Lion of the Blogosphere

Post-caucus analysis

The conventional wisdom going into the caucus was that Trump would be at a disadvantage because his supporters were disproportionately people who hadn’t caucused before and they wouldn’t show up. Furthermore, “ground game” is very important in Iowa, and the NY Times article from a few weeks ago reported that Trump’s ground game sucked. I guess the NY Times article and the conventional wisdom were right.

Nevertheless, this night was almost the worst possible outcome for Trump. Obviously the worst would have been a third-place finish, but Rubio’s very close third-place finish gives him momentum going into New Hampshire.

Behind the scenes right now, the GOPe is going to put a lot of pressure on Bush to drop out and pass the mantle to Rubio.

Recent history shows us that Iowa selects a hard-core conservative Christian type like Santorum or Huckabee, and they go on to lose to the nomination to the guy who wins in New Hampshire.

* * *

Meanwhile, the almost-tied result on the Democratic side gives hope that the Democratic Party will be divided for a while.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 1, 2016 at 11:46 pm

Posted in Politics

35 Responses

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  1. I’m not hip on “GOPe” yet. What does it mean?


    February 1, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    • GOPe(stablishment)


      February 2, 2016 at 12:40 am

      • Ah. Considering the type I’ve seen using it on twitter I thought it was something more impolitic.


        February 2, 2016 at 1:04 am

  2. “Nevertheless, this night was almost the worst possible outcome for Trump. Obviously the worst would have been a third-place finish, but Rubio’s very close third-place finish gives him momentum going into New Hampshire.”

    What’s striking is that it sounds like a lot Trump supporters defected to Rubio at the last minute.

    “Behind the scenes right now, the GOPe is going to put a lot of pressure on Bush to drop out and pass the mantle to Rubio.”

    Good. Rubio is a lot better than Jeb.


    February 1, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    • I listened to the BBC this morning and they characterized it as a big win for Rubio and how he is the centrist candidate.
      If a Tea Party senator is now a centrist I guess we are doing pretty well and I might have to accept that even though I prefer Cruz.

      Cruz need to pick up big momentum here and make it a two man race for NH. With the stupid Times endorsement of Kasish and strong Christie territory that probably doesnt happen.

      Lion of the Turambar

      February 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

      • Rubio ran as a Tea Party candidate but once he got into the senate, he flipped to snuggle up with the GOPe. He lied about his position on amnesty to get elected, and has not backtracked at all. You have to be pro amnesty to get donor and establishment support like he has, so the Tea Party label slid off him the moment he became a senator.

        Mike Street Station

        February 2, 2016 at 10:30 am

  3. Behind the scenes right now, the GOPe is going to put a lot of pressure on Bush to drop out and pass the mantle to Rubio.

    That doesn’t help Rubio. Bush is at 2-5%. Even if all of that vote goes to Rubio, he still doesn’t win any early primary states.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    February 2, 2016 at 12:07 am

    • Valid point. And I’m sorry if my reply to you in the last thread was rude.

      I think what Lion means is that Jeb’s financial backers (who, unlike his voters, are substantial) would/could defect to Rubio. With more money, Rubio becomes dangerous.


      February 2, 2016 at 12:30 am

      • Right. Plus, a lot of big money donors have been holding back because they didn’t know which establishment candidate would emerge from the scrum, and they were loathe to tie their lifeboat to a sinking ship. Now that it’s obviously going to be Rubio, there’s going to be a stampede towards him and a lot of resources which have been totally absent from this election cycle will now be in the mix — on Rubio’s side.

        Iowa showed that the stuff money can buy matters.


        February 2, 2016 at 12:59 am

      • “Iowa showed that the stuff money can buy matters.”

        An expensive ground game matters in Iowa, but the rest of the primaries now are just regular elections.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 2, 2016 at 1:03 am

      • I hope you’re right, because the same problems Trump had — that a significant portion of his support comes from unreliable voters — are going to be present in every election. A feeble ground game hurt Romney last time (Project Orca).


