Iowhynot? – Caucuses Reax – Open Thread and Twitter-List – Updated

CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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144 Responses

  1. aaron david says:

    Shouldn’t it be cauci? For the plural.Report

  2. greginak says:

    With 0% of precincts reporting Bush and Clinton are leading. This is a significant development that demands heavy graphics, exit polls and on the ground interviews.Report

  3. Kolohe says:


    • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

      You know, I think that had Romney waited until 2016…

      Ah, well.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        It’s not too late*!!!! Romney Trump 2016!!!

        *It is too late.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to North says:

          We are, though, closer to the possibility of a brokered convention than it’s ever been in our lifetimes. If Trump, Cruz, and Rubio continue to fight pitched battles, with the rest of the field getting the remaining 10 to 15 percent of the vote in each contest, nobody’s going to close to the delegate count one normally has to make the convention pro forma.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

          Rubio at 20%+

          Oh dear, someone get to North’s house and remove all the sharp objects and liquor.Report

          • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

            Yeah I’m pretty glum about it. Trump lost Iowa and Rubio did well. I expected Trump to loose and Rubio to do okay but I had still hoped. This reinforces my initial instincts that Rubio is going to be the eventual nominee.Report

            • Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

              Is there some reason you particularly dislike Rubio, even relative to other Republicans, or is it that you think he’s the biggest threat to a Democrat in the general election?Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                I’ll jump in because I don’t think we disagree:
                (1) Rubio has the best chance of beating either Democrat in the general.
                (2) There is almost nothing distinguishing Rubio from Cruz in actual potential policies they’d champion.
                (3) Everybody hates Cruz already. Nobody hates Rubio yet.

                So yeah, he’s a perfect storm of dread.Report

              • North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                El Muneco is basically correct. Rubio is by far the largest threat in the general (arguably the only serious one) and Rubio is extremely conservative and I despise his purported policies.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to North says:

                I think Rubio is packaged similarly to Clinton, so that may be a repulsion on that side.

                Cruz may be jerkish, but he has anti-fed cred for shuttin’ down the precious.

                If those two considerations carry enough weight Rubio will lag.Report

              • Autolukos in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Cruz’s core problem is that ~90% of people who have met him seem to hate his guts. This isn’t necessarily a problem with voters, who don’t spend that much time around candidates even in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, but endorsers and major fundraisers are another matter.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Autolukos says:

                In the end I don’t know if ‘gut hate’ in those circles plays a net positive or negative to voters.Report

              • Kim in reply to Autolukos says:

                The same could be said of Mitt Romney.
                Why do the Republicans keep choosing downright incompetents at the art of politicking?

                Nixon — he was the exact opposite… and he worked really hard to make it so (not a natural at much of anything, let alone kissing babies).Report

              • North in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Yes but as the other establishment candidates wither the establishment will unit behind Rubio. Christie and Kasich will run out of money. This Iowa result suggests Rubio will do well in New Hampshire and if he does that’ll cut them off at the ankles. Bush has the dough to endure but if it’s just him and Rubio in the race at some point the party elders will sit Bush down and tell him it’s not happening.

                Cruz has chops and oomph, sure, but I doubt he can win with the whole establishment united behind Rubio. Especially if they keep propping up Trump and hammering Cruz like they have to split the insurgent vote.

                Look I -want- Rubio to not be the nominee very much but my pessimism and sense of reality tells me this won’t be an easy election as much as I’d love it to be one.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to North says:

                The establishment forming behind Rubio may just form a backlash. That and he hasn’t really done much to ping the radar.

                I would hope there is no inclination to have another Bush in office, it’s crazy he’s done as well as he has.Report

              • North in reply to Joe Sal says:

                You and hope and I can pray but I don’t think so.Report

  4. Michelle says:

    Ugh! I can’t believe that douchelord Cruz might win this thing.Report

  5. Autolukos says:

    Apparently the window for making Wire references to the Democratic field has closed. I’ve officially lost interest in that party’s primaries.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    Okay, trying this again:

    Here’s what strikes me as odd.

    A few weeks back, Trump seemed to signal that he knew he wasn’t going to win Iowa. Well, less of a signal. More of a “neg”.

    “You guys haven’t picked a winner in a long time, I hate to remind you,” Trump said. “This is the only place where it’s close. Come on, Iowa, will you get with it, please?”

    That’s something that he could have run with. “I knew I wasn’t going to win Iowa. Now watch what happens in New Hampshire! You aren’t going to even begin to believe South Carolina!”Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    Also! The numbers I am seeing tell me that while Hillary may have gotten more votes, Bernie got more delegates.

    This gives Bernie ground to declare victory.

