Monday, February 01, 2016

2016 Iowa Cattle Call - A Rough Cut

Here is my take so far on Iowa

1. Ezra Klein had said already and many others: once the invincibility cloak of Trump is shredded; chances of 'all down hill' from there are high. So we all may be seeing the start of Trump descend and that is a sigh of relief to America and to GOP especially.

2. Trump might have lost in another way too [a]: over 60% of Republicans in Iowa voted to a Cuban American or to an African American (among Cruz, Rubio and Carson). Yes, nomination contest is a long way and deeply racial states like South Carolina, Mississippi and their Southern Brethren are yet to vote where Trump will do well. But the start is not so great for 'white ethno-nationalism' implicit to Trump campaign and others in GOP who support such thinking. 

3. Israeli hack Jennifer Rubin at Washington Post will be simultaneously happy and unhappy. Happy because Rubio did so well, unhappy because her bete noire Cruz actually won Iowa caucus. That is just how convoluted punditry on Right side is on these matters. (Or is that how confused Jennifer Rubin always?)

4. Not necessarily I buy Clinton Campaign spin here that "Bernie Camp had projected win if there is a high turnout; but in the end despite the high turnout HC prevailed". But I am with Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg - in the end Hillary will prevail as more Southern State primaries start. So one speculative thought - will Hillary choose Bernie as her VP candidate given the strong 'market' for Socialistic ideas with Dem Voter Base? I think no, if Rubio or Cruz is the eventual GOP nominee (Iowa showed it need not be Trump); she will least afford to pick anyone apart from Julian Castro. That is just the way arithmetic of Hispanic Vote Block would work.

5. Which all means, it may be the last time we will be hearing Hillary saying "she is for universal health care" as she did in her Iowa victory speech. That was the nod to Bernie. Which also means, as Bernie would fade[b] in later part of the race; we will hear much less about Income Inequality or shenanigans of Wall Street Bankers. Between pet nominees Rubio and Cruz on ascend and opponent Bernie slowly fading; big boys of Wall Street will have a sigh of relief too. It may not be all Hillary's fault, but when your GOP opponents are all going to talk about "tax cuts for rich, death to ObamaCare, carpet bombing till sand shines in desert at night" she will have to project herself as the only 'savior' which stands between barbarians at the gate and Obama's achievements. That is the battle she will be forced to play and not the battle against Bankers which Bernie plays now. Well, that is America's tragedy, but I guess we common Americans will manage to scrap through that too. 

6. Finally, it is possible that Cruz owes his victory to the Big Data / Analytic firm his buddy runs. That may be Cruz's the secret weapon. Others will realize soon, but we will see who adopts that and pays hefty dollars for it. Trump famously relied upon his celebratory status only. But now that he has seen limits of that in Iowa, it will be interesting to watch whether he adopts Analytics or not - he has millions to spare. With Hillary and Dems, they still do not give the confidence that they have mastered the art of Big Data as like Obama deployed.....in so many ways, Hillary is still a weak campaigner even though her ground game in Iowa improved lot compared to 2008 humiliation.

7. One thing we will have to give credit to Sen. Ted Cruz for - he did not pander infamous Ethanol Industry of Iowa, knowing fully the political cost. Trump tried to play on that as well as on Cruz's Canadian birth. But it seems like Iowans either did not notice these issues sufficiently or simply ignored those arguments. Considering the overall enthusiasm shown by Iowa's caucus goers, it seems unlikely that most voters would not have heard the Trump arguments in these regards. On that possibility it is encouraging that Iowans, and potentially many other American Voters in all other states, show openness to policy ideas which do not necessarily fit the standard political straight jacket.[c]

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[a] - As reported by Ed O'Keefe of Washington Post on Twitter.

[b] - Not soon, Bernie will peak in NH next week and till then he will raise Millions and Millions on the force of Iowa showing.

[c] - Hence Matt Yeglesias needs to gloat less about how crazy Cruz ideas are.

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