5 Lessons from the Iowa Caucus

5 Lessons from the Iowa Caucus 

Posted: 2:11 am Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

By Jamie Dupree

From Des Moines, Iowa

After months of talking about the polls and theories on who would do what in Iowa, last night we finally got some concrete answers on the 2016 race.

Donald Trump lost – Since July, we had wondered what would be the downfall of Donald Trump. In the end, it was simply the people exercising the vote. Trump obviously did not have the ground game. He benefited from barely any negative attacks against him, and still nearly finished in third. Iowa shows that Trump is vulnerable, so more attacks against him might soon be in the works. And one more thought, maybe skipping last Thursday’s debate was not a smart choice.

Ted Cruz won – Cruz worked Iowa very hard for this victory, and deserves the full credit for going up against Trump. Not only did Cruz survive, but he won. Cruz should get a boost in New Hampshire from this victory, and maybe in South Carolina as well. He’ll be in both of those states on Tuesday. Cruz arrives there not having to worry about birther attacks by Trump – those did not ruin Cruz in Iowa.

Marco Rubio won by finishing third – Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I had said for days that I thought Rubio was getting momentum, but the polls did not seem to show it. Well, the polls were proven wrong and Rubio should get some momentum from this in New Hampshire. It won’t surprise me to see a boost in the polls and a lot more people at Rubio events this week. Think about how well Rubio did – even after having millions of dollars in negative ads dropped on him. His finish was not good news for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie or John Kasich.

Hillary survives in Iowa – That’s about the best headline she could get at this point, as Hillary Clinton eked out a victory over Bernie Sanders. It was not pretty for Clinton, but she tried to give a speech that sounded more like one in victory. “Wow, what a night! What an unbelievable night!” Clinton said; it was a line that didn’t seem to match what was happening in the vote totals. The narrow victory sets up what may be a rough and tumble debate between the two on Thursday in New Hampshire; Clinton is definitely the underdog in New Hampshire.

Bernie Sanders almost does it – Sanders fell agonizingly close to a major upset over Hillary Clinton in Iowa, but he can look forward to next Tuesday in New Hampshire, when the Vermont Senator will be the overwhelming favorite to win that state’s primary. For Sanders supporters, it was a major milestone, especially when one considers the extensive Clinton operation in Iowa. Sanders should be able to pick up more momentum in the Granite State before this battle moves south and west. Sanders isn’t going away.

Just as the Republican race is by no means over, same goes for the Democratic side of the draw.