Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Difference a Caucus Makes

You know, the best thing that happened in Iowa was Ted Cruz winning the caucus. First of all, that made Donald Trump a loser, because no one remembers second place (except we will, for the moment, just fondly look on Trump as "Number Two"). But besides that, it's a good story: a lot of people mention that Cruz's campaign simply had a better ground game--true. Donald Trump claimed that he never even heard of a "ground game". (So much to learn! Also about internal polling versus media polling. Also about knowing which things to blow off, which to take seriously.)

But the interesting thing is that part of Cruz's last-minute poll-defying support came at the expense of Ben Carson. Cruz campaign workers spread a message that Carson was likely to drop out, possibly spurring some Carson supporters to throw in with Cruz to avoid throwing their efforts away on a candidate who wasn't in it for the long haul. What's fascinating to me about this is that there was something a little odd about the claim the Carson was going to Florida to get "fresh clothes". (Is one to believe there is no dry cleaning to be had in Iowa?) And that campaign is, well, same as it ever was. But still, that sort of thing is just further evidence (some might suppose) of Ted Cruz's bottomless skullduggery.

The second best thing is that the results finally persuaded Huckabee, Santorum, and Rand Paul to just stop. Huckabee, instead of doing anything to raise his profile during the course of the campaign, really hit some distasteful notes, and Rand Paul certainly has reasons to concentrate on his Senate re-election campaign. Former PA senator Santorum, is typical bumbling fashion, not only dropped out but threw his endorsement to third place finisher Marco Rubio--for reasons he struggled to explain. (Let me help the gentleman from PA--he can't support the libertine Trump, and no one likes Cruz. But the truth of the matter is, the pretend-moderate character Rubio is just as huge a smarmy social conservative as Santorum. Twinsies!)

The third best thing is Rubio may well be getting a bump from a strong third-place showing in Iowa, and while I don't love Rubio, man, he sure does irritate me less than Cruz and Trump!

On the Democratic side, we bid farewell to Martin O'Malley, who for some reason just never took off. There doesn't even seem to be one specific thing about him that was objectionable. He just didn't take off. The finish between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was as good as a tie in my opinion. Meh. Social media is showing me that there are some people with deep "battle for the soul of the Democratic Party" feelings about the two-person contest. I'm not one of those people. I'm sort of a knee-jerk pragmatist: I'll take better over worse.

3 comments:

mikey said...

In a practical sense, I think you're wrong. It's pretty much a three horse race now - Trump, Cruz and Rubio. The candidate I'd LEAST like to face in the general is Rubio - he's the only one of the three who is even remotely electable. He's handsome, young and has the deep pockets support of the Republican party establishment. Especially if the Democrats manage to screw up badly and hand the nomination to self-identified socialist Bernie Sanders*, and imagine the economy slides into recession in Q3 and Q4 - you've got a Republican president with a Republican congress and an overwhelmingly conservative judiciary. The potential for utter catastrophe would be very, very high.

I'd very much prefer to see Trump pick up the Cruz voters and cruise to the nomination. He'd be hilarious, and he wouldn't have an ice cube's chance in hell of winning a national election.

* No matter the polling, I still think that Hillary's structural advantages in the primary, particularly with superdelegates and proportionally awarded delegates, will end up giving her the nomination. But this can no longer be considered a foregone conclusion...

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, the thing that distinguishes a man or a woman is their honor and their human decency. And it is a shame that those qualities are conspicuously absent in presidential politics.

I see Bernie as kind of the leftist counter to Ted Cruz. They're sort of opposite sides of the coin.

What would be a hoot is if Trump wound up competing with Bernie in the general election.

Both parties have strenuous objections to both candidates, even though the voice of the people seems to be with Bernie and Trump.

My understanding is that if an indictment comes along for Hillary it would probably hit in the middle of the general election. So Bloomberg and Biden are warming up in the wings and letting everyone know that they're ready to jump in.

Fine, except that popular support of voting Democrats seems to be with Bernie. It's one of the curses that occurred in the 60s when it became fashionable for college students to become obsessed by politics. So here you have the possibility of the Democratic Party trying to put a stop to their avowedly socialist candidate.

Republicans are beside themselves that Trump is so popular. The so-called Republican establishment in some cases has said they will vote for a Democrat rather than Trump (Bill Kristol, for one). This is the same group who insists that the populace is betraying Republicans if they do no hold their nose and vote for whoever the Republican is. Now they are doing everything possible to deep-six their own front runner.

The whole thing is a disgusting display. Frankly, the party system may have its best days behind it.

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, the thing that distinguishes a man or a woman is their honor and their human decency. And it is a shame that those qualities are conspicuously absent in presidential politics.

I see Bernie as kind of the leftist counter to Ted Cruz. They're sort of opposite sides of the coin.

What would be a hoot is if Trump wound up competing with Bernie in the general election.

Both parties have strenuous objections to both candidates, even though the voice of the people seems to be with Bernie and Trump.

My understanding is that if an indictment comes along for Hillary it would probably hit in the middle of the general election. So Bloomberg and Biden are warming up in the wings and letting everyone know that they're ready to jump in.

Fine, except that popular support of voting Democrats seems to be with Bernie. It's one of the curses that occurred in the 60s when it became fashionable for college students to become obsessed by politics. So here you have the possibility of the Democratic Party trying to put a stop to their avowedly socialist candidate.

Republicans are beside themselves that Trump is so popular. The so-called Republican establishment in some cases has said they will vote for a Democrat rather than Trump (Bill Kristol, for one). This is the same group who insists that the populace is betraying Republicans if they do no hold their nose and vote for whoever the Republican is. Now they are doing everything possible to deep-six their own front runner.

The whole thing is a disgusting display. Frankly, the party system may have its best days behind it.