        February 2, 2016 at 1:24 am

      • I think what Lion means is that Jeb’s financial backers (who, unlike his voters, are substantial) would/could defect to Rubio. With more money, Rubio becomes dangerous.

        I think Rubio’s near diminishing returns with funding. Trump and Cruz are also well funded.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        February 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      • A feeble ground game hurt Romney last time (Project Orca).

        Trump won the second most votes in the history of Iowa’s Republican caucuses and he fell only 3-4 points behind the most Evangelical candidate. It’s not so much that Trump did badly with turnout as Cruz did slightly better.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        February 2, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    • Jeb’s donors and money could help Rubio.

      Dave Pinsen

      February 2, 2016 at 12:49 am

  4. How did Trump’s total votes compare to Huckabee and Santorum?

    The Undiscovered Jew

    February 2, 2016 at 12:10 am

  5. Look at the historic Iowa votes and you’ll see that it has been a harbinger of virtually nothing. Not how the first place candidates will do, not second or third place. It tells you less than nothing. BTW – I say this as a guy who conducted a Republican presidential precinct caucus in my one bedroom apartment in 1988 and Pat Roberson won! Not just my precinct but the state! Take away – caucuses are poor reflections of the public mood. No wonder so many candidates have avoided them over the years.

    The Rubio thing is concerning because it gives the establishment cause for hope that they can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I’m not so sure they can, however. A big combined win in NH by the anti-establishment forces might just kill the baby in its crib. But, I’ll admit, it would have been much better had Rubio been kept under 20. And, I’d rather not have to see Cruz as the anti-establishment standard bearer anytime soon (mostly because I’ve never liked overly ambitious people — confident I like, overly ambitious not so much). Cruz seems too much like the Mama’s boy trying to show off ‘Look What I Did Mom!’

    Oh. And Trump needs to start paying for some GOTV staff.


    February 2, 2016 at 12:20 am

    • Right. Reagan lost Iowa. Remember him?

      “It pisses me off that the GOP establishment is gloating right now.”

      Where does Lion get that? Cruz is also an insurgent candidate. GOPe’s candidates have done disastrously. Remember Jeb? Does anyone really think they have a chance in hell winning the election with Rubio? Hillary will cut him to pieces as she did “Little Ricky” what’s his name, who ran against her for the NY State Senate. I cannot even be bothered to look up his name.

      Everybody calm down. Trump has six delegates to Cruz’s seven. He is now going into parts of the country that are receptive to his message. He was never going to win Iowa. It’s full of Evangelicals, they really do exist, and they do NOT believe in the alt-right message.

      I’m laughing at the alt-right now. You guys don’t seem to take seriously the fact that there really is a vicious, anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi fringe who adores Trump, for all the wrong reasons. They’re not too happy now. I guess they blame it all on the Jooz, when it was really their fellow Christians who didn’t buy Trump’s message.


      February 2, 2016 at 8:17 am

      • I told ya so…to MaryK that her beloved greasball Cruz will win Iowa, because of its evangelical base.

        Arrogant Trump is too cockyservative for the polite folks in that part of the world. He’ll win in prole areas that border NAM dysfunction. Iowa is not one of them.


        February 2, 2016 at 11:52 am

    • I would have simply said, “no more Harvard or Yale law grads as President.” Don’t you think that, once in office, Cruz would “grow” at the urging of other HLS grads?


      February 2, 2016 at 11:05 am

  6. Skipping the debate apparently didn’t help Trump’s poll numbers in Iowa or nationally (although they did improve in NH).


    February 2, 2016 at 2:26 am

  7. I was right on this more than one month ago, predicting that trump should concentrate all his forces in Iowa instead of parading in media. He tried but too late and not hard enough …. I predicted that if he didn’t change, he would be dead, but i think he keeps having a tiny chance …. His future business is in danger. He was broken twice, and a third time isn’t excluded.

    Bruno from Paris

    February 2, 2016 at 3:11 am

  8. For the R side, I don’t have much to add to what’s been said. More or less as expected, though Rubio had a suspicious surge.

    For the Ds, it looks like Hillary robbed Bernie. She apparently won by a whisker with things like the following going on.