    Ain’t that some stuff?Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      It’s not even remotely enough. There’ll be no unease in the Democratic establishment over a result Bernie can spin as a win if you tilt your head and squint enough. Iowa is one of his demographically privileged states; if his best is an arguable win he’s not going to even scratch the paint in most of the country.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North says:

        This was supposed to be a coronation.

        One of Hillary’s delegates? She won due to a coin flip.

        (But the numbers have updated and Clinton is ahead again.)


        President Nixon says it better than I:

        A .003 percent lead with a cabinet post and the full backing of the Democratic National Committee is an abomination.— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) February 2, 2016 Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          I weep not a single tear for lost coronations. Hillary does best when she’s harried; I hope Bernie keeps her on her toes up to the convention even if I doubt he will be able to.Report

          • Kim in reply to North says:

            Hillary wanted a horserace this time. She learned from the last time, when the Dems got oodles of free press and a ton of happier voters.

            Sanders is practically the ideal candidate for Hillary to test herself against… and that’s probably why he’s running too.

            I called this kabuki from the start.Report

            • North in reply to Kim says:

              I don’t believe in that kind of conspiracy thing. Bernie is for real. He is also, however, likely a very good phenomena and certainly an excellent fellow to race against- I like Bernie.Report

              • Kim in reply to North says:

                Oh, I don’t really think Hillary and Bernie are conspiring together… I think this is rather more a marrying of different disparate interest groups, guided primarily by Hillary’s “friends in the party.”

                Give Bernie a bit of encouragement, discourage Warren (by far a tougher candidate for Hillary to beat), push out Russ Feingold… small moves, deft moves, and clever to boot.

                I do think that Bernie knows he can’t win, and went into this knowing that, and has a bit of an ideological mission. Which is fine, it lets Hillary run left, at least for a little while.Report

              • North in reply to Kim says:

                On your last paragraph, at least, I think you’re more right than not.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            Perhaps so.

            I’ve seen a number of people out there, however, who have been spinning this tie as a definitive victory for Hillary.

            As an argument that Hillary was inevitable and remains inevitable, that’s one thing. As an argument that Hillary will win in the general…Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

              I would liken it to a Sanders touchdown that took too much time off the clock, but in a game that was hopeless anyway. They needed a quick 90-yard pass, but they grinded it out and got the 7. They’re happy about it, but the outcome of the game is in less doubt than it was before the drive because they needed a miracle.

              All of that being said, with all things considered, whose campaign HQ would you rather have been at last night? Hillary’s or Bernie’s? There’s really no question. In a very real sense, Bernie won no matter what the final count reads.Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              Anyone who’s trying to claim that Uncle Bernie is a stronger shot in the general needs to show their work- a lot. And I say this as a person who likes Bernie plenty but god(ess?) damn it the Democrats (and I’d argue the country) badly need to win the Presidency for at least four more years just to roadblock on things like the ACA and Iran until the those policies bear fruit and/or the GOP pulls their collective heads out of their asses on the subjects and actually starts talking like sane people again.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to North says:

                The polls are currently showing Bernie doing better than Hillary in most of the head-to-head matchups. Those aren’t the best polls, but they’re the only evidence anyone has got regarding the relative strength of the two candidates.

                – Clinton-Trump is 44-41, whereas Sanders-Trump is 47-41

                – Clinton-Cruz is 45-47, whereas Sanders-Cruz is 45-42

                – Clinton-Rubio is 44-47, whereas Sanders-Rubio is 43-44

                So Clinton is +3, -2, and -3 against the Republican candidates, while Sanders is +6, +3, and -1.

                Considering that this election involves a lot of voters who are motivated by anger at the “establishment”, it makes some sense that Sanders would be doing better in head-to-heads.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        Well this is impressive spin.Report

        • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Make your case, Saul me lad, that Bernie’s gonna win; I’m open minded.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


            Sanders made a very impressive turnout for a 70 plus guy who just recently joined the Democratic Party. Clinton’s victory was not even close to a margin of error and according to Vox decided by a coin-toss three times. This gives Sanders room to close his gaps among minority voters and he has a plenty big war chest to do so. This is all with the DNC doing everything they can to give HRC the smoothest sail possible.Report

            • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Yes yes and good for Uncle Bernie but there’s still no path to victory here. Lot’s of time to make up his gap with minority and moderate voters? He’s had months and months to do so and hasn’t managed it so far. It’s not like closing the gap with moderates would hurt him with his current base would it? Look even Slate knows the score:
              He’ll still be able to rebound next week in New Hampshire, but even a blowout win there will leave him still searching for a path to the nomination that runs through less friendly Southern terrain.Report

