Is the Iowa GOP fighting to stop Cruz or save their caucus?

posted at 6:41 pm on January 25, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Ted Cruz has had a rough time of it in the Iowa polling battle in the final days before the voting begins. After taking the lead in December, he’s been taking fire from all sides, including from inside the state’s GOP power structure. Just this week we saw Joni Ernst absolutely not endorsing but still hitting the trail with Marco Rubio. The state’s governor also wasn’t endorsing anyone as he clearly wants you to know, but he’d prefer that it wasn’t Ted. So what gives with the Iowa GOP? Do they really hate Cruz that much? Or are they trying to help either Trump or Rubio?

Maybe… but there’s another possibility that might make a lot more sense. As Charles C.W. Cooke points out today, what Iowa Republican leaders may fear more than anything else is the possibility of their caucus becoming totally irrelevant.

For years the line about Iowa has been that it serves as a natural corrective to elite preferences. Candidates have to go from town to town, talking to groups of voters as small as five or six, and make the case in humble settings that they deserve to lead the free world. In the 2012 cycle, Rick Santorum went from speaking to rooms full of empty chairs to toppling establishment favorite Mitt Romney in the caucuses and almost winning the whole darn primary.

But that’s the old thinking. The new conventional wisdom is that Iowa fails unless it replicates the national polls – so long as the polling leader loves ethanol. The mask has dropped. The rest of the country now should understand what has long been true. The Iowa caucus exists not to give underdogs a shot and introduce humbling direct contact between candidates and voters but rather to preserve Iowa’s outsized influence over public policy and public opinion.

To at least some extent that has the ring of truth to it. Iowa was allegedly the counterweight to New Hampshire, acting as a pair of battlegrounds where candidates with two very different natural constituencies might find some fertile ground and get their name out there. Unfortunately, Iowa’s batting average for picking the candidates who go on to win the nomination and the presidency (aside from incumbents, of course) hasn’t been all that spectacular. So maybe they are just trying to salvage the reputation and influence of the caucus.

But if that’s the case, why push forward anyone but Trump if you’re somehow convinced that Cruz can’t win? And while we’re on the subject, where did they come up with the idea that Cruz was out of the running? If he’s not the one to eventually find a way to defeat the Donald, who do they thing it’s going to be… Bush? Maybe Charles is on the right track with his thinking but we need to remember both the points he brings up. This could be a combination of factors playing out here. Sure, Iowa’s party leaders would like to pick a winner but it has to be someone sufficiently in debt to King Corn, and Cruz is still the “weakest” supporter of ethanol. Branstad isn’t going to forget that any time soon. But if they don’t produce a winner soon, people may just stop showing up and showering the state with attention every four years.

rubio-cruz


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Comments

slick teddy has no path to a national victory

Garyinaz66 on January 25, 2016 at 6:45 PM

For years the line about Iowa has been that it serves as a natural corrective to elite preferences.

This is such BS. Both parties should dump the caucuses and early primaries and have a one day primary. PERIOD. This gives ALL voters equal importance.

Of course, both the RNC and the DNC won’t because they count on money from the corn raisers…

ladyingray on January 25, 2016 at 6:46 PM

Filthy Donnie has no path to nation victory

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 6:47 PM

… or save their ethanol mandates?

ShainS on January 25, 2016 at 6:48 PM

Maybe… but there’s another possibility that might make a lot more sense. As Charles C.W. Cooke points out today, what Iowa Republican leaders may fear more than anything else is the possibility of their caucus becoming totally irrelevant.

You had an article a few days ago indicating that Iowa voters weren’t all that concerned with ethanol, even though GOP pundits relentlessly bring it up as being a “major” issue (and part of that “common wisdom” pundit idiocy is repeated in the referenced article), and I mentioned there was a severe disconnect between voters and the pundits.

Here too there is another disconnect. The Iowa GOP has displayed very little fear that its caucus is irrelevant. The notion, nay hope, that it will be irrelevant is the wet dream of establishment pundits and operatives who hate appealing to the the “rubes” out in flyover country. They’re looking for any excuse they can to dismiss its results as unimportant mostly because the candidates that win New Hampshire tend to come out a lot more establishment-compliant, this year notwithstanding, and so they want non-establishment candidates to never be able to build momentum.