    … A total of 484 eligible caucus attendees were initially recorded at the site. But when each candidate’s preference group was counted, Clinton had 240 supporters, Sanders had 179 and Martin O’Malley had five (causing him to be declared non-viable).

    Those figures add up to just 424 participants, leaving 60 apparently missing. When those numbers were plugged into the formula that determines delegate allocations, Clinton received four delegates and Sanders received three — leaving one delegate unassigned.

    Unable to account for that numerical discrepancy and the orphan delegate it produced, the Sanders campaign challenged the results and precinct leaders called a Democratic Party hot line set up to advise on such situations.

    Party officials recommended they settle the dispute with a coin toss.

    A Clinton supporter correctly called “heads” on a quarter flipped in the air, and Clinton received a fifth delegate.

    Similar situations were reported elsewhere, including at a precinct in Des Moines, at another precinct in Des Moines, in Newton, in West Branch and in Davenport. In all five situations, Clinton won the toss.


    February 2, 2016 at 4:35 am

  9. Let’s remember pundits were saying Trump would go nowhere in Iowa, now they’re saying he’s a loser because he almost was first.

    Agree on the ground game as he needs to focus on delegates.


    February 2, 2016 at 4:39 am

  10. Although I’m happy that my prediction, a Cruz win, was correct, I’m also sad that my prediction, a Cruz win, was correct. I had a hope that Trump could pull it out at the last minute, although the only real stakes involved are bragging rights. That, and after half a year of polls, a poke at Trump’s invulnerability status.

    Didn’t see that good of performance by Rubio though. That settles the establishment election. It will be curious how Trump will go after Rubio. I don’t think he’s said anything about him yet.

    Mike Street Station

    February 2, 2016 at 6:40 am

  11. I think the biggest irony of the race thus far is Cruz. Here’s a guy who’s supporters give as a main reason for their backing that he is a true Constitutional conservative and yet he’s knowingly disregarding the Founder’s intentions with respect to natural born citizenship and eligibility to run for POTUS just so he can get his hands on power. And his supporters look the other way at this! Some of whom are supposed experts who make a living on radio. It’s supposed to be the liberals who cynically ignore the rule of law in favor of the will to power. The whole situation makes one want to throw up your hands and say the barbarian hordes might as well get on with the invasion and finish us off. And I don’t think we can just blame stupid evangelical Christians for this, Trump did ok with them last night. Mark Levin and many of his listeners are not evangelical.

    But I think Lion is right, Cruz isn’t going anywhere. He’s too smarmy for wide appeal. The big story was Rubio’s close third place finish.

    Andrew E.

    February 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

  12. Trump will get the same in each state if he has one opponent or 10 opponents. When these lower level candidates drop out, almost none of their support goes to Trump. He’s either your #1 choice or your last choice.


    February 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

  13. I think Trump is shaping out to be a factional candidate, not unlike Santorum or a more successful Ron Paul. His people love him with a fanatic energy, and the media overstates their relevance because they make the race seem more dynamic than it is.

    With Trump, you have two particular variables that distort the coverage in a sensationalistic direction: 1) his plurality poll numbers, which have always been the product of a divided establishment vote, 2) his pre-existing celebrity.

    Trump’s path to the nomination is looking less like some revolutionary sweep and more a long war of attrition in a close three-man race, in which he perhaps wins narrow plurality victories here and there.


    February 2, 2016 at 10:08 am

  14. Actual Question

    Is rubio close to being the front-runner almost entirely due to him having the best rank in hot-or-not? He flat out has the lowest academic credentials of the front runners.

    He did foosball in college, is the best facially and aesthetically. This over-performance is worth an analysis.

    He may over-take Cruz, a person with vastly different educational credentials (top debater, top LSAT scores, honors) simply due to being better looking, more stocky, and taller.


    February 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm

  15. The Republican party is still in the hold of Evangelicals, pro-lifers, etc. They didn’t get the memo that they lost just yet.


