ticket prices are real good for a flight up to see President Clinton's inauguration.  FYI.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Well the usual suspects can't explain the strong Sanders showing in Iowa by going with thei black-people-want-free-stuff talking point.  There aren't any black people in Iowa.  Oh there are some, maybe 14 or even as many as 22. 

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

I really think the south can't vote for a Cuban, short and simple / 

Huhh? 


Actually makes a lot of sense as I bet you a case of diet Pepsi that the Atlanta headquartered Coke would also never have a Cuban CEO.  Forgive and have mercy on the peach as that is how racists roll-

Peachs
Peachs

@Cupofjoe Roberto C. Goizueta was a movie star straight out of the 40s, if only Rubio had a tenth of  that, Goizueta was class and no accent.  

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Did you see it?

What?

The finger.

Where?

Iowa

To who?

The Republican Establishment.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@JohnnyReb

Yeah, you people are really fond of sticking your fingers up your own derrieres.

Gmare
Gmare

IT problems this morning? I just had to sign in for the 2nd time & it's not even 9:00!

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I really wanted Cruz to lose. I bet he is unbearable after this victory. I still think he would be a great nominee as he has no chance in the general but I really wanted him to be knocked down a peg last night.

Peachs
Peachs

@JeffreyEav Iowa was 90% white and hugely religious more like the south.  We will carry Cruz to the convention, in the SEC primaries, and then he loses to whoever the Democrats run.  I really think the south can't vote for a Cuban, short and simple, they will forgive Cruz because he is so much like them, but not Rubio who still has the accent. It is almost a joke to have a guy running, who is anti immigration and who is here by that grace, and who is Catholic and getting the evangelist vote. Any port in a storm.  

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky @JeffreyEav a little of that New York type comment he threw at Trump will come back on him.  Trump is good at making you eat words.  But Cruz is good at pretending he never say stuff. 

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

New York Daily News blasts Trump: 'Dead Clown Walking'

Peachs
Peachs

@OldEngineer wish but Iowa has put a lot of hope in lost causes, the Obama win throws us off a little but more duds than Obamas have come out of Iowa. 

Peachs
Peachs

@SFM_Scootter @OldEngineer I think this makes Trump more dangerous and he is more in his element in NH.  This voting is too weird and Trump was not the genius the press blew him up to be missing the debate. I didn't realize what these people have to go through to get to vote and this little man couldn't even show up for a debate, beginning to make sense why he lost. Wonder if any of these polls are real?

rimsky
rimsky

Even our furry rodents North or South predicting early spring.  Global warming here we come.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Hillary wins Iowa - 29 delegates (Clinton) to 21 delegates (Sanders)

Peachs
Peachs

@MaryElizabethSings she is bleeding, and Sanders may hurt the party's chances being a self proclaimed Socialist, though I am not sure the young people understand that to be a negative. 

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

2008 GOP Iowa winner = Huckaby
2012 GOP Iowa winner = Santorum

steveatl
steveatl

I'll be honest, though. Which is worse, the American media or our politicians? It's only Feb 2nd and I'm sick of all of it already.

Peachs
Peachs

@OldEngineer @steveatl watched CNN till I had a headache with the screaming Wolf and switched over to CNBC and Williams. CNN would have breaking news and it would be exactly what the breaking news was an hour ago. Williams looked a little deflated but so much more professional than the fire department at CNN.