Trump, the GOP’s spleen, is ripe for surgery
The Iowa caucuses might have been called the Iowa carcasses. Both parties saw a race between body parts: the head versus the heart.
On the Republican side, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won Republicans’ hearts. He dominated the vote among true conservative believers, evangelical Christians and Republicans who said they were looking for a candidate who “shares my values.”
But Cruz wasn’t the only Republican who did better than expected. So did Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the other Cuban-American in the race. Rubio’s appeal was to the head. He won college graduates and Republicans who wanted a candidate who “can win in November.”
Cruz looks like a believer. Rubio looks like a winner. What about Donald Trump? He did worse than expected. Trump dominated the polls going in and ended up as what he would call “a losah.” If Trump does worse than expected again next week in New Hampshire, where the polls have been showing him with an even bigger lead, his hot air balloon may burst.
You’ve heard of people venting their spleen when they get mad? Trump was the spleen in this race — ill-tempered and rancorous. In the end, he didn’t even dominate the angry vote. Republicans who said they were angry with the federal government split their votes between Trump and Cruz.
The spleen happens to be a body part that can be removed when it becomes a problem. Republicans may undergo a Trumpectomy before too long.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont captured the hearts of Iowa Democrats. Sanders dominated the vote among staunch liberals and Democrats who wanted a candidate they could swoon over. Democrats looking for a candidate who “cares about people” and who is “honest and trustworthy” went heavily for Sanders.
Young people are always the most likely to fall in love, and sure enough, they went heavily for Sanders. Among Democrats under 30, Sanders beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by six to one!
Democrats who wanted a winner went for Clinton. She won seniors, union members and partisan Democrats. The kinds of people who vote with their heads. Hard-headed Democrats concerned about the economy, healthcare and terrorism.
The Iowa results mean that the races in both parties could go on for a while. The Republican establishment is thrilled to see Trump get his comeuppance, but now they have a Cruz problem. Cruz’s radical views and uncompromising tactics horrify Republican insiders. Expect the Republican establishment to begin closing ranks around Rubio as the electable alternative. And throwing gobs of money at him.
Democratic Party insiders have the same qualms about Sanders. Sure he’s saying things that ought to be said and he’s much easier to warm up to than Clinton. But are Americans really going to vote for a 74-four-year old “Democratic Socialist” for president?
Sanders will very likely win New Hampshire next week because he’s a local. He comes from neighboring Vermont. But he may hit a wall when the primaries head South and West, where minority voters don’t know much about him. What they know is that a candidate named Clinton can be trusted to deliver. They vote with their heads.
The Iowa caucuses made one thing clear: Clinton is a stand-in for President Barack Obama. Just over half of Iowa Democrats said they wanted to continue Obama’s policies. Two-thirds of them voted for Clinton. But a lot of Democrats are disappointed with Obama because he didn’t deliver what he promised – “hope and change.” A third of Iowa Democrats were looking for a candidate “more liberal than Obama,” and they voted overwhelmingly for Sanders.
Expect the Democratic establishment to begin closing ranks around Clinton as the electable alternative. And throwing gobs of money at her.
If she wins the Democratic nomination, Republicans will use every opportunity to argue that a vote for Clinton is a vote for a third term for Obama. Democrats are hoping that Republicans will nominate Trump or Cruz – someone they can depict as risky or radical.
If Republicans end up nominating Rubio, the competition in the fall campaign is likely to be fierce and the result close. With more missing body parts.