Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. This week: dissecting the results of the GOP and Democratic caucuses in Iowa.
Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio can leave Iowa declaring a victory, which isn’t the case for Donald Trump, despite his consistent lead in the Iowa polls leading up to Monday’s caucus. What are the expectations for these three going into New Hampshire?
Before I get to your questions, here’s the one thing that is indisputable coming out of Iowa: Once again we’ve learned that almost all predictions of the 2016 race, whether by pollsters or pundits, are worthless. As of last weekend, Nate Silver gave Bernie Sanders only a 20 percent chance of taking Iowa. Trump was thought a likely Iowa winner by most everyone, including me. I will not make the mistake of predicting what will happen in New Hampshire, though it’s safe to say that as goes Iowa, New Hampshire does not. It’s hard to imagine Cruz winning there without the Evangelical base he had in Iowa. Indeed, Cruz’s Iowa victory may prove an anomaly in the overall presidential race, just as Mike Huckabee’s and Rick Santorum’s were in the past.
But whatever Cruz’s ultimate fate, the most important number in the GOP Iowa caucus results is this: If you add up the votes for the outsider candidates (Cruz, Trump, Carson, Fiorina), it amounts to 63 percent of the total. If you add up the votes for the Establishment candidates (Rubio, Bush, Kasich, Christie), it amounts to just under 30 percent. (The remaining 7 percent went to Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum.) This is a very angry, very conservative party.
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