A year ago, the 2016 presidential race was a bit of a yawn.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was the presumptive Republican nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was headed for a landslide on the Democratic side.
A lot can change in a year’s time. Clinton is now locked in a tight race with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump’s wildly unconventional campaign has sucked up all the air in the Republican Party.
On Monday, the Iowa caucus will turn polling data into actual votes. Historically, an Iowa win has not guaranteed a White House win. But as everyone agrees, this is no ordinary American election season. And with so many other local factors – a majority white population, rural, active evangelicals, the cold weather – predicting the outcome is especially difficult.
An Iowa Win Might Make the Trump Train Unstoppable
Eli Stokols and Mike Allen – Politico
Ted Cruz and Donald Trump do agree on one thing—if Trump wins Iowa, he might be unstoppable on his way to winning the Republican presidential nomination.
And they are not alone. A wide range of senior Republicans told POLITICO that if Trump wins Iowa, he’ll more than likely be the nominee. One factor they repeatedly pointed to: An Iowa victory over Cruz would validate opinion polls showing him in command of the race. The Trump phenomenon would officially become a reality
A win in Iowa, where just months ago Cruz was sitting on what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, would send Trump into New Hampshire, where he’s held a large lead for months, with unmistakable momentum.
Why Iowa’s Evangelical Voters Matter
Hugh Hewitt – CNN
Ordinary Americans who feel not an ounce of ill-will toward anyone but who hold deep-seated beliefs about what their faith obliges them to believe and how to act feel under attack, and thus, approach this cycle with even more urgency than in years past.
…[E]vangelicals in Iowa are a known, huge force (as are their pro-life, Mass-attending Catholic brothers and sisters). Sen. Ted Cruz knows who they are. He knows their pastors. He’s been in their churches. A lot….
I think the “Trump tsunami” is real and he will win in New Hampshire. But I am betting on Sen. Cruz in Iowa because I think enough pastors have been persuaded that Ted Cruz understands their concerns and their hopes, shares their vision and their values, can sing their songs and knows their message.
Iowans Applaud Clinton. Politely.
Albert Hunt – Bloomberg View
Polls show she is locked in a tight race with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Iowa, which has its first-in-the-nation contest on Monday. He has generated lots of enthusiasm….
One of those Sanders supporters was Nadia Igram, a lawyer from nearby Waukee, there with her husband and two children. She said she likes Clinton but leans to Sanders because she favors some of his “socialist ideas” and thinks he may be better on social justice issues. But as the event began, she said, “If Clinton says something that strikes a spark, I might change my mind.”
No matter what happens in Iowa or on Feb. 9 in the primary in New Hampshire, where Sanders currently enjoys an advantage, Clinton remains the favorite to win the nomination. But if she loses the first two contests, it would virtually assure a longer, costlier and conceivably more acrimonious battle.
As she was leaving the event, Igram said she thought Clinton was “really good.” She also said she’s sticking with Sanders.
What’s the Matter with Iowa? Mucho!
Victoria Defrancesco Soto – NBC News
The first thing that is the matter with Iowa is its lack of racial and ethnic representation that reflects the nation. Saying that Iowa is no microcosm of the United States is an overstatement.
Iowa is one of the whitest states in the nation at 92 percent compared to the national white non-Hispanic population of 77 percent. Overall, the U.S. Latino population accounts for 17 percent, but in Iowa they make up less than a third, at 5 percent. African Americans and Asian Americans who nationally make up 13 percent and 5 percent of the population are only 3 percent and 2 percent of the state’s residents.
The Iowa caucus is an archaic political vestige that has no place in influencing our presidential politics as it does. It disenfranchises those that are already most likely to be disenfranchised.