Some thoughts on last night’s results:
- Thanks be to a merciful God that my fear that Donald Trump would win Iowa was not realized. Indeed, it was fun to watch the emotional meltdown of his supporters on social media this past day. But the nation is not yet rid of Trump, alas. He still continues to poll strongly in New Hampshire, and given that the New Hampshire primary will be decided by secret ballot (unlike the caucus), it is entirely possible that more people will feel emboldened to vote for Trump in the Granite State. Nevertheless, last night was a huge defeat for Trump. Despite the polls he always likes to brag about, he lost to Ted Cruz, and he was almost thrust into third place by a surging Marco Rubio.
- In many ways, Rubio was the big winner on the Republican side last night. No one expected him to do as well as he did. He now looks set to receive the embrace of the Republican establishment, despite the fact that he was elected to the Senate as a Tea Party candidate. But this takes nothing away from Ted Cruz, who ran an excellent campaign in Iowa, and is now the established frontrunner on the Republican side.
- I wish that Jeb Bush–the candidate to whom I am closest on the issues–would have had a better night. He needs to do well in New Hampshire. Otherwise, despite the vast amounts of PAC money that he has, he may not be long for the 2016 race. The same goes for John Kasich, who is another very good candidate who doesn’t get his due from Republican voters. Kasich is running second in New Hampshire, but he is well behind Trump (who isn’t even a real Republican, much less Kasich’s and Bush’s equal in intellect, temperament and experience).
- Finally, last night’s results confirm the fact that Hillary Clinton is a terrible presidential candidate. She was supposed to win a decisive victory in Iowa, thus erasing memories of her embarrassing third-place finish back in 2008. Instead, she nearly lost the state to a 74 year old socialist. Her wafer-thin victory is no victory at all, and next week, Bernie Sanders looks set to crush her in New Hampshire. It is worth noting once again that if Donald Trump were not running and sucking up so much media attention in the process, much more attention would be paid to Clinton’s many weaknesses as a candidate, and the very real problems Democrats might face with her at the top of the ticket.