            • Which suggests that the same non-interventionist foreign policy and economic populism that Trump has played on the right plays just as strongly on the left. I knew it existed, I just didn’t think it would be this pronounced. The establishments in both parties, OTOH, I think they didn’t even suspect that it existed.Report

              • North in reply to Michael Cain says:

                That’s certainly a good point and I hope to hell that HRC pays some fishing attention and tacks more dovish on FP. That alone would make a Bernie run worth its weight in gold.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to North says:

                Nobody cares about foreign policy and nobody votes on foreign policy unless Americans are dying overseas.Report

              • North in reply to Kolohe says:

                Generally correct, my hope for her to tack dovish is mainly principled: I think it’s better policy than her current positions; and politically I don’t think tacking dovish would cost her much.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

                I think friendliness to Wall Street and Davos and TPP are bigger problems for HRC.

                Everyone except economists seem to realize that not everyone is helped by globalization. The free traders have not thought of any solutions except charter schools which take public goods and turn them into private and for-profit things. Charter Schools smack of corruption to many liberals.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Nobody cares about foreign policy and nobody votes on foreign policy unless Americans are dying overseas.

                American’s vote to get us into wars when we’re not, and get us outa wars once we’re in em.

                Also, unlike North I have no illusions Hillary will tack dovish. I think she’ll get us in at least one war, maybe two. The Hawk is her totem.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                Don’t get me wrong Stillwater; I don’t think she’ll tack dovish: I agree she’s hawkish by inclination and it’s my second strongest reservation about her*. I said I HOPE that Bernie can FORCE her to make dovish promises.

                *The email brouhaha is my first strongest.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Ah, yes, there’s that. And that down ticket pols might consider their own electability after supporting something disastrous.

                Alsotoo, when I say Hillary might get us into two wars I mean one of her own choosing. The NSC requires new presidents to escalate/create at least one opportunity to use our “Defense” capabilities as condition of the Presidency. My worry is she’ll do more than the bare minimum.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                You and I are on the same page with our aprehension on the matter. I hope her wariness of the electorate ad her party both of which are still pretty war weary will keep her ambitions to a minimum.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Stillwater says:

                Stillwater: My worry is she’ll do more than the bare minimum.

                “Madame President, we need to talk about your flair”Report

              • North in reply to Kolohe says:

                Also the voters want you to work on those TCP reports over the weekend. Mmmm that’d be great.Report

              • KatherineMW in reply to Stillwater says:

                Which wars? Her strong support for Obama’s deal with Iran has quieted a lot of my worries about her. If she backs that, she’s not going to be looking for an Iranian war.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:

                I don’t think economic populism was ever in doubt. The big differences would seemingly be in solutions and who to blame. Trump is pushing Herrenvolk Democracy according to some folks.

                I think the Democrats who like Sanders want a significant reduction in how much money Wall Street and finance vacuum up in the economy. They also want less triangulating and neo-liberalism as solutions. No charter schools run by private companies, no disruption by tech overlords who think they know better.

                IMO a lot of Sanders supporters acknowledge that he is weak on foreign policy even if they find HRC too hawkish. The thing that the neo-liberals need to shred is easy passes for Wall Street. But neo-liberals can’t seemingly do this because they abhor even the slightest anti-globalization policy and are too addicted to that sweet lucre.

                Democrats like Sanders because he flies economy class and in the middle seat. People who like Trump seem to like his over the top wealth.Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    What happened to my comment? Why did it get eaten?Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    It looks like Cruz’s mailers made no difference (at least had no downside), but his campaign may have spun Ben Carson’ brief (though inexplicable) trip home to Cruz’s advantage.Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    Sanders's camp says that the Iowa Democratic Party has informed the campaigns that the caucus results from 90 precincts are missing.— John Wagner (@WPJohnWagner) February 2, 2016

    I’m seriously looking for something to back this assertion up, but this is a guy from the Warshington Post rather than, say, from WierdNutDaily.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Roll Call?

      DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Democratic Party informed the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders late Monday night that it has no results for 90 precincts across the state, which could account for as much as 5 percent of the total vote. And the party has asked the campaigns for help in getting a tally for those missing results.

      “We are, right now, calling all our precinct captains on precincts where we have knowledge of what’s missing, to report what we think happened there,” a visibly irate Robert Becker, Sanders’ state director told Roll Call after Sanders’ speech at the Holiday Inn near the Des Moines airport.

      “They’ve asked the other campaigns to do the same thing. At the end of the day, there’s probably going to be squabbles on it,” he added.


  11. Jaybird says:

    Are you ready for the next Clinton Conspiracy Theory?