Stoic Patriot on January 25, 2016 at 6:51 PM

Iowa Republican leaders may fear more than anything else is the possibility of their caucus becoming totally irrelevant.

Too damned late for that. That was proven when an unfit mouth-breathing moron like Trump gets traction for pandering over the absurd subsidies for growing corn and Ted Cruz is treated like a pariah for telling the truth about this scam that would go away once Iowa isn’t the first-in-the-nation primary focus.

I’m not for a one-day primary process but I am for some change to the system that doesn’t make insignificant states like Iowa and New Hampshire more important than they actually are. Neither are swing states. Their electoral votes in the general are already calculated. Who the hell cares if they love some other candidate in February?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:52 PM

¡La Jebita!has no path to national victory

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 6:53 PM

This is such BS. Both parties should dump the caucuses and early primaries and have a one day primary. PERIOD. This gives ALL voters equal importance.

Of course, both the RNC and the DNC won’t because they count on money from the corn raisers…

ladyingray on January 25, 2016 at 6:46 PM

That’s a terrible idea. Poorly-funded candidates with little media attention would then never have any chance. Having a couple of states that are small to kick things off require that candidates visit the states and meet with the voters rather than simply be spun by the media in a larger state where that sort of candidate-voter contact cannot be widely experienced by the state as a whole.

The establishment-preferred candidates already have the built-in advantages of an army of pundits at their disposal as well as a huge amount of cash, but neither of those are indicative of the qualities of a candidate himself and how well he will resonate with the people. Trying to change the process so that it further strengthens those advantages is a recipe for the party’s demise.

Stoic Patriot on January 25, 2016 at 6:54 PM

slick teddy has no path to a national victory

Garyinaz66 on January 25, 2016 at 6:45 PM

So, HYPOTHETICALLY, if I were to shoot a Trump supporter would anybody care. Seems to be a win-win situation. One less howler, a cleaner gene pool, and a boost in the collective national IQ. What’s the down side?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Rubolito has no path to national victory

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 6:57 PM

Of course, both the RNC and the DNC won’t because they count on money from the corn raisers…

ladyingray on January 25, 2016 at 6:46 PM

Having New York and California pick the nominee sounds a bit crazy to me.

Constitutionalist on January 25, 2016 at 6:57 PM

What’s the down side?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Quality of prison poontang drops when they throw your @ss in jail.

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 6:58 PM

Ethanol-money-jobs-ethanol-money-jobs-ethanol-money-jobs.

OBVIOUS!

gerrym51 on January 25, 2016 at 6:59 PM

What’s the down side?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

I thought the smelled bad on the outside!

-Han Solo

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Donald Trump Rally Farmington New Hampshire – 7:00pm Live Stream…
http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/01/25/donald-trump-rally-farmington-new-hampshire-700pm-live-stream/

Garyinaz66 on January 25, 2016 at 7:01 PM

The Iowa caucus exists not to give underdogs a shot and introduce humbling direct contact between candidates and voters but rather to preserve Iowa’s outsized influence over public policy and public opinion.

Let’s have a nice, big round of D’UH for this bit of revealed wisdom.

MJBrutus on January 25, 2016 at 7:03 PM

So, HYPOTHETICALLY, if I were to shoot a Trump supporter would anybody care. Seems to be a win-win situation. One less howler, a cleaner gene pool, and a boost in the collective national IQ. What’s the down side?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

You would have a new crowd to present your red ass to.

RickB on January 25, 2016 at 7:06 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Jazz do we need to put up with this kind of crap?

dougmva on January 25, 2016 at 7:06 PM

I’m ready to garyass most boorish hyper cultist since hagfish.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:07 PM

Vote for, that is.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:07 PM

So, HYPOTHETICALLY, if I were to shoot a Trump supporter would anybody care. Seems to be a win-win situation. One less howler, a cleaner gene pool, and a boost in the collective national IQ. What’s the down side?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

you really have melted down. At one time you were a happy nomad, a carefree hippy. Now, due to Trump’s success, presumably at the expense of Ted, you are a very angry hippy.

But still a hippy.

