Fellow Talks

Bill Whalen: Bye-Bye Hawkeye Cauci: How Iowa’s Results Impact The 2016 Election

via Hoover Institution
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Bill Whalen
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Bill Whalen

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses Iowa Caucus Night and that Iowa kept to form on the Republican side: the “one of us” candidate prevailed.

It continues a trend among Iowa Republicans dating back to Bob Dole’s takedown of George H.W. Bush in 1988. Dole was an extension of Iowa – a son of Kansas and defender of ag interests. The last three Republican winners – George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee all made their personal faith a larger part of their campaign narratives – a huge plus in a devout state (about three-fourths of Iowans are Protestants; half of those evangelicals). Cruz continues the trend, despite the Trumped-up turnout.

To his credit, Trump was gracious in defeat (words rarely if ever written). But in Iowa, he was as successful at changing politics as he was in reshaping the faces of casinos, airlines and professional football.

Speaking of tradition, a Trump win in New Hampshire continues the GOP’s habit of changing horses in the first two states. Forget about Groundhog Day: we could be in store for a long Republican winter.

On the Democratic side, the woman who’s been at the top of the Democratic pyramid for nearly a quarter of a century couldn’t generate one percentage point of space between herself and a Senate backbencher who’s not even a card-carrying Democrat – in a state where she’s no stranger. Sanders drew crowds; Clinton banked on mechanics. It’ll get Hillary the nomination, but it suggests a very bad “enthusiasm gap” coming her way this fall.