    A Clinton supporter correctly called “heads” on a quarter flipped in the air, and Clinton received a fifth delegate.

    Similar situations were reported elsewhere, including at a precinct in Des Moines, at another precinct in Des Moines, in Newton, in West Branch and in Davenport. In all five situations, Clinton won the toss.


  12. Stillwater says:

    The big winner last night was clearly Rubio , in my view. He goes from also-ran to both Trump and Cruzer’s biggest threat. He’s now the “Our Guy” candidate for the old guard and insiders as well as traditional mainstream conservatives who can breathe easier knowing that neither a lunatic nor a self-deluded narcissist has a clear path to the title. Plus, he’s a pretty damn good public speaker who seems to be getting better as the campaign rolls along.

    Trump: I viewed his post-election speech last night as a portent of doom, but I can’t quite figure out why. That he’s only “good” when his support comes cheap and easy? Seems to me he’s got to do more to earn the support of voters rather than rely on being the outsider with a limited range of “bold and fresh” ideas. I’m still surprised he hasn’t expanded his platform at this point, and I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten pounded for it.

    Cruz is hideous. With that outa the way, I don’t see his victory there as a real boost to his campaign given the amount of energy he expended. I look at it more the other way: given the effort and focus on Iowa his victory is more like “meeting expectations” rather than exceeding them. And the upcoming Rubio surge is gonna take away his support more than Trumpers.

    All in all, I’m inclined to think Rubio is finally (or will be after NH) where lots of us thought he’d be much sooner: the establishment candidate with a lot of popular appeal. I don’t see how Trump can compete with him over the long haul unless he really ups his game on every level: energy, rhetoric, policy, ground-game….Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

      I think Rubio had the best night, but I think a lot of people are underestimating how good a night it was for Cruz. He spent a lot of time in Iowa, and it lined up well with his peeps, but now he can afford to place third in New Hampshire and regroup in the South where he should also do well. And while he did invest a lot in Iowa, unlike Huckabee and Santorum (who more or less planned to leverage an Iowa victory into a national campaign) he’s got a national campaign up and running.

      The betting markets have him at under ten percent and Rubio over fifty. That’s crazy. I think their chances are in the same ballpark.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

        He’s a clever politician, no doubt. (I mean, he overcame the handicap of being personally repulsive to garner 28% support, which is evidence of real genius…) I still don’t see a path for him to get there, and even less so now, what with Rubio having Found Jesus in Iowa. His political strength is neither appeal nor pure force of character, but rather a form of political ju-jitsu in which he only succeeds by playing off of other candidates strengths. Which requires, by my thinking, that his strengths will leave him perpetually in second place at best. Sure, there’s a chance that his last move leverages him past the front runner to take the title, but odds-wise it seems to me very unlikely. (I could be biased. Have I mentioned how I feel about him personally?)Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Even? No, and you know I would LOVE for you to be right Will, I don’t think their odds are even remotely even. Rubio has a ton of growth potential, every centrist lane candidate that calls it quits will power him up, and I’d assume that if Rubio does well in NH (which why the heck wouldn’t he?) then the pressure on the other centrist candidates to throw in the towel will start to mount. Cruz is going to contend hard, I grant, but with the whole establishment against him? I’m doubtful. Also Trump is this wild card- how logn does he stay in the game? Isn’t he soaking up Cruz’s oxygen?

        Jeb! remains a factor, he could remain in the race a long time locking down establishment loyalists and add-bombing Rubio but again how long will he do it if the establishment starts telling him to knock it off?Report

        • Will Truman in reply to North says:

          The calendar and the field seem almost perfectly stacked against Rubio. The rest of his lane won’t be cleared by NH, making it unlikely that he wins there. After that is Nevada, which I tentatively believe he will win, and South Carolina, where I expect him to lose. The SEC primary doesn’t play to his strengths. Especially if I’m wrong about Nevada, the “But Rubio hasn’t actually won anything” is going to dog him for quite some time before it gets to the states where he can win. By which time, Cruz may be in really good shape.

