The results of the Iowa caucuses matter because they are the very first votes cast in this year’s presidential race. Then again, political experts remind us over and over and over again that there is still a LONG way to go: 49 other nominating contests must take place before either party has a nominee that must then fight it out to win the White House.
So, yes, Iowa is just a peculiar snapshot of the American electorate. But the results confirm the nature of this presidential campaign: anti-establishment ideas have traction. And, yes, Donald Trump remains unpredictable: his concession speech to opponent, and winner, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, was appropriately dignified.
Who Won the Iowa Caucuses?
Sacha Zimmerman – The Atlantic
The fight is on. Iowa only made things more interesting tonight by refusing to coronate anyone or to hand New Hampshire a template. On the right, Ted Cruz officially won Iowa, Marco Rubio unofficially won, and Donald Trump is still a force in the race.
And on the left, a dead heat between the Democratic candidates means that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are still going to have to duke it out going forward. So join us as we wade even deeper into election season. It probably can’t get any weirder. (Right?)
Iowa Caucus Voters Rewrite the Script
The Editorial Board – USA Today
As the candidates move on to New Hampshire, two lessons stand out.
One is that the battle between experience and change seems to be a toss-up, at least for now. The fact that Clinton has been at the highest levels of government for almost a quarter-century — first lady, senator of New York, secretary of State — is her hole card….
Clinton’s record of working with Senate Republicans also suggests she’d be better at getting things done than Sanders, who has mostly been a gadfly well outside the mainstream on major issues….
A second lesson is that voters don’t necessarily live in the real world. Sanders’ promises to do things that not even a Democratic president with a Democratic House and Senate could do in Obama’s first term are wildly unrealistic, not to mention unaffordable. But Clinton hasn’t found an effective way to say that, and many voters don’t seem to care.
Making Choices in Iowa
The Editorial Board – The New York Times
After a long year of too much polling, posturing and propaganda, American voters are now at last making choices. The run-up to the Iowa caucuses, which took place on Monday night, shows it’s time to move beyond the emotional venting that has been broadly common to both parties, but could not have been more different in the particulars….
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who fared well on Monday night, tried to put a younger and more charming face on the basic Republican message of anger, xenophobia, fear and hate…
The Democratic contest, at least, was a competition of ideas. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were in a virtual dead heat at the caucuses. Though they criticized the Republicans, and each other, they did so with more civility than the Republicans and in service of talking about what they wanted to do, not what President Obama failed to do.
Iowa’s Message More Important Than Trump’s Loss
Julian Zelizer – CNN
So we leave Iowa without knowing much more than when we started — other than the electorate in both parties is restless and the maverick candidates are dictating the tone of this competition….
But in Iowa Cruz-Trump on the Republican side and Sanders on the Democratic have demonstrated that there is serious wind behind the sails of insurgents. Things are going to get even more intense.
The remaining candidates will double down in New Hampshire, where the independents are much stronger and the voting less predictable than in Iowa, to try to pose another blow to all the candidates who assumed that this competition was theirs for the taking.