In the Iowa Caucus, a smiley face and a gold star for everyone

Donald Trump after giving "concession" speech at Iowa Caucus

Donald Trump after giving “concession” speech at Iowa Caucus

Last night’s Iowa Presidential Caucus gave all the front-runners in the Democratic and Republican Parties something to smile about. At least, the Caucus results gave each of the following campaigns something to spin positively about:

Hillary Clinton — On a night that saw Clinton win the narrowest of victories in Iowa, Clinton told her supporters that she was “breathing a big sigh of relief.” Going forward, Clinton knows well that presidential nominations are about delegate counts, and cold math. 2,382 delegates are needed to win the Democratic nomination. Here, Clinton is currently ahead, both after Iowa and as to “Super Delegates” (who are not tied to primary or caucus results) pledged to her.

Bernie Sanders — Bernie apparently came up a few votes short in Iowa, but can say he stood toe to toe with Hillary Clinton and ended up nearly tied. In truth, Sanders had to do well (and arguably win outright) in Iowa, given that its demographics are tailor-made for him. Other than his state of Vermont, it’s not clear how Sanders wins states after New Hampshire, which is also an outlier with 94 percent white population. In any event, along with Sanders’ new-found national stature could come increased scrutiny and vetting by the mainstream media that has vetted Hillary Clinton for 25 years.

Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz — He had big success in beating Donald Trump in Iowa last night. However, given the GOP primary electorate in Iowa which is made up largely of conservative Evangelical Christians, Cruz’ victory as the most blatantly religious of the Republican front-runners perhaps wasn’t so surprising.

Donald Trump — Although Trump is technically the biggest loser of the Iowa Caucus among the front-runners, he gave an uncharacteristically gracious “concession” speech, even praising winner Ted Cruz. Trump spun his performance by saying, “we didn’t lose, though. Trump doesn’t lose. We raised some big issues.” Moreover, Trump came in second without showing off much ground game organization, in a state where ground game is considered crucial. Plus, Trump is still well ahead of his rivals in national polls, at least for now, and can regain momentum if he wins the New Hampshire primary just seven days from now, as he is still favored to do.

Marco Rubio — He’s the Republican establishment media darling. That means that Rubio’s third place finish, coming very close to Trump, was portrayed as a win. Moreover, those transfers of wealth for which Republicans are famous may now occur from GOP establishment donors of John Ellis Bush — who seems finished in the primary race — to Rubio. At the same time, Trump still leads the most recent polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina, thus Trump and Cruz may cannibalize each other in the so-called “outside Republican lane” and leave Rubio standing on the inside.

In short, while the Democratic primary race may be wrapped up by mid-March, the Republican primary race may go on for quite some time, especially as primary losers keep perfecting ways to spin their losses into wins.

Photo by Max Goldberg, used under Creative Commons license.

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