Open Thread on results of Iowa Caucuses

I’m in one meeting after another this morning, so I thought I’d put this up so y’all can discuss the results without me.

There’s a lot to digest here, such as:

  • Is this the beginning of the deflation of the Trump balloon?
  • With his strong finish in Iowa and Tim Scott’s endorsement, can Rubio win South Carolina?
  • Hillary almost lost Iowa. She’s going to lose New Hampshire. Will her SC firewall be enough to stop The Bern?

Plus, a bunch of other stuff that isn’t occurring to me at the moment…

57 thoughts on “Open Thread on results of Iowa Caucuses

  1. Jeff Mobley

    •Is this the beginning of the deflation of the Trump balloon?
    I certainly hope so. Right now, Trump looks strong in NH, and that state has a proud history of not caring what Iowa did. Still, to the extent that Trump’s poll numbers reflect a perceived “inevitability factor”, they might start to come down a little bit both there and here in SC. Even if Trump wins NH, if there is enough separation among the rest of the field that a few more candidates drop out, I would think that can’t help Trump here in SC. Still, if there are at least two non-Trumps with perceived viability, he could likely split the vote and win here.

    •With his strong finish in Iowa and Tim Scott’s endorsement, can Rubio win South Carolina?
    Endorsing in a primary is probably one of the few things Scott could do that might somewhat diminish his astronomical favorability among Republicans. He must think it’s important. That carries some weight, in my view. But I think for Rubio to win, Jeb! would have to drop out or be rendered completely implausible. Right to Rise is only going to intensify its assault on Rubio as long as Jeb is in the race. And Rubio’s going to have incoming from both Cruz and Trump here, as well. The advantage Rubio has is that he really does seem to be able to appeal to voters in (almost) all of the various GOP “lanes”.

    •Hillary almost lost Iowa. She’s going to lose New Hampshire. Will her SC firewall be enough to stop The Bern?
    That’s a good question. I really have no idea, but as Sarah Rumph said:
    Republicans should say a prayer of thanks for Bernie. While he keeps it a close race, little incentive for Ds to mess w/our primaries. — Sarah Rumpf(@rumpfshaker) February 2, 2016

    Aside from my partisan interest, I frankly think it would be more healthy for the country to have a Sanders vs. non-Trump matchup in the general. The election wouldn’t be about emails, it wouldn’t be about a reality TV celebrity. Ideas and policy actually might make an appearance. It could be interesting, even educational. Now, on the other hand, depending on the non-Trump Republican, it could pose an environment that Michael Bloomberg or some other third party candidate (perhaps Trump) might not be able to resist.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      “The election wouldn’t be about emails federal felony-level criminal mishandling of classified information, it wouldn’t be about a reality TV celebrity. Ideas and policy actually might make an appearance.”

      Fixed it for you.

      1. bud

        Bryan thanks for reminding me that Hillary is probably the most well vetted candidate in history and nothing major has ever been pinned on her. The e-mail thing will turn out to be relatively minor as well. Remember Valerie Plame? Remember David Betray-US? Nothing much every came from those legitimate national security issues so why should this trivial file server thing ever amount to much. But that won’t stop Fox News and the rest of the vast right-wing conspiracy from trying.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          “The e-mail thing will turn out to be relatively minor as well.”

          I’m sure it will turn out to be minor for Hillary Clinton. It’s not a minor thing for national security. I guess it all depends on your point of view.

          1. Karen Pearson

            How was Ms. Clinton supposed to know back when she sent them that things that were not classified then would now be classified (recently classified)?

            1. Keith Marsh

              That’s precisely why all official correspondence must be made through a system that is maintained to be as secure as possible. You never know when one of the classification authorities decides some previous work should now be considered classified. You lose any kind of audit trail by using private servers.

              Having worked as an IT professional in the military, state government, and corporate worlds, this lack of awareness about the ease in which these materials can be taken boggles my mind.

