PHOENIX, Feb. 3, 2015 – At last, our long national nightmare, the Iowa caucuses, are finally over. After Iowans were cajoled, courted, coerced and pleaded with by presidential candidates and the media, the rest of the country can finally tell Iowa, “We’re just not that into you.”
We can now forget about Iowa for a few years.
And Iowans can go back to watching television without the incessant political ads. They will go back to seeing commercials for the normal stuff: feminine products, ambulance chasing attorneys and erectile dysfunction.
But, before we completely move on, let’s review.
The 2016 Iowa caucuses produced a record turnout of over 180,000 Republican voters and a smaller, but still noteworthy, number for the Democrats. While impressive, the numbers must be kept in perspective.
For example, more than 500,000 golf fans are expected to attend this week’s Phoenix Open. Yet neither Bubba Watson, nor Phil Mickelson is going to be our next president. Come to think of it, John Kasich or Jeb Bush won’t either, but I digress.
Although his rallies were very large and expectations were high, and despite, I think, his campaign handing out “Have you hugged you ethanol subsidies today?” bumper stickers, Donald Trump failed to finish first. Ted Cruz beat Trump out for first place. Trump finished second and Marco Rubio came in a strong third.
Jeb Bush outspent the other candidates in Iowa, spending just shy of $15 million. For that money, he garnered 5,165 votes, according to Townhall.com. That comes out to be almost $2,900 per vote. I think he overpaid.
I suspect there were plenty of Iowa Republicans who would have cast a vote for Bush in exchange for a new microwave and a one-year subscription to Netflix. Maybe instead of negative ads against Marco Rubio, Bush should have provided $1,000 farm subsidies that would have resulted in 15,000 votes.
He’ll really have to pony up in New Hampshire; I hear those voters have higher expectations.
Cruz did have an impressive showing, even though Trump had virtually wall-to-wall press coverage for months leading up to the actual voting in Iowa. Given this, it seems only natural that the press would finally turn its attention to…Rubio.
Only in the national media is finishing third more impressive than coming in first or even second. For getting the bronze medal in Iowa, Rubio has become the new darling of the media.
As the results were still being tallied, Mike Huckabee announced that he was suspending his campaign. This raises the question “Mike Huckabee had a campaign?”
I think it’s interesting that the Republican’s top of the ticket includes two sons of immigrants that click “other” and a business-man while the Democrats ticket are two over 70 (i.e., old) white, political insiders.
Speaking of old Democrats, Democrats had a real nail-biter. A 74-year-old socialist garnered 50 percent of the vote. Upon hearing that news, I believe Hillary Clinton shouted, “I am NOT 74!”
Um, Hillary, I think they were talking about Bernie Sanders.
It seems clear that Clinton’s strategy to plead with Iowa Democrats to vote for her before she gets indicted didn’t really play all that well.
In six precincts the winner between Clinton and Sanders had to be decided by a coin flip. Miraculously, Clinton won each time. I’m told the odds of that happening are about the same as hitting a hole-in-one and getting struck by lightning at the same time.
Clinton’s luck with coin flips is matched only by her remarkable, ahem, good fortune with cattle futures. (By the way, any bets on how many of those coins somehow found their way into Hillary’s purse at the end of the night?)
For Sanders’ part, he has gained a great following by promising the moon to everybody, while expecting Saturn and Venus to pay for it.
Coming in third, with less than 1 percent of the vote, was Martin O’Malley. Shortly afterwards, he suspended his campaign. Naturally, this raises the question: “Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee had campaigns?”
As the night wound down, most of the candidates addressed their supporters. We learned that Trump could be magnanimous, Cruz could be long-winded (it’s great that you can speak off-the-cuff, but enough already), Rubio was confident (for finishing third), Bush was able to thank each and every one of his voters individually, Clinton was as shrill as ever (though not yet in handcuffs), and Sanders remains a 74-year-old socialist.
On to New Hampshire – there’s only 10 more months of this.