Diary

FINAL FANTASY: 9 Days To Caucus

h/t @IAcaucus2016

Iowa Caucuses 2016

 

As I sit in my house starring out the window into a wintry oblivion clutching a 40 oz. of Bud-Light Lime and making my final picks for NFL Conference Championship games, two thoughts come to mind: 1) “Snow Regrets”

 

2) What will happen in Iowa in just 9 short days? How’s this thing going to go down?

We’ve reached the final stretch and the candidates are making their closing arguments to the Iowa electorate (except Rubio, who seems to have actually scaled back his ad push in the Hawk-Eye state in these last days). There is one last candidate debate scheduled on the Fox News Channel this week before voting begins, and then it’s in God’s hands. With that said, I submit my humble predictions for the approval of the Midnight Society… er, RedState.

DEBATE NIGHT

FNC has published the criteria for making the main debate stage. At this point, it boggles the mind as to why there is a separate undercard forum. Have we not heard enough from Rick Santorum yet to make a decision about him? I digress… Candidates will need to place in the top 6 nationally or the top 5 in Iowa or New Hampshire in an average of the 5 most recent polls in order to qualify. This means the final debate will likely feature the same candidates from the previous one.

 

Donald Trump will seek to halt Ted Cruz’s momentum in Iowa and come out on top. Since he cannot go after Cruz on actual substance, he will likely continue his strategy of personally attacking Cruz. If he succeeds, he may very well run the tables in Iowa and New Hampshire.

For his part, Ted Cruz must push back forcefully without dragging himself into the mud as well. He will almost certainly hone in on Donald’s continued support of ED (no, not erectile dysfunction) abuse. Cruz will also hammer Trump on his support for touch-back amnesty and single-payer health care. His biggest moment will come when he points out that the next president will likely get 3-4 picks for the Supreme Court. As Constitutionalist1776 has brilliantly pointed out here and here, Cruz is the only one who can be trusted to nominate real thoroughbred originalists to the court. As the master debater that he is, and knowing that this is his final opportunity to seal the deal, Cruz will not hold back. He’ll win the debate. However, Trump will not be necessarily harmed. He simply won’t gain support where Cruz will.

As for Marco Rubio, he might (amazingly) offer a completely new stance on immigration. He will talk faster than I can think in an attempt to sound firm and straightforward. He will almost definitely look to draw blood on Cruz. Although, given his everything-and-the-kitchen-sink strategy at the previous debate, Cruz may take the opportunity to preemptively strike. He did not get a chance to appropriately respond to Rubio last time. It won’t happen again. Look for Cruz to bury Rubio.

Ben Carson will likely use his opening statements to call for a moment of silence in honor of the tragic death of his campaign volunteer. After that, he’ll fall into obscurity, offering zero substance to the forum. He will spend the rest of the night telling the same exact joke about not getting enough speaking time. He will then laugh at his own joke. Repeat 100,000 times.

Chris Christie will do two things: 1) Go after Rubio and try to replace him as the Establishment standard bearer and 2) viciously attack the integrity of the office of Senator and the institution of Congress itself. He’s made clear on numerous occasions his disdain for Congress. In attempts to channel the justifiable anger towards particular Congresses, he trashes the institution. I’ve watched this before, and it’s both infuriating and mind numbing. We already have a president who does not respect Congress’ authority or the importance of a deliberative legislative body. We don’t need another one.

Jeb Bush will lurch over the podium and proclaim that he has ideas too.

John Kasich‘s father was a mail man.

 

IOWA – CAUCUS NIGHT

Many polls recently have shown the race tightening. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump fight for first place while Marco Rubio holds a distant 3rd followed closely by Ben Carson. However, as the great Steve Deace has pointed out hundreds of times, on caucus night the only thing that matters is organization. There is only one candidate with an organization strong enough to drive his supporters to commit to caucusing all day in snowy Iowa: Ted Cruz. Trump draws massive crowds to rallies, but numbers like that may only translate to victory in a primary system. Even at that, it’s very difficult to determine if those rally attendees are actual supporters, or merely there for the show.

Thus my final fantasy results for Caucus Night:

1st – Ted Cruz with 43%

2nd – Donald Trump with 22%

3rd – Ben Carson with 10.2%

4th – Marco Rubio with 9.99%

5th – Jeb Bush with 4.3%

6th – Mike Huckabee with 4.1%

7Th – Rand Paul with 4%

8th – Carly Fiorina with 3.9%

9th – John Kasich (father indeed was a mail man) with 1.5%

10th – Rick Santorum with 1.1%

100% precincts reporting.