Something to Think About: The Iowa Caucus is (Maybe?) Important
February 3, 2016
After months of speculation, it finally happened. The Iowa caucus.
The caucus receives a lot of attention, mostly because it is the first vote of the election. But in reality, it isn’t very telling of the final the result. In fact, in the last two Republican primaries, the winner of Iowa did not go on to receive the nomination.
In an already confusing and abnormal election, no one really knew what to expect heading into the night. Here are the results:
So, the significance of these results is hard to say. Iowa is not the most representative state in the country and the caucus-goers are not entirely representative of Iowans themselves.
With all of that in mind, there are some important takeaways from Monday night’s election that speak to greater trends in the presidential race:
- Trump is not as invincible as people thought he was. This is good news for the anti-crazy, pro-rational-thought sect of voters. That is, until you realize that Ted Cruz was the one who actually won the caucus. Personally, it feels like we’ve dodged a punch in the face, just to get kicked in the gut. Neither Trump nor Cruz are names that I want to see on the ticket this fall.
- Iowans are feeling the Bern. Even though he technically lost on Monday, Bernie Sanders came out of Iowa with a huge win: a 0.2 loss to Hillary Clinton. His “victory” speaks to a greater frustration felt by liberals in the current political climate. If Clinton doesn’t want a repeat of the 2008 primaries (we all know who ended up getting that nomination), she needs to step it up in New Hampshire next week.
- The establishment is becoming irrelevant. All day Monday, the television pundits spelled out how a Sanders-Trump victory would be detrimental to the establishment. But despite Trump’s loss, this election still does not look good for the powers-that-be in the Republican Party. Although Cruz seems to be a more traditional candidate compared to Trump, his policies reflect the views of far-right. The establishment definitely has something to worry about here; Jeb Bush’s 6th place standing is evidence enough. Not to mention Sanders’ near victory over Hillary Clinton. No one would have seen any of this coming last July.
One thing is for certain: the 2016 campaign is unlike anything we’ve seen in the last decade. Yes, every election has its peculiarities (let’s not even talk about Bush v. Gore), but this year is likely to see a deviation from the establishment that will change the political landscape for years to come.
Isabel Giovannetti is a senior at Robinson High School. She loves politics and is part of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council.