              And no, I’m not picking on Hillary. I didn’t like it when I heard Colin Powell did something similar during his time as Secretary of State.

            2. Jeff Mobley

              In light of Mrs. Clinton’s numbing repetition of the legally irrelevant talking-point that the classified information found throughout her thousands of e-mails was not “marked classified,” it bears emphasizing that General Petraeus’s journals were not marked classified either. That did not alter the obvious fact that the information they contained was classified — a fact well known to any high government official who routinely handles national-defense secrets, let alone one who directly advises the president.

              1. Hillary Clinton

                Hey! That 10 lb. bag of cocaine that you found in my suitcase when I was going through Customs wasn’t marked cocaine!

                How was I supposed to know what was in there?

            3. Bryan Caskey

              “Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. NOCs are the pointy end of the CIA spear and they are always at risk of exposure – which is what Ms. Clinton’s emails have done.” –John Schindler

              Remember the first Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise? Remember the famous scene where he breaks into the CIA and comes down into the room on cables?

              The information that he’s stealing is the NOC list. That’s how freakin’ secret this information is. So you tell me, do you think this information was not classified at any point in time?

  2. Bob Amundson

    Brad will appreciate that John Hudak of Brookings suggests Secretary Clinton follow Toby Ziegler’s advice to Jed Bartlet (West Wing, second season): skip New Hampshire and focus on South Carolina. New Hampshire was Bartlet’s home state and Toby makes an important point: Bartlet can’t beat expectations, so spending the time and effort in New Hampshire might be a waste, as his performance could play poorly in the media.

  3. Mark Stewart

    Clinton once again proved why I despise her – both the Clinton’s actually; but Hillary even more so. She barely escaped in Iowa; trumpeting her “win” is so tone deaf and plastic. It’s like she knows she can’t win on likeability, so she is going to try to steamroll inevitability. And what has she ever done for any of the citizens of SC? She doesn’t “serve” the majority of SC Democrats; she just uses them as a step stool.

    On the Republican side, oh boy, what a mess. Cruz is the only one in the race who makes Hillary look likeable. The funniest moment of the campaign so far was Huckabee’s withdrawal announcement. I don’t like his pandering politics, but there is an honestly likeable guy. He’s got a gift for connecting with people, whatever the junk that he says.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, as for Hillary…

      It was interesting that she said last night she was breathing a sigh of relief. That shows just how worried she was about losing both N.H. AND Iowa…

    2. Lynn Teague

      What, pray tell, should she do to “serve” the majority of SC Democrats that she didn’t do? As First Lady? As Senator from New York? As Secretary of,State? I’m genuinely curious, it is an interesting comment.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Well… National Democrats tend to forget about South Carolina, once primaries are over. Hillary may have “served” South Carolinians because we are Americans, and she served the country. But South Carolinians specifically? Not so much…

        1. Lynn Teague

          Not really in her job description so far to single out Democratic voters in SC for service as far as I can see. So, it may be true, but it is hard to make much of it.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              You know that super-cute girl behind the counter in that clip (and for those of you who don’t know what “cute” means, here’s the explanation)?

              I was watching “Animal House” again recently, and it occurred to me to wonder what in the world happened to that girl — she was so appealing, and after that and “Caddyshack” she just disappeared. Well, in these days of IMDB and Google, I don’t just sit and wonder. Wikipedia says this happened:

              “Sarah Holcomb’s (Clorette DePasto) four-year film career ended with Caddyshack in 1980. She reportedly turned to alcohol and drugs and slowly lost touch with reality as she suffered from schizophrenia. The 2004 film Stateside is reportedly about her descent through alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse, and finally mental illness. She is now living a quiet, obscure life far from the madness of Hollywood under an assumed name and does not wish to be found.”

              Makes that whole “joke” of her being deflowered by a frat boy at 13 a lot less funny, doesn’t it? She was only 18 when she shot that, by the way.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Oh, certainly. And I am a huge opponent of the idea of folks voting for someone according to “what she’s done for ME.” It’s insupportable, as my role model Mr. Darcy would say.