HugoDrax on January 25, 2016 at 7:08 PM

OT: Planned Parenthood Cleared, Anti-Abortion Activists Indicted

A Texas grand jury has indicted two anti-abortion activists in a case involving covert videos on fetal tissue procurement talks with Planned Parenthood and found there was no wrongdoing on the part of the health group, a district attorney said on Monday.

proverbs427 on January 25, 2016 at 7:08 PM

What’s the down side?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

That you’ve turned in to a total ass.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Trump wants to play it both ways:

Trump: Establishment is ‘against me’
(CNN)Donald Trump insisted Monday that the Republican establishment is against him, but conceded that party leaders are warming to his candidacy as a better alternative to rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential bid.
[..]
“I think the establishment actually is against me, but really coming on line because they see me as opposed to Cruz who is a nasty guy who can’t get along with anybody,” Trump said. “At a certain point you’ve got to make deals.”
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/25/politics/donald-trump-establishment-2016/

Torcert on January 25, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Dude.

See your doctor.

Dolce Far Niente on January 25, 2016 at 7:09 PM

This is such BS. Both parties should dump the caucuses and early primaries and have a one day primary. PERIOD. This gives ALL voters equal importance.

Of course, both the RNC and the DNC won’t because they count on money from the corn raisers…

ladyingray on January 25, 2016 at 6:46 PM

Having multiple days also lets you see how the candidates campaign and deal with different situations and arguments.

Tlaloc on January 25, 2016 at 7:09 PM

The rolling Primaries need to stop. Each State needs to get it’s act together and act like adults. A one or Two week Primary Season should be adequate IMO.

Johnnyreb on January 25, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Donald Trump Rally Farmington New Hampshire – 7:00pm Live Stream…
http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/01/25/donald-trump-rally-farmington-new-hampshire-700pm-live-stream/

Garyinaz66 on January 25, 2016 at 7:01 PM

I will vote for Trump but if that shit he’s spewing forth is a preview of what we can expect in the next four years, I’ll need a stiff drink to so that. It’s about as inspiring as eating a Spam dinner for a month in a row.

Rix on January 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM

5 months of primaries, 10 on the first Tuesday of each month (Feb through June) with the states for each month selected in the September before the primary season by lottery.

The primary system is well past time for reform

talkingpoints on January 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM

Jazz do we need to put up with this kind of crap?

dougmva on January 25, 2016 at 7:06 PM

First post is a howler monkey going off topic to attack Cruz. How long do we have to put up with that crap. My first post on this thread was relevant.

The howlers attempt to shut down any discussion that is contrary to the KHM’s talking points is what is disgusting these days. Trump says he can kill with impunity and he wouldn’t lose any support. I say supporters of other candidates can at least hypothetically opine on what shooting a howler would do.

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:14 PM

I loved this idea from over a year ago:

So sick of iowa in general. States should be ranked in terms of percentage of vote to the last presidential candidate. Most Republican voting first, least Republican voting last. Iowa would be 30th.

The feelings of a state that went for Obama should not lead off the Republican primaries.

Irritable Pundit on September 12, 2014 at 5:46 PM

ShainS on January 25, 2016 at 7:14 PM

5 months of primaries, 10 on the first Tuesday of each month (Feb through June) with the states for each month selected in the September before the primary season by lottery.

The primary system is well past time for reform

talkingpoints on January 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM

Survivor Big Brother Dancing For Americas Next Top Model President!

Constitutionalist on January 25, 2016 at 7:16 PM

That you’ve turned in to a total ass.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:08 PM

If that means being a critic of Trump and objecting to you howlers hijacking every thread then, yes, I’m a proud total ass. Civility went out the window when you howlers emerged on the scene. What’s the matter howler- thin skinned when it comes to the truth.

Seriously, you howlers are going to have your comeuppance and it won’t be pretty given just how nasty you’ve been for months.

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Constitutionalist on January 25, 2016 at 7:16 PM

Couldn’t be any goofier than the present system.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 6:52 PM

You really need to seek some help for your anti Trump issues. He is literally living rent free in your head.

Johnnyreb on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Couldn’t be any goofier than the present system.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

There should be one more in there, but I cannot think of the name of it. The wife use to watch it. Something about driving from place to place…

Constitutionalist on January 25, 2016 at 7:18 PM

Jazz do we need to put up with this kind of crap?

dougmva on January 25, 2016 at 7:06 PM

He was using an almost verbatim Trump quote.

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 7:19 PM

5 months of primaries, 10 on the first Tuesday of each month (Feb through June) with the states for each month selected in the September before the primary season by lottery.

