Nice showing for our 74-year-old “junior” Senator in Iowa. And boy, does he have more stamina than most people ten years younger. I loved the footage of him addressing a crowd of hundreds at FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING as he arrived in New Hampshire.
Anyway, my take on Iowa. I begin with my customary mea culpa when it comes to Bernie; I’m one of those who has underestimated him all along. And somehow, he’s doing quite well in spite of me. However, allow me to be consistent: I still think Hillary Clinton is the favorite.
On the Democratic side, the results were a victory for both candidates. Clinton got to claim the victory; Sanders did better than expected, and continues to ride a seemingly unending wave of momentum. He’s likely to win New Hampshire; after that, the going gets tougher. Bernie still has a very long way to go.
He has a momentum advantage. He’s also got a surprising asset for an insurgent: a healthy campaign fund and the closest thing to a perpetual-motion fundraising machine. Clinton won’t be able to outspend him into irrelevance.
There’s a tendency to overreact to the latest thing that happened. And Iowa, frankly, has a lousy record at picking winners. It is unrepresentative of the US as a whole, and demographically it favored Sanders. As does New Hampshire.
In short, the book is far from written. But again, Bernie is defying conventional wisdom, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept on doing so.
On the Republican side, my rooting interest as a liberal was maximum chaos. In that regard, I’m disappointed. Marco Rubio’s solid third-place finish wasn’t as impressive as he made it out to be; the impressive part was the margin between him and his fellow “mainstream” candidates — Jeb!, Kasich and Christie were mired deep in the single digits.
Rubio has a chance, right now, to become the only viable alternative to the freak-show tandem of Trump and Cruz. A good showing in New Hampshire could create a bandwagon effect among “mainstream” Republicans desperately hoping for someone — anyone — who can compete with Crump and Truz.
So, in the interest of maximum chaos, I’m rooting for a Trump victory in New Hampshire, a second-place finish by Cruz, and a four-way split in the “mainstream” vote creating an all-out mud-wrestling contest for the “mainstream” leadership.
And I put quotes around “mainstream” because, when you look at the policy stances of the “mainstream” candidates, they are all in Looney Tunes territory. None acknowledge the reality of climate change. All propose tax-cut plans that would raise the national debt by trillions. All seem anxious to plunge America into another pointless ground war or two or three. All ignore reality when it comes to immigration policy. And all are firmly in the back pockets of the oligarchs who seek to rule us all.
On to New Hampshire!