          That’s not what I’m predicting, mind you, because I’m not predicting anything specifically. If today’s narrative were that it’s Cruz’s to lose, I’d be painting the Rubio-friendly scenario. It’s… really tough to see what’s going to happen.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

            Jeb placed behind Carson by a large margin and barely ahead of Fiorina and Christie. If he were rational he’d drag up after NH, but the Grift Is Strong in campaign managers so he may hang around until the money is literally transferred to his homies bank accounts gone, which will hurt Rubio and help Cruzer. I think hell be subject to tremendous pressure to pack it in.Report

          • North in reply to Will Truman says:

            The Conservative organs are already saying Rubio just needs to place in NH, second or even third. So he’s fine there. He’s in no danger at all of running out of money, his campaign has been moderate in their burn rate and one thing the establishment can definitly do is make sure he stays in the dough. He’ll win by beating Cruz with suburban moderate Republicans in the high population centers. Unless there’s some kind of Cruz blowout Rubio will simply pack in the delegates until he wins. Rubio either will land a knockout punch and win or win a gruelling attrition battle. Either way he’ll win.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to North says:

              The good news for Rubio is that he has had an arse-ton of negative ads against him in Iowa and elsewhere*, and he came out of it looking quite good both in terms of his placement and still having good approval numbers within the party. Even better, he turned everything around in just 2-3 weeks. Before that, he was halfway skipping Iowa with hopes of making his mark in New Hampshire. At some point they made the determination that Iowa was more urgent, and that gambit paid off in a big way.

              Unless there’s some kind of Cruz blowout Rubio will simply pack in the delegates until he wins.

              I think this is quite possible, but not pre-ordained. He has been planning for a Long Primary, but the ground is slippery in those and at some point Cruz (or even Trump) may start looking prohibitive.

              * – To date, I’ve seen only one presidential political ad this year. It was an anti-Rubio one.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Rubio should still be worried about the rise/flame-out cycle so common in the last few Republican primaries.

                He’s benefiting from the way Cruz and Trump suck all the media oxygen out of the room, because it means he can rise higher in the polls before the spotlight turns on him.

                Thing is — he’s not a natural second choice for either Cruz or Trump voters. Given they have a majority of the voters between them, that is not a good place to be. Especially as he’s going to be seen as the ‘establishment’ candidate in a decidedly non-establishment year.

                I’m not saying he can’t do it — like I said, the longer Cruz and Trump suck up all the attention, the more solid a foundation he can build — but the man hasn’t been in the spotlight yet, and a lot of the GOP’s “Great Hopes” have floundered at that point.Report

              • North in reply to Morat20 says:

                So you’re imagining a scenario where Cruz exits and Trump gets that wing to himself? Or vice versa? Problematic; neither have any incentive to quit (and Trump will never quit as long as Jeb! is in the race. Hmmm maybe Rubio has a reason to want Jeb to stay in).Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                You’re getting ahead of me. I’m thinking more that Rubio breaks into the spotlight and then…pulls a Carson. Or like any 2012 nominee but Romney. The base gets a look at him — a real look, as opposed to “Yeah, that guy’s running and I haven’t heard much bad about him [because no one is saying much about him] he seems good!” and then recoils in horror because of, well, whatever.

                Insufficient xenophobia. Too short. Licks lips like lizard. It’s not always rational.

                I think Trump’s supporters are, by and large, not going to be attracted to Rubio in any case. Cruz’s might, but I’m not sure that’ll hold up under scrutiny.

                So that’s my basic point — we can all say “Rubio’s in third and rising!” and be very correct. But the thing is, everyone’s watching Cruz and Trump. What will happen if Rubio gets that spotlight shined on him?

                There’s plenty of things the primary voters might be deeply unhappy with, once it’s played up.Report

              • North in reply to Morat20 says:

                Maybe, but Rubio has been in the crosshairs before. Jeb has been throwing everything he couldfind, imagine or fabricate at Rubio for months and he’s held his own and then some in the debates.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                Yeah, I don’t see Rubio having a “Egyptian pyramids are granaries” lala moment. On the contrary. He seems gaining in smoothosity: not stumbling and deflecting direct hits. Personally, I think the more he’s positively rewarded for being the Establishment guy, the better he’s gonna be at the politics. That strikes me as his comfort zone.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to North says:

                True enough, but I still can’t shake the feeling that no one is really paying attention to anyone but Trump, and now Cruz and Trump. (Well, Carson too — but he’s flamed out already).

                I literally can’t remember a dang thing Jeb did, really, over this primary. He’s been such a non-issue, despite spending god knows how much money.

                And I watch debate and participate online and stuff, and I’d still have to go research everyone but….Cruz and Trump…to remind me of anything about them.

                Like Rubio — the thing I remember most about him for this primary season was an attack on his shoes — by either Trump or Cruz.

                Perhaps I’m a huge outlier, but that’s what I mean by Trump sucking all the air out of the room. Rubio’s close third might bring him up into the big leagues now, but prior to last night — how much coverage did he really get? How much did people see of him?

                It’s not really a problem unique to Republicans — Sanders has struggled against it the whole time himself, with Clinton taking up most of the air.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                You’re not in Iowa.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                That’s quite true.

                Doesn’t mean I’m wrong. It’s not like Iowa caucus goers have been very predictive about GOP winners, right?

