Last night the voters spoke in Iowa and delivered victories to Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Ted Cruz.
In terms of delegates, both winners simply received the majority of, not all. Thus Sen. Cruz ended up with eight delegates. Second place finisher, Donald J. Trump, and third place finisher, Sen. Marco Rubio ended up with seven delegates each. On the Democrat side, Mrs. Clinton gets 23 delegates and her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders will get 21 delegates.
A lot of criticism is thrown Iowa's way (as well as New Hampshire) being the first in the nation to vote in the respected party primaries. I think that they are good states to see how a candidate can deal with organization. Clearly Sen. Cruz out hustled all the other Republican candidates. His team singled out the state's conservative, evangelical Christian voters and Sen. Cruz scored their votes. Like it or not, the Donald did not take the old fashioned retail politicking and organization seriously and it showed. Also, sorry but skipping the last debate before the caucus did not help. No matter what excuse the Donald uses to not participate in the debate, many caucus participants said that eventually determined their vote. And who would have thought Marco Rubio would have had such a strong third-place finish looking at the polls?
As I noted last night, clearly there was something called Marcomentum that catapulted Sen. Rubio to nearly a huge upset and forcing the Donald to a potential third place finish. That is breathing life into a campaign that really needs it.
Ted Cruz went one way too long in his victory speech. And while his religious references did not bother me, I thought about the rest of the nation and places that would be totally turned off by such overt Christianity. Sen. Cruz will have to find a way to be less evangelical Christian preacher and more able to really expand the base of his support to those people he, and I, believe he needs to win a general election campaign. We will see if Sen. Cruz can pivot in much more secular New Hampshire.
Donald J. Trump has to begin to take this campaign seriously if he is really in it to win it. The Donald will have to spend real money for organization and broadcast advertising. And he will have to participate in debates no matter what.
Marco Rubio needs to continue to build on the Marcomentum and get to second place in New Hampshire, simple as that.
For the Democrats, Mrs. Clinton has to be humiliated that she could not put Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed "democratic" socialist, away in Iowa. I will say it now. The Democrats are that far to the left that I will not be surprised if Sen. Sanders ends up the Democrat nominee. What we are seeing is the left-wing crack up and the end of the Obama coalition. And the only saving grace for Mrs. Clinton is the whole Super-delegates that are there to guarantee an "establishment" candidate wins the nomination. We shall see but there is no doubt Mrs. Clinton is going to lose badly to the senator from next-door Vermont next Tuesday.
The funny thing about all of this is that it has not made the race any easier for either political party. It is all still up in the air. And maybe for a while.