As the New Hampshire primaries get closer and closer, and with the Iowa Caucuses now over, it is important to reflect on the astonishing effects of the remarkable events that transpired this past Monday for both the Republican and Democrat Parties in Iowa. Since the Iowa Caucuses highlighted surprising shifts in sentiment among both Republican and Democrat voters that the media and the polls, even up until this point, have been unable to effectively capture. So let's examine the astonishing effects that will continue to have an important impact on both party's primary races, as the primaries continue on to New Hampshire.
The most notable effect of the Iowa Caucuses was that it highlighted that currently the media and polls are completely non-reflective of voter sentiment. In fact, public sentiment was so unpredictable that even though a record breaking 180,000 Republicans came out to vote in Iowa Monday. A surge that all the pundits stated would help Trump win the nomination, actually resulted in a massive anti-Trump sentiment being reflected in the results. With Donald Trump finishing second by a substantial margin behind Iowa Caucus winner Ted Cruz, and only a little over 1000 votes shy of winding up in third behind Marco Rubio.
Not only that, but in the Democrat primary race in Iowa, the turnout compared to 2008, which saw 239,000 voters participate in the Iowa Caucuses, fell to a mere 179,109. A turnout that while robust was smaller than anticipated. Yet, despite political pundits stating that a smaller turnout would bode well for Hillary Clinton's chances of winning Iowa handily, the smaller turnout resulted in Hillary winning Iowa by the slimmest of margins over Bernie Sanders, at 0.2%. In a contest, that while decided, has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of Bernie Sanders campaign workers and supporters. Who suggested voter fraud and malpractice at the voting precincts allowed the Democrat Party to steal the election win from the rightful winner Bernie Sanders, and give it to the Democrat Party's darling Hillary Clinton.
Thus, as one can see, the Iowa Caucuses have conclusively demonstrated that neither the media nor the polls are reflective of the people's sentiments in either party. Meaning that as the primary races continue, voters in both parties should not pay attention to polls or the media when making their decision on who to vote for.
Iowa Caucuses Boot Irrelevant Candidates from Primaries
The best thing about the first votes being cast in Iowa, aside from your candidate winning of course, is that it begins to narrow the field in both parties, as irrelevant candidates who have been irrelevant for months drop out of the race after finally having to face the music. This is what happened to Martin O'Malley who after being completely ineffectual for months in the Democrat Party primary, finally decided to close up shop just hours before the primaries began in Iowa. Leading one pundit to quip "did you see the shot that CNN had of his empty headquarters with the lights off and one person cleaning things up, I think he got more media attention for closing up shop than he did during his whole campaign."
On the Republican side it was a bit more interesting. Since not only did irrelevant candidate Mike Huckabee, who many Republicans hope will soon be followed by other irrelevant candidates in Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Jim Gilmore, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush, exit the race. So too did Rand Paul, despite a surprisingly stronger showing than many predicted for him in Iowa, winning 5% of the vote and finishing in fifth.
Yet, despite this strong showing it makes sense that the Senator from Kentucky chose to drop out of the race when he did. Since not only does Rand Paul know he does not have a realistic shot at the nomination, having risen very early on in the Republican primary last year only to commit blunder after blunder, but he also needs to turn his attention to winning re-election in the senate. A Kentucky senate race that he is expected to win quite handily.
However, as shocking or not as Rand Paul's decision to drop out of the GOP race is, the effects of this decision are sure to reverberate throughout the rest of the Republican Party primary. Since Rand Paul, just like his libertarian father Ron Paul, was seen as the home to support from many conservative voters who are commonly referred to as the liberty vote. Yet, with Rand Paul now out of the race, the liberty vote, which remained divided between Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and to a limited extent Ben Carson should now more consistently find its way to either of the two remaining liberty vote candidates in the race. With Ted Cruz already aligning himself, before the results of the Iowa Caucuses, into the perfect position to capture the support of those liberty vote Republicans who now find themselves needing a new home.
An effect of the Iowa Caucuses that bodes well for Ted Cruz during the rest of the GOP race. Since while the liberty vote is small in terms of percentage of Republican voters, they have always been the loudest and most passionate faction within the GOP. Meaning that if Ted Cruz can capture that energy and use it to his advantage, coupling it with the win in Iowa, he may just have the momentum needed to take himself all the way to the White House.
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