                As I said, that’s just my feeling, which is that Rubio has been underlooked — which is both good and bad — so far. I don’t know if that will continue, especially now that he’s taking on the Great GOP Hope For Sanity role against roughly 60% of the GOP’s base.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                Scroll up in the convo and you’ll see I’ve actually been arguing the Cruz angle more than the Rubio one. I think there are good arguments to be made for each candidate.

                The second-choice breakdowns don’t happen as logically as we often assume. Rubio and Cruz have been picking up one another’s supporters throughout the campaign and each is high on the list of the other’s second choice.

                Long story short, somebody has to win this thing. I can come up with reasons for why it can’t be Trump, Cruz, or Rubio… but it’s going to have to be one of them. I think the betting markets are too high on Rubio, but I think he has as good or better a chance than either of the other two. There’s no Romneyesque “natural winner” to overcome this time around.

                (The main area of disagreement I have with you remains the notion that Rubio is some question mark in the shadows. He has been out of the shadows for at least a month, there has been a ton of energy devoted to taking him down, and whether the polls indicated it or not he has been treated like a top-tier candidate by the other candidates.)

                (On a related note, Rush is now speaking positively about him. That’s new!)Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Rubio hasn’t held the spotlight. That’s sort of the issue I’m getting at.

                Look, you remember 2012. Every candidate was really popular, until they got on top? Happened to Carson this go-around too. How can you be sure that won’t happen to Rubio if he gets more time in the limelight?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’m not sure it won’t. That was a huge thing early on, but has become less so with time because he has been getting a lot of negative attention. R2R carpetbombed the Iowa airwaves, and elsewhere. Cruz has been taking shots and really ramped it up over the past week. Trump has taken shots. Kasich’s people took a shot. Talk radio has taken shots. His views on immigration came up in the most unflattering way possible in the last debate, and was brought up in previous debates (in one of which he was Target #1), and he’s still standing.

                So while I’m not-at-all sure it won’t happen, there is quite a bit of reason to believe that the obvious liabilities have already played out. There may be some as-yet unfound non-obvious liabilities, but that’s an unknown unknown at this point.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’m pretty much content to wait and see. The GOP bloodletting is likely to get more intense anyways. More knives in the back for Cruz now, and Trump will be..Trump, immune to normal political rules but subject to his own weird ones. Maybe he’ll flame out now. Maybe he’ll get stronger. I have no idea.

                Rubio…might get to stay in the background, or he might have the whole establishment alternate between supporting him and stabbing Cruz.

                The results of which are entirely unpredictable.

                The one thing I’m sure of is that more than half the GOP primary voters really like a guy who is incredibly toxic in the general election AND fully outside the control of the GOP establishment. From the perspective of whomever wins the primary, that is Not A Good Thing.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                “Wait and see” is the only reasonable course at this point. The only things I am predicting is barring something completely unforseen we will have a three or four person person race that’s going to include Trump, Cruz, and Rubio (maybe one other player of significance).

                Beyond that, it can go a number of ways. I’m somewhat down on Trump’s chances in the overall, I’m way more bullish on Cruz than the betting markets, and somewhat more bearish on Rubio (and Trump). But I’m guessing.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’m hesitant to bet against Trump because he placed second, with no real ground team, after about 6 months of everyone saying “THIS IS WHAT KILLS TRUMP” and it never happening.

                On him, I’m waiting until he’s been staked, decapitated, and buried at a crossroads.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing in particular is going to kill him (the way envisioned). Assuming he falls short, it’s mostly going to be a matter of him just not going to get the votes that he needs to win a majority of delegates, and he won’t be able to convert a plurality of delegates into a majority of delegates the way another candidate might.

                Right now I have him sketched at a 1-in-5 chance of getting the nod.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Agreed. Not the way envisioned. I could see enthusiasm flag if he doesn’t add a few more notes to the Trumpet, tho.Report

              • North in reply to Will Truman says:

                Raise your expectations to “probable” and you’ll be where I’m at.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

                In both 2008 and 2012, the GOP flirted with loony after loony until it finally settled on someone relatively sane. If the pattern holds, and I see no reason to expect otherwise, despite being told (or maybe because I keep getting told) by so many half-smart pundits that This Time It’s Different!!!! Rubio is the most likely last sane man left standing.Report

      • I just assumed Iowa was Cruz’s to lose. That doesn’t take away from his huge ground game and focused political campaign, but I don’t see him taking the state as all that miraculous.

        I agree with @stillwater: this was a great night for Rubio, and I really dislike Rubio. If he can get some of the other “establishment” candidates to get out (I’m looking at you Jeb), Rubio could start winning some of these states.

