Iowa: What To Expect On Caucus Night And After

There is no better moment to make predictions than hours before they can be tested. That in mind, what follows is my take on what we can expect to see on the the day of the Iowa Caucuses, and in the immediately following few weeks.

It’s critical to understand that we are standing on the precipice of a housecleaning. Iowa does not elect the president, but it does decide which candidates get to move forward. It’s time to lose some deadwood. Who knows, that fact might even provide a touch of spice to the coming debates.

My crystal ball:

Paul may eke a victory in Iowa with a small margin, but any tight finish is a win for Romney. Santorum will perform strongly, absorbing the last vapors of hope from the Perry and Bachmann campaigns. Gingrich will likely stay in the double digits, and will make vague shouts after the tally about staying in the race for the next few states. He probably won’t, as his fundraising will collapse following a fourth place finish.

Perry and Bachmann will both begin to look for an open door the very next day. Romney, ebullient after a strong finish in the first state (where he had been written off some hundred times in the last few months), will, in all likelihood, shortly pick up at least one of their endorsements. It will come down to monetary dance. Bachmann likely has enough debt that she is willing to go back on her previous sharp remarks on the Governor, provided he picks up her tab. Perry might have enough cash to close out his race sans the need to grovel. That will become clear once the numbers come out. However, given that his chance of endorsing Ron Paul is near zero, and with Gingrich set to fade away back to his Gollum-cave, his choices appear to narrow to one.

If he needs the money, expect him to say hello to Massachusetts quickly. If not, it could take time.

Paul’s campaign is geared up for the great spate of coming states, has the money to keep his candidacy going, and has more than enough of a volunteer base to keep pushing forward. However, once Romney locks up New Hampshire and does well in South Carolina, he will essentially be the nominee. Paul may force the longer slog, mostly because his base is unlikely to abandon him, even as the establishment coalesces around the only candidate that they ever found to be palatable.

At that point a two horse race is the reality (discounting Huntsman who is running, effectively, for the nomination in 2016 after Romney is womped by the sitting President), which will, after Romney locks down a host of delegates, culminate in a dull convention of broken dreams and bitter disappointment. Congratulations Mitt, you finally won. Not the general election of course, but you can count that your Wikipedia page will glom on a few new words.

And that’s that. The comments are yours: What do you see happening?

8 Replies to “Iowa: What To Expect On Caucus Night And After”

  1. I hadnt thought about Gingrich screaming about the people who tally the votes, but i should have when all he does is blame everyone else.

    Given the ceiling on Paul, I say Romney takes it. No one thinks Paul can be president except a few of his followers.

  2. The guy across the street has Ron Paul signs all around his seven acres. He also thinks Einstein was an idiot.

  3. ROFLMAO!!!

    That’s about par for the course, and reminds me of some of the Ron Paul supporters I’ve met!!!

  4. sorry if this the wrong place to post this.. but i keep having this fantasy.. i say fantasy no becuase its not doable, it could be done fairly easily by an organized group (anonymous comes to mind).. we on the left however lack the machiavellian nature of folks like Karl Rove..

    the recent revelations show the realative ease of hacking voting machines..can you envision Ron Paul, or indeed any Republican sweeping the primarys, in overwhelming numbers.. this would really ssrew up the plans of getting behind Willard at Tampa.. while it would be a dream running against one of the clowns… the real purpose of the excersize would be to make the Republicans admidt in public what the both know, and rely on .. the fact that voting machines are unreliable.. just a “dirty trick in pursuit of Justice

  5. And the eventual winner shouldn’t need, ask for, or welcome an endorsement after the dust settles from Sarah Palin.

    Isn’t it typical of her to not place her bet before the roulette wheel stops spinning? Memo to Sarah: you won’t win anything that way.

  6. I think that subverting the democratic process in the manner that John T describes is pretty revolting. We have a two party system for a reason, and it isn’t to give a particular clique or ideology two chances to con the public.

    That said, if I lived in an open primary state, I would vote in the primary if I were legally entitled, too.

    I would not vote for the Republican most likely to lose, instead I would vote for the most qualified candidate to serve the country as President.

    I am looking forward to voting to reaffirm my confidence in President Obama in November, but the attraction of having a viable option is undeniable.

  7. Until Thursday, I figured the Ronbots would arrive at the caucuses in sufficient numbers to push Ron Paul into the win position. The reported erosion of support of his support after the foreign policy debate, Santorum’s surge and most importantly the good doctor’s decision to take the weekend off and return to Texas make me think he might only show.

    Romney has consistently underplayed his expectations on Iowa and has kept his corps of supporters there engaged. He will almost certainly exceed the 25% support he got in 2008 by a couple of percentage points. That may well be enough to move him from show to win in 2012.

    Santorum should have owned the Iowa caucuses. He is a product of the evangelicals’ stealth movement in the 90s and has served near the pinnacle of power in Washington DC. The evangelicals slowness in warming to him looks from the outside like a very profound lack of conviction in their principles. This sense of the evangelicals’ loss of conviction is strongly reenforced by their fascination with the scurrilous Cain, the pompous Bachmann and the contemptible Gingrich.

    So on 1.1.12, I predict Romney win, Paul place and Santorum show. I used horse racing terms because the caucus results are non-binding, the convention delegates will actually be chosed at a GOP state convention later in the year.

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