            I was just sketching out why someone who DOES think that way might not see her favorably…

          2. Mark Stewart

            My point was less literal: What are the agendas that Hillary has supported which are of benefit to the Democrats of SC? I’m not taking platitudes and promises; I’m talking legislative action.

            Hillary is Wall Street and the Establishment. And pay to play. No offense to anyone, but hardly anyone (especially Democrats) in SC move in those circles.

            In full disclosure, I voted for her as my Senator in NY in 2000. She did a fine job representing my interests…

              1. Mark Stewart

                Yes, true. Even then.

                Rick Lazio from LI was the other choice; who was the infill for someone (Giuliani) I despise even more than Hillary.

            1. Lynn Teague

              I’m just going to run along now and skip the rest of this discussion before I slip up and say something wildly indiscrete about my perception of South Carolina’s political parties, both of them, and what is owed to them. Parties, mind you. There are some very decent individual people, but the parties (and no small number of the people in them) are another thing altogether. At least it makes my life as an advocate for a non-partisan organization easier, since I don’t see any compelling evidence that one party or the other deserves my slavish devotion. (And yes, I know that Brad will be with me on this one.)

              1. Brad Warthen Post author


                Especially this part: “There are some very decent individual people, but the parties (and no small number of the people in them) are another thing altogether.”

              2. Bryan Caskey

                “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals.” -Ernest Hemingway (probably)

  4. Chris McCormick

    I don’t know when our fair state has been pivotal in the past (Brad?), but I think that SC may play the most important role it’s *ever* played when the Dems have their primary here. Bernie will handily win NH and that will be dismissed as “local son.” Nevada is an unknown until we get some polling, but will probably be pretty close, and will anyway be dismissed as well, due to almost no black voters. Everyone is already looking at SC. I expect SC to tighten up considerably when the campaign focuses here (there have already been a couple of minor Hillary defections to Bernie), maybe enough to make for an exciting race. Some of my radical black friends in Columbia, who initially dismissed Bernie as yet-another-old-white-guy, are now actively stumping for him. One friend of mine has been lobbying for *years* on the issue of the industrial prison complex, and has never trusted a politician on this issue. He met with the Sanders campaign a few months ago, and is now convinced. Nobody convinces this guy; I was amazed.

    On the Republican side, I think Rubio’s going to take it (the overall nomination) once Kasich/Christie/Rand/Jeb! drop out and he gets 90% of their supporters. Cruz didn’t win *nearly* the proportion of evangelicals everyone predicted; how much of that bulwark can Rubio chip away in SC? Should be fun.

    1. Chris McCormick

      Going along with the importance of this state this go-round, especially with black voters, I really would love to know what Warren Bolton is hearing out there…

    2. Phillip

      NH win or not, “momentum” or not, I still don’t see any way that Sanders wins SC or even makes it that close, Chris. Closer than it is now, sure. It does amaze me how many Bernie signs I see driving around Shandon and Rosewood (of course, a totally unscientific sampling) compared to Hillary signs or even GOP candidate signs. I mean, he’s a “socialist” for goodness’ sake (social democrat, really, but he’s certainly broken many “taboos” and “third rails” in presidential politics, it seems).

      But I also have a feeling that many Hillary supporters are not quite enthused enough to put a sign up in their yard for the primary, not as passionate as the Bernie supporters.

      1. Chris McCormick

        Agreed that it’s a long shot, though I quibble with putting “momentum” in quotes. Bernie will get a lot more favorable coverage now (if only because the illusion of a fight helps ratings), and I think (from my white guy armchair over here) that the biggest obstacle to black votes for Bernie is that folks just haven’t gotten to know him yet. The reflexive opinion against an old Jew from Vermont has to be worn down by seeing him in action. Debates on 2/4 and 2/11, this result followed by a likely large victory in NH, face time in SC accompanied by Walter Scott family lawyer(and state rep.) Justin Bamberg – it will all help.