        I am also amazed by how Trump failed in Iowa. I know he wasn’t supposed to win in Iowa anyway, and the very fact that he got the support he did says something about his potency, but the fact he has not adapted to the changes in the campaign in shocking. Big rallies and pleasantries are nice, but he should know that it will take more than that to actually win the nomination. EDIT (I say he “should know,” but maybe he really thought he was going to coast into a win in the primaries without a ground game or a plan. I know CK mentioned last night that the polls are complete mirages at this point, so I think Trump is in for big trouble now that he doesn’t appear unstoppable and inevitable).Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Roland Dodds says:

          I agree about Cruz: contrary to the pundit CW, I don’t think he overperformed in Iowa given the effort expended compared to T and R. The only measure they base that judgment on is pre-election polls, which had Trump up. But even considering that I’m not sure I agree about Trump. He basically wrote the state off as a loss a long time ago and refrained from expending any but the barest of energy there, and given that I’d be inclined to say he overperformed. The fact that the pre-election polls had him in front suggests to me that he lost because he had no ground game, not that voters turned on him.Report

        • Cruz was very well positioned in Iowa, but it was far from clear that he would win it becuase it wasn’t clear that Trump was going to fall. The last minute polls suggested a Trump win. His victory hear means that he can afford a mediocre showing in New Hampshire, then on to South Carolina. It’s not a surprise, but it’s a big deal that he accomplished what he set out to do *and* that Trump couldn’t get much space between him and Rubio.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

      Trump: I viewed his post-election speech last night as a portent of doom, but I can’t quite figure out why. That he’s only “good” when his support comes cheap and easy? Seems to me he’s got to do more to earn the support of voters rather than rely on being the outsider with a limited range of “bold and fresh” ideas. I’m still surprised he hasn’t expanded his platform at this point, and I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten pounded for it.

      Trump had absolutely zero ground game, didn’t do internal polling (“why do we have to do internal polling when the networks do it for us?”), and came in second anyway. In the state that gave Pat Robertson 25% in 1988.

      If Trump figures out “okay, maybe I *DO* need a ground game…”Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, my thought as well: as a conditional. IF he can get a real ground game with Trumpeters knocking on doors and networking with local local political power structures and all the rest, he’s in good shape. From what I’ve gathered, tho, he doesn’t have a management team to do those things. Yet, anyway.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        We’ll see in New Hampshire. If Trump doesn’t win there he’s done like Christmas dinner.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to North says:

          To be followed by “New Hampshire doesn’t mean anything, though. It’s South Carolina where the rubber meets the road.”

          “South Carolina stopped picking winners in 2012. Super Tuesday is what counts.”Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yeah, for sure. But if I were in Trump’s camp I’d be very concerned about the ground game. It’s one thing for folks to support him in polls, another for them to support him at polls.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

              The good news for Trump is that ground game matters less in other states than it does in Iowa.

              The bad news is that he needs his people motivated, and they were motivated by his being a winner.

              The good news is that he has a pretty nice cushion in New Hampshire, and a “Comeback winner!” narrative waiting for him after New Hampshire.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well I just said if he doesn’t win he’s done… the corollary being that if he does win he is not done. I wish Trump well Jay, I’d delight in his success in the primary, but I like to think of myself as a realist.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

          Candidates are done when their fundraising dries up and/or the media stops paying them any attention. The former doesn’t apply; we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the latter.Report

          • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Mmm true, done as a plausible contender for the nod; not done as in out of the race. I imagine he’ll stay in the race as long as he finds it fun. Oh and he will not drop out until after Bush has. You can bank on that.Report

  13. Morat20 says:

    My thoughts:
    Wow, that was a tight Clinton/Sanders race. On the one hand, good on Bernie for fighting hard — and he should win New Hampshire easily. On the other hand, Iowa and New Hampshire are about as friendly a ground as Bernie’s going to get, and he can’t claim he won both (which would have been a nice boost). On the gripping hand, it all seemed pretty friendly on the Democratic side.

    On the GOP side — Trump came in second, with basically ground game. That’s..impressive, actually. Being Trump, pretty sure he’s going to be able to spin losing pretty easily. He’s spun being bankrupt into being a successful businessmen, so coming in second in Iowa shouldn’t be hard. Cruz won, quite handily — he got his money’s worth and his heavy investment in Iowa paid off. And Rubio at three, huh?

    So…pretty sure the knives are going to come out for Cruz even harder. Then there’s the fact that Trump + Cruz equals well over half the vote. That does not seem like happy time for Rubio, because looking at the county results — Rubio was not the first or second choice of a lot of people. I wonder if he’s going to follow the Carson trajectory (pop up into the spotlight, get burnt to the ground because he doesn’t meet the purity tests) — the familiar trajectory of everyone not named “Romney” in 2012?

