The Iowa Caucus: an Exciting Preview of the 2016 Election

The Iowa Caucus: an Exciting Preview of the 2016 Election

Bradley Dick

By Bradley Dick, ’16 Perspectives Editor

Donald Trump, a socialist and a brain surgeon walk into an Iowa caucus; sounds like the set-up to a good joke, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there is no punchline to this joke, and as November nears it is becoming increasingly possible that one of these candidates will be the next commander-in-chief. However, victory will not be an easy feat as the competition is still strong.

Last Monday, the voters in Iowa headed to the caucuses to officially begin the election season. The Iowa voters did not disappoint; They voted Senator Cruz the winner with 27.6% of the vote. Trump closely followed with 24.3%, Senator Rubio with 23.1% of the vote and the rest of the candidates barely breaking 5% of the vote. On the other side of the aisle, Iowans voted former Secretary of State Clinton as the winner with 49.9% of the vote and following extremely close behind, Bernie Sanders with 49.6% of the vote.

With six coin tosses, the Democratic results were well within the margin of error. Monday’s results have sparked outrage from both supporters of Bernie Sanders and his campaign itself who requested a review of the results from each precinct.

This past Friday, Iowa Democratic Party officials confirmed that they had found errors in the caucus results. While the degree of these discrepancies in the results have yet to be discovered, it is clear that both Clinton and Sanders are fighting to ensure that this does not happen in New Hampshire.

Clinton’s relationship with Sanders is getting heated. During Thursday night’s democratic debate, emotions ran high. At one point, Clinton and Sanders got into a screaming match over Clinton’s accusation that Sanders is using smear tactics to win votes. New Hampshire’s audience was clearly on Sanders’ side, booing Clinton as she accused Sanders.

Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary will no doubt increase these tensions. Currently, Sanders is the clear favorite with a 20+ point advantage in the most recent Marist polls. Meanwhile, Clinton is going on the offensive with a powerful grassroots program to win back votes before Tuesday’s primary.

On the right, Trump went on the offensive following the Iowa caucus. Trump’s relationship with Republican voters in Iowa was clearly not as strong as he had claimed leading up to last Monday’s caucus. Trump was immediately met with questions from the media following his loss. On Wednesday, Trump finally responded to the results with a tweet accusing Senator Cruz of stealing the election. Later in the week, Trump appeared in an On the Record interview with Gretchen Carlson backing his accusation and going on to state that Senator Cruz is a fraud, using lie tactics to win votes.

The New Hampshire primary is Trump’s to lose, with a 13+ point advantage in the most recent Marist polls it would take a major misstep from the Trump campaign to lose the primary. Cruz and Rubio are not backing down, however, increasing their grassroots programs prior to Tuesday night’s primary.

The election season is just getting started, but it already has the excitement of the final 30 days. With millions of dollars spent in just a few months, the election is already the most expensive presidential election ever. While there is nothing certain in politics until it is all said and done, the election is starting to take shape as we head into an important spring for the candidates. In the coming months, some candidates will suspend their campaigns while others will continue to pump more money and resources into theirs. For now, it seems as if we will see a Trump v. Sanders showdown come November with the possibility of Michael Bloomberg as a third party candidate.



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