Monday, February 01, 2016

2016 Iowa Caucus Predictions

Tonight is the Iowa caucus and this afternoon seems like a good time to offer my predictions.  I believe that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic count but it will be closer than her campaign will like.  She’s got a good organization on the ground in the state and her behind-the-scenes white paper policy positions will motivate voters who really care about those issues.  They’ll come out to caucus on a cold Iowa night and she’ll win it by 2-3 percentage points.  But Sanders will do just fine and his prospects in New Hampshire, neighbor to his home state of Vermont, are good.  This contest isn’t over yet.

The Republican caucus vote seems like more of a crap shoot.  I know that Donald Trump believes that people who will wait in line three hours to see him in person will surely put in time for the caucus but I don’t share that belief.  Though he’s made some missteps in the last few days, that won’t bother his nutcase supporters; Ted Cruz has done the organization legwork in Iowa and he’ll prevail tonight, winning by 4-5 percentage points.  Number two will be the Donald (pun intended) and third place will go to Marco Rubio.   Bush, Christie, and Kasich will all perform poorly tonight.  But they will likely stay alive for New Hampshire, where all three have better prospects thanks to the fact that New Hampshire’s vote is a primary, not a caucus.  Because it’s a primary, New Hampshire Republican voters are a more stable lot than the Iowa caucus Republicans (how is that for damned by faint praise?).  So those three live for another few weeks.    But the same can’t be said for the remaining Republicans.  Surely, the Iowa results will drive at least one of them out of the race.  Will it be  Rand Paul?  Ben Carson?  Carly Fiorina?  Rick Santorum?  Those jackals are on life support before caucus results are counted.  Afterward, well.....tick-tock.

I’ve been grateful that I don’t have to teach about politics in this 2016 presidential cycle.  I like all the Democratic candidates but as both a citizen and a student of politics I have been horrified by the Republican display.  I think that the party is breaking up and, like most break-ups, it isn’t pretty to watch.  Neither side is conducting themselves well.  On NPR’s Sunday edition show yesterday, a group of young Republicans expressed the plaintive hope that their party would begin to stand for things rather than against.  That’s a sentiment the party should surely embrace.  Alas, that’s not yet begun.  So the Republican brawl continues and will play out in the coming contests.  I’ll be here with observations and predictions.    Here we come, 2016 contest.

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