    I can’t see either Trump or Cruz supporters really liking the cut of Rubio’s jib, you know? And between them, they have more than half the GOP base sewn up.

    Also, I wonder how long Jeb will continue to pretend to be in this race?Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Morat20 says:

      The difference between Rubio and the Not-Romney candidates of 2012 is that the Not-Romney candidates were all jokes, has-beens, never-weres, or some combo of all three. It is possible, though, that Rubio is like Romney himself in 2008 – will do well enough to get noticed, but not good enough to win. (and I’ll say again, that’s the best case scenario for Rubio. Clinton won’t get beaten out for the white house this year, but she will be the most vulnerable incumbent since Poppy Bush in 2020)Report

      • North in reply to Kolohe says:

        From your lips to God(ess?)’s ears. If the election fairy appeared and said “I’ll guarantee a Dem president in 2016 but they’ll be guaranteed to lose in 2020.” I’d take that deal in a heartbeat.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

        Yeah, I think Romney ’08 looms rather large at this point. There are some differences, to be clear, but it’s a significant cncern for the Rubio camp. Until the completeness of Jeb’s collapse became evident, and Trump’s staying power, I was saying that while everyone was looking at ’12 it was actually ’08 that was the most analogous. Jeb as McCain, Cruz as Huckabee, Trump as Rudy, and Rubio as Mitt.

        It still could come to pass with some cast changes.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

          It could, but I wouldn’t bet the bank on it.

          Because in the end, Trump and Cruz are holding steady at over half the voters, right?

          And let’s be blunt — what they’re selling is NOT what Rubio can sell half as well.

          They’re anti-establishment, Rubio..isn’t. They’re both pretty xenophobic. Rubio is still fighting his heresy on immigration. He might be able to fake it, but will the voters actually buy it when it gets highlighted?

          That’s what I mean when I say Rubio is really benefiting from Trump and Cruz sucking all the air out, because right now the base isn’t scrutinizing Rubio. He can coast on casual impressions and name recognition.

          Now maybe he can sell himself once the light’s on him. Maybe he can’t. He doesn’t seem a great fit for the primary zeitgeist, and given said zeitgeist is eating up a majority of the voters that’s not a plus in his column.

          And yes, I’m aware that he’s a second choice for a lot of Cruz voters — but given how little he has in common with Cruz, how much of that is solid? And how much would evaporate upon deeper inspection?

          Which is why Rubio’s probably pretty content to build up as much as he can in the shadows of Trump and Cruz. It ain’t winning, but he’s not pulling a Carson either.

          And I do agree — he has a lot in common with Mitt in 2012. Except for one thing — in 2012, the GOP base wasn’t furious that someone exactly like Mitt had lost 4 years early. Being a lot like Mitt Romney is probably not the best thing to be right now, as a GOP candidate.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

            I think you misread what my comment was stating, and the comment I was responding to.

            We’re talking about Romney ’08, not Romney ’12.Report

          • North in reply to Morat20 says:

            Well religiously Rubio is pretty much solidly acceptable so you could expect Cruz’s evangalitical support to transfer to him easily.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to Morat20 says:

            I’m not so sanguine. In terms of impressions, Rubio/Cruz do have both a Kennedy/Nixon vibe and the Establishment/Anti thing going on, but in terms of substance they’re basically the same.

            Rubio is also a natural second choice for evangelicals, since he can talk the talk while all Trump knows about religion is how many Corinthians fit in one cup. If he can ignite culture war rhetoric while either downplaying immigration – or just nakedly flip-flopping since that doesn’t appear to be a negative anymore – he can be the Christopher Nolan candidate to Cruz’s Tim Burton version.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:


            They’re anti-establishment, Rubio..isn’t.

            From where I sit – and of course I’m sorta spit-balling here – Rubio is establishment and presents (solidly!) as establishment. Trump is anti-establishment and presents as anti. And while Cruz presents as anti-establishment, he’s actually establishment all the way down. At this point, tho, he pretty much has to play the anti-establishment card (even if it weren’t good politics for him) since he’s not gonna get any of the big figures within the party to endorse or support him. But the reason for that isn’t because he rejects the GOP orthodoxy, it’s because he’s a free-lancer who puts his own interests above the party (in part because he takes all the Cleek driven talking points wink-wink seriously while he’s advancing his own ambitions). (Plus, he’s hideous. Yrrrch.)Report

  14. While this is fun, it amounts to trying to figure out who’s going to win the World Series based on Opening Day.Report