        Still a long shot, though.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Why Hillary stuffed the Democratic debates into the Saturday evening time slot – to keep Bernie out of sight.

          Biden missed his chance to snag it all.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Now, now, in Hillary’s defense…

            One of those debates was sponsored by The Des Moines Register. I happened to cover the Register’s Republican debate in 1980, as I’ve mentioned many times (my brief foray into national politics as a reporter, before I crossed to the dark side and became an editor). And that was on a Saturday night, if I remember correctly. Newspapers don’t (or didn’t back then) care about national TV audience; they care about single-copy sales on Sunday.

            Come to think of it — when was the Register’s GOP debate this year? Was it nationally televised? I think I missed it… Was it last week’s? If so, I saw no indication that the paper sponsored it. I thought that was a Fox production.

            Here I am on that trip to Des Moines, talking to Howard Baker. I’m the (relatively) tall one…


            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              The reason I keep telling the same reporting stories over is because I don’t have all that many.

              I was only a reporter for a couple of years, and an editor for three decades after that.

              But I’m not the only one recalling halcyon days… I see James Gannon wrote a piece last week, in which he reminisced about that very same debate in 1980:

              Trump’s bizarre pull-out of the Fox News debate hit me with a jolt of déjà vu because I lived through the same scenario in 1980, when I organized and moderated the first nationally-televised Iowa presidential debates as executive editor of The Des Moines Register, sponsor of the event. Then as now, there was a large field of GOP candidates led by Reagan, the California governor who had nearly wrested the Republican nomination from President Gerald Ford in 1976.

              Like Trump, Reagan was the front-runner, with support scattered among another half-dozen contenders. Most of them jumped at the chance to debate in Des Moines’ Civic Center on Jan. 5, 1980, before 2,500 Iowa Republicans and a national TV audience. But Reagan’s campaign managers were downplaying the importance of Iowa, so he announced weeks in advance that he would skip the Des Moines debate because he didn’t like to see Republicans criticizing each other.

              Gannon… I haven’t heard that name in 30 years. A presence I’ve not felt since…

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              The point of Gannon’s piece was to predict that Trump’s failure to show up for last week’s debate would lead to Cruz winning Iowa. Which happened.

              His point in mentioning the 1980 debate was that that’s what happened then. Reagan was the front-runner and refused to participate in the Register’s debate.

              I, and others, wrote that Reagan clearly hurt himself not showing up, although I didn’t have the nerve to predict he’d lose Iowa — which he did.

              Personally, I’d rather not stress history repeating itself, because, even though Bush beat him in Iowa, you know who ended up winning the election in 1980…

            3. Bryan Caskey

              I looked at this picture for a good 30 second before I realized that was you in the foreground! I was looking in the background cluster of three people thinking: I don’t see Brad in that picture anywhere.

              And then, Oooohhhhh. /lightbulb

              The hat and the beard really threw me.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Griscom was also a flak for R.J. Reynolds, and, off-and-on, a prominent Tennessee journalist… Very interesting career. Great fodder for conspiracy theorists…

        2. Doug Ross

          “that the biggest obstacle to black votes for Bernie is that folks just haven’t gotten to know him yet.”

          The strategy Sanders should take for black voters in SC is to ask the simple question: “Were the Clinton years of 1993-2000 the best years of your life so far?” If not, why not try someone else?

          1. bud

            Doug, that would be a terrible strategy given that the Clinton years probably were the best years for many, many people in this country.

  5. Dave Crockett

    I just hope this may be the beginning of the end for the Trump scourge. Not sure which Republican will get the final nod, but at least the U.S. may not be the laughingstock of the planet with a Trump-Palin or Haley or whomever(??) GOP ticket. But it ain’t over yet…

    On the Democratic side, I’d personally love to see us elect our first woman president…though I’m certainly skeptical that Hillary is THE woman who can or should pull it off. I’m not real hot for an old/Jewish/Socialist-leaning president at this point, either, but I don’t dismiss him at all at this point. If he does get the nomination, a lot for me may hinge on his VP selection, given my admittedly ageist description of him. Hey, I’m 62 and just a kid…what the hell do I know?

