Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Yes, Last Night Was a Good Night for Republicans

I'm not exactly happy to have to say it, but it's true. Josh Marshall is right that it was probably a better night for Republicans than Democrats.

"I believe the Republicans came out ahead in the Iowa Caucuses. If Donald Trump had won the caucus, he may have been able to close out the nomination battle by winning Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. But the Republicans now have a three-man race, and one of the candidates, Marco Rubio, would be difficult for the Democrats to defeat in November."

"The Democratic results – a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – suggests that the Democratic contest will go well into March. I love Bernie Sanders, and I think his campaign is making an enormous contribution to America’s future, but I don’t think he can win in November. He’ll run up against deep-seated skepticism about big government and tax increases. For the time being, he is too far to the left to win a national election unless he faced someone who was equally on the far right. And his age could also be a handicap."

"Rubio got all the late-comers to the election, and if you look at the difference between the final polls and the results, he seems to have shifted about six or seven percent of the vote from Trump to himself. Among the 20 percent of the caucus goers who put a priority on a candidate who could win in November, he got 43 percent of their vote. He did well among young voters, college-educated voters , moderates and somewhat conservatives. This bodes well for later Republican primaries in big states that Obama won, as well in the South, and also can make him a formidable candidate in November. Trump still has to be the favorite in New Hampshire, but Rubio could gain second place and find himself in a strong position as the campaign moves South. The Democrats should worry."
What made it a good night for the GOP was that Rubio considerably out performed the polls.

He gave a speech that made it sound like he came in first.

And of course, Nate Silver is now taking a victory lap thanks to Trump's allegedly disastrous night.

He did underperform some, but still got 24 percent which is a lot in Iowa a state not really ideal for him.

Is the Establishment out of the woods though?

Brian Beutler isn't convinced.

Trump still has a huge lead in NH. We'll see if the Iowa numbers change that at all.

As for Rubio finishing second, what about Cruz? He's currently in second in NH and now has a win at his back?

You also hear some GOP hot shots claiming that now there will be a call for other Establishment GOPers to lay off Rubio and even some to leave race.

But John Kasich ,Jeb, and Chris Christie all have put their eggs in the NH basket. None of them are happy about Rubio's high finish but none are going to leave prior to NH.

As for Jeb, he won't leave any time soon and will use all that money to do everything in his power to take Rubio down; he hasn't forgiven Rubio, his own time protege, for cramping his style in this race.

So the challenges to Rubio will be formidable.

Finally: will Trump start attacking Rubio? That has been a blindspot for The Donald. 


  1. Yeah, it certainly would have been better had Trump taken Iowa and if Rubio had been a more distant 3rd and had Clinton's victory been more decisive.

    But I don't see any huge changes in the dynamics, except that Trump had to swallow his kryptonite: being a loser. I hope he keeps it together.

    Would have preferred to see he and Clinton run the board, in a nice predictable boring fashion.

    1. Maximally boring = maximum entropy for me: no "interesting" and intractable high energy states to liven it up at all.

      Funny I've come to regard a victorious Trump as maximally boring, isn't it? Lol.

  2. HRC result was good. It wasn't a home run but it was good enough.

    For me, I don't mind Trump losing by a couple to Cruz. What sucks is how well Rubio did

    1. Plus there's a silver lining for me: seeing Coulter's angry tweets:

      Trump #1 amongst natural born candidates. Sweaty little Rubio. Lol.