The Fun Has Begun
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
The problem with the Iowa Caucus is that now the candidates, pollsters, and analysts actually have to deal with the voters who have messed everything up. All the prognostications, predictions, and money are down the drain and as the people now have gotten in the way. Everyone is now forced to spin for votes.
What Iowa demonstrated is that Hillary may well be campaigning very hard at least until Super Tuesday. She will have all the money she needs but if she wants to secure the election she needs to avoid being smashed totally in New Hampshire and then start cleaning up in Nevada and South Carolina. Failing that, Sanders could take her neck and neck to the convention. He will let his fans keep driving home that he represents someone to be trusted and it could force Hillary to get dirty. If Hillary does not hit her stride very soon she again will be seen as a loser. The Democratic Party may well then begin to consider looking for a savior to defeat an exciting Sanders campaign which cannot get elected in November.
Trump must win big in New Hampshire or else he will demonstrate that polls, bravado, and noise do not necessarily mean votes. Sarah Palin did not give his campaign a bump in Iowa and his absence from the final debate was not viewed favorably according to some exit (entry) polls. The man who never loses has got to win or even he may well start to squirm.
Ted Cruz had his night but that was not totally unexpected. He now needs to take his style and his message to many people who are far more negative on him than his evangelical base in Iowa. Undoubtedly he and Trump will start messing it up and both will gang up on Rubio, who in many ways was the Republican surprise winner last night, despite coming in third. If Cruz exceeds expectations significantly in New Hampshire, the Republican establishment indeed may develop a massive case of indigestion.
Rubio’s strong showing over the last week or so was very impressive. This strength will now bring in much more money as well as endorsements from the establishment while forcing many of the also-rans out after New Hampshire. If he comes in ahead of Cruz in New Hampshire he will be truly stirring the pot as all three head to South Carolina and then Super Tuesday on March 1.
The New Hampshire voters will have a Democratic Town Hall meeting to attend or watch on Wednesday night and a Republican Debate on Saturday night before Super Bowl Sunday. The election game, however, already has begun.