    But I’m rooting for the Panthers on Sunday!

  6. Phillip

    Dave, how about Julian Castro as a running mate for Bernie? He’s young, and thinking about those already freaked out by Bernie’s “socialist” leanings, wouldn’t that sound hysterical to have a “Sanders-Castro” ticket?

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    SC Democrats respond to Scott’s endorsement of Rubio:

    SCDP Chair Responds to Tim Scott’s endorsement of Marco Rubio

    Columbia, SC – South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison issued the following statement in response to SC United States Senator Tim Scott’s endorsement of GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio.

    “Tim Scott has turned his back on South Carolina time and time again, and now he’s endorsing someone who will do the very same thing: Marco Rubio.

    “After South Carolina’s worst flood in 1,000 years, Tim Scott voted against providing necessary federal disaster relief funds to communities in dire need of help. Why? To prove he’s just as conservative as the increasingly extreme field of Republican Presidential candidates.

    “But Sen. Scott and Sen. Rubio are two peas in a pod. They’ve both shown time and time again that they fail to understand what Americans want and need. Rubio’s priorities are so out of whack that he couldn’t even be bothered to show up and vote on the flood relief bill, and our South Carolina Senator thinks that’s who deserves his endorsement.

    “As disappointing as their actions are, they are representative of the stark difference between the priorities of Republicans and Democrats today. Republicans are intent on keeping opportunity, influence, and wealth to themselves, while Democrats are intent on building a stronger middle class for a country in which opportunity is limited only by how hard you are willing to work.”
    # # #

  8. Harry Harris

    I still believe Trump has hit his ceiling, stretched it upward a little, but still cannot win the nomination. As I’ve said before, I don’t think he wants it. He’s neither qualified nor would want to be President. There are only about a third of Republican voters willing to go all in with a bomb thrower whose support is based on disrespecting and blaming “those people.” Another portion of Republican voters are winnable by scare-mongering and tough talk about America throwing our weight around (killing, carpet bombing, bombing the **** out of somebody, capturing and sending to Guantanamo). I think the bulk of Republicans will eventually coalesce around Rubio and promote him as the youthful future. Cruz is just too harsh to get much traction beyond the haters. Iowa not reflective of the country.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I certainly hope you’re right, Harry. Everything you say makes sense. But polls have shown folks not making a lot of sense the last few months.

      Maybe, as many have hoped, they’ll start settling down and being rational now that actual votes are being taken…

  9. bud

    I watched a couple hours of TV coverage of the caucuses last night and found them absolutely fascinating. Why don’t we do more of this? I don’t think it would be a good idea to have one in every state but for a few it serves a useful and informative purpose. I watched as regular voters passionately tried to convince the un-decideds to voter for their candidate. There were no high profile pundits presenting bland statements. No representatives from any of the parties twisting arms. No journalists explaining ad-naseum what someone just said. Just regular folks engaging in politics. At one point a young lady suggested that a particular policy measure would be f***ing terrible. And it wasn’t bleeped! (The network issued all kinds of unnecessary apologies) That type of raw passion shows a healthy exchange of free speech absent the filters of the various policy spinning by the so-called experts. It kind of reminded me of a gigantic jury trying to reach a verdict.

    1. Doug Ross

      No one. They (and I) will likely vote for the true Libertarian Party candidate. Because we have basic principles that are not embodied in any of the pandering, hypocritical, corrupt ego maniacs who remain in the race. You Democrats and Republicans can take solace in knowing that whomever is elected will continue doing 90% of the same stupid things the other party would do. War, an unnecessarily complex taxe, spying on citizens, inefficient bureaucracies, Common Core, allowing illegal immigrants to drain resources that they aren’t entitled to. All that good stuff you keep supporting.

Comments are closed.