    February 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    • Second place in Iowa is actually pretty good for Trump especially as close as it was. A victory would have worried me given Iowa usually calls it wrong

      Pretty much no one, I expect including Trump himself expected a win anyway Iowa being very Cukservative at its roots.

      However if the GOPe does manage to get Rubio nominated , I suspect it will lead to either a Sander’s or Clinton presidency. Trump supporters aren’t going to allow the loyalty card to be played , Cruz is a wobbler, a few of us might vote for him though his Goldman-Sachs ties are not good.

      That said there are upsides to any of them Rubio or Clinton speeds up the apocalypse a lot Cruz is a slower apocalypse Trump a Hail Mary play and Sanders is giving America Social Democracy good and hard.

      A.B Prosper

      February 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      • Any thought on Scott Adams’ theory: that the results were fraudulent? I read his post, have absolutely no reason to believe them or suspect them, but as I think about it, I wonder…

        Short summary: the Republican results are essentially too convenient to not be suspicious. Trump loses ground, but not an excessive amount. Establishment candidate (Rubio) gains ground, but just enough to not be suspicious. Polling was off by a surprising amount.

        I have no reason to believe this theory other than it does sound awfully convenient and plausible.



        February 2, 2016 at 7:19 pm

  16. Cruz is no Sanatorum and no Huckabee. His views and voting record are identical to Rand Paul but he’s convinced that the christian conservatives have felt abandoned and therefore didn’t show up to vote in the last two general elections so he’s going out of his way to include them.

    Cruz is also the top fundraiser both in dollars and number of contributions and he’s built a national campaign organization. Those two were essentially using Iowa as a Hail Mary pass and then hoping it would generate momentum on it’s own, a very different approach from Cruz.

    Cruz, Trump, Carson and Paul are all competing for the non-establishment vote and this will push more of these voters towards Cruz. On the other hand Rubio will draw votes from Kasich, Christie and Bush towards. So which trend domindates? If you look at the NH polls from before Iowa, it’s 38% establishment and 55% anti-est, but Rubio is doing the worst. I can’t imagine the GOPe candidates dropping out before taking a crack at NH. They can all justify that NH is their trial.

    The big disaster for Cruz and Trump supporters would be a protracted 3 man race Cruz-Trump-Rubio. Unlike Cruz and Rubio, Trump has sky-high negatives among Republican primary voters so anti-amnesty voters really need to collectively decide between Trump and Cruz.

    Cruz is already 2nd place in NH so if you think winning in Iowa will hurt him, you’re smoking something. On the other hand, if Trump loses in NH then he’s really in trouble because it shows that people just support him because they like what he’s saying not because they want him to be president.

    So if you’re anti-amnesty then the best case is that either Trump or Cruz to collapses. Finishing 10 points below the last round of polls in Iowa has Trump halfway there. I’m hoping that Trump take the dive, that all of the random contradictory batshit that comes out of his mouth will cause more people like me — who were thrilled to hear him speak some simple common sense about immigration — to wizen up to the reality that he’s nothing more than bluster and hot air.


    Mercy Vetsel (@MercyVetsel)

    February 2, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    • Trump under performed per the last polls by 4 points and Cruz gained about 4 points in IA a caucus state where polling tends to be less accurate. In NH Trump has a 24 point lead over Cruz which means that if he loses 4 and Cruz gains 4 he still beats Cruz, who is in second place, by 16 points, a blowout.

      Reading much significance into IA is pointless given IA’s past irrelevance. Unless the polls start moving downward as of tomorrow (and I somewhat doubt they will) Trump will be back on top and the presumptive leader. Cruz would gladly trade his finish in IA for Trump’s projected finish in NH if he could, but he can’t.

      Cruz is still a long shot compared to Trump. Rubio’s the problem because the establishment senses strength and too many Rs are lemmings. I really, really, really hope Rubio gets clobbered in NH.

      BTW – I’ve been reading this SC site and they project confidence in Trump’s dominance.


      February 2, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    • Regardless – Cruz will lose the general. The end of the GOP is here. They are over. They just dont’ know it yet…

      Least Trump was a *relative* straight talker.


      February 3, 2016 at 12:29 am

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