More Questions And Few Answers After Iowa Caucuses

God told Iowa Republican Caucus attendees to elevate Ted Cruz to a narrow victory over runner-up Donald Trump and Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. The numbers were 28, 24 and 23 percent.

You know Evangelical hero Cruz, the Texas Senator. He’s the one who is so smitten with the Lord that he has pledged to repeal “every word of Obamacare.” Atta boy; let’s kill a bunch of people for want of being able to afford to go to a doctor until it’s too late and they die on the way to the emergency room. Only the rich deserve to live, right?

On the plus side, one time Iowa Republican caucus winner, Mike Huckabee has dropped out and insufferable egomaniac, Trump shed the mantle of invincibility with his second place finish. The man who always makes the right decisions made the wrong one in skipping the last debate.

Rubio with his fast-closing third place finish gives us the portrait of someone at least slightly ethically challenged and too lazy to attend numerous Senate votes. Apparently there were great matinees being shown on those days. Let’s face it, forcing an aging 44-year-old to labor 132 days for a $174,000 pittance is cruel and unusual punishment. Especially when there’s a campaign to be run forcing Rubio to miss 39 or 67 October – December votes in 2015.

On the Democratic side, former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State (too bad she’s not qualified) Hillary Clinton lost by winning. Hillary barely prevailed by an almost even split over Bernie Sanders by the narrowest of possible margins; a percentage of one point while forgotten candidate, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, actually floundered around zero percent for most of the night. Martin, MARTIN…go home already. A successful public service track record, grounded and intelligent ideas, an indefatigable campaign, a pleasant speaking style and decency coming out your ears, still earns you virtually no voter response. Wait for a Cabinet post.

The narrowness of the Clinton win once again proved that white “Good Ole’Boys” hate Hillary almost as much as Trump and Bill O’Reilly hate Megyn Kelly. The immediate road ahead for Clinton is New Hampshire, definitely Bernie country and essentially unwinnable for Hillary. A compilation of polls by HuffPollster shows Sanders with an average of 55.25 to Hillary’s 37.5. Maybe O’Malley will stick around for his 2.4%, a marked improvement over Iowa.

There’s very little turnaround time in New Hampshire. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9. Clinton and Sanders, presumably tied after New Hampshire, next hit the Nevada Democratic caucus, February 20. If far west polls are to be believed, Clinton hits the jackpot in Nevada, giving her a 2-1 margin going into the South Carolina Democratic primary, Saturday, February 27. Clinton steamrolls over Bernie in South Carolina as well. There’s an ambitious Bernie youth ground game in the state, but so far to little avail.

For the record, a week earlier, the Republicans have at it. Initial polling shows there is a Trump resurgence with wide margins separating The Donald and Cruz and Rubio. Whether those margins will hold now that Trump has proven less than inevitable remain to be seen.

Hillary Clinton should be in a strong position going into the definitive Super Tuesday, March 1 stampede. On that date 15 primaries and caucuses will most likely determine the final outcome of the primary season even though the last pre-convention breath isn’t drawn until the Washington DC Democratic primary, June 14.

It seems to be a three way battle for the Republican nomination. It also seems way too early to make anything resembling a final prediction for either party. How much of the Trump bluster and nonsense will stick to the wall? Will Rubio’s momentum carry him to the very top or will he fall back to the middle of the pack? Can people take Cruz/ acerbic personality for several more months? Is there any air left in such campaigns as Bush (who gets double digits in New Hampshire and South Carolina), Christie, Carson, Kasich, Fiorina, Santorum and Paul?

It is my considered opinion that you won’t have Santorum, Kasich, Fiorina and Paul to kick around anymore come Super Tuesday. Carson and Bush need an infusion of luck and money to stay viable. But who really knows? With a busload of Republican candidates, anything can happen. An attack of the type the late Lee Atwater used to specialize in could derail a hot campaign in a matter of days. An ill-advised opinion can end a presidential campaign in a sound bite. Mitt Romney’s father, George lost all his candidate mojo with these comments following a mid-60’s visit to Vietnam.

Sometimes an Iowa victory means something and paves the way to the White House. Other times, an Iowa victory leads nowhere. The aforementioned Huckabee and Rick Santorum both won Iowa in earlier campaigns. Santorum didn’t win the presidency that year and is a current bottom feeder while Huckabee has abandoned the current campaign trail. On other occasions, the winner in Iowa rides the victory all the way to the Oval Office.

The only thing that’s clear at this point is that the Iowa finish and sure loss in New Hampshire notwithstanding, Hillary appears to have the inside track to the Democratic nomination. I love youth Pied Piper Bernie, the populist reformer who disdains those who disdain everybody not worth a million bucks, and if all the stars align, could win. I think giant money and Wall Street connections still count for more than a deep sincerity of cause. Maybe next time, but it would take a minor miracle this time around.

For the Republicans, flip a coin, or a SuperPac because giant money defines their campaigns and their nomination will be decided by SuperPacs, not candidates.

The great unknown; if he’s behind, will Trump break his word and run as an independent?