The primary system is well past time for reform

talkingpoints on January 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM

What about DC and the other territories? And aren’t there 57 states?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:19 PM

dougmva on January 25, 2016 at 7:06 PM
If you have a compliant, go the tip line and e-mail there. Seriously, what Happy Nomad has been posting is very mild compared to what the more hard core Trump supporters have been posting on the Trump threads. The editors have made their choice here at Hot Air. I disagree, but they made the choice, and their bosses are backing them. Live with it.

flackcatcher on January 25, 2016 at 7:20 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Damn, either I am a Trump hatin’ nuball, according to garryass, or a howler monkey Trump cultist.

You have gone so over the cliff, you attack potential supporters.

So, what makes you any different than the fools who support trump no matter what?

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:20 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:14 PM

No, you calling for people who do not agree with you to be assassinated is totally on-called for.

dougmva on January 25, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Seriously, you howlers are going to have your comeuppance and it won’t be pretty given just how nasty you’ve been for months.

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

+100

It’s coming.

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Trump planted the seed of Iowan irrelevance. He was talking about that in rallies from a few weeks ago. Trump plants seeds, and they often bear fruit.

cimbri on January 25, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Seriously, you howlers are going to have your comeuppance and it won’t be pretty given just how nasty you’ve been for months.

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

+100

It’s coming.

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 7:21 PM

They will always have their paychecks. How many of them existed before January 2014?

Constitutionalist on January 25, 2016 at 7:22 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

It’s coming.

portlandon on January 25, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Nope, look at the handles. They are almost exclusively noobs who will disappear once this election season is over.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:24 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:17 PM

FYI, cozmo (who toggles between Cruz and Trump) is far from a howler and has been a leading critic of the Trump Boiler Room brigade thread hijackers …

ShainS on January 25, 2016 at 7:24 PM

Survivor Big Brother Dancing For Americas Next Top Model President!

Constitutionalist on January 25, 2016 at 7:16 PM

Big Brother Primary Edition is a system I would support. Put all the candidates in a house 24/7 and see how they get along with each other. The bromances, the alliances, the unfiltered view of the candidates. For example, how many voters would be turned off to find out that Chris Christie never puts the lid back on the peanut butter jar? One candidate gets voted out of the house by the public each week until we have a candidate! It sure would be more entertaining than to listen to Trump botch a serious question on nuclear deterrence because he’s a total idiot on the issues.

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:24 PM

OT: Planned Parenthood Cleared, Anti-Abortion Activists Indicted

A Texas grand jury has indicted two anti-abortion activists in a case involving covert videos on fetal tissue procurement talks with Planned Parenthood and found there was no wrongdoing on the part of the health group, a district attorney said on Monday.

proverbs427 on January 25, 2016 at 7:08 PM

One of Planned Parenthood’s BOARD MEMBERS works for the Harris county DA’s office, so ….

TopFuel425 on January 25, 2016 at 7:25 PM

No, you calling for people who do not agree with you to be assassinated is totally on-called for.

dougmva on January 25, 2016 at 7:21 PM

If the KHM can say it, why can’t I ask a hypothetical question along the same lines?

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Happy Nomad on January 25, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Because you’re better than that?

Well, you used to be.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

OT: Planned Parenthood Cleared, Anti-Abortion Activists Indicted

A Texas grand jury has indicted two anti-abortion activists in a case involving covert videos on fetal tissue procurement talks with Planned Parenthood and found there was no wrongdoing on the part of the health group, a district attorney said on Monday.

proverbs427 on January 25, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Without looking at the article first, let me guess: the Texas grand jury is in Austin.

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Without looking at the article first, let me guess: the Texas grand jury is in Austin.

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Damn I’m smart. :)

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Damn I’m smart. :)

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:28 PM

Not that smart.

Harris county is Houston.

Travis county is Austin.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Not that smart.

Harris county is Houston.

Travis county is Austin.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Article say Austin. ???

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:31 PM

TopFuel425 on January 25, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Always admired your defense of Palin, especially back in the day (via different nom).

Saw your criticism of Trump in an earlier thread and was wondering what you thought of her endorsement of Trump over Cruz. I was most disappointed …

ShainS on January 25, 2016 at 7:34 PM

Article say Austin. ???

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:31 PM

Yes, that is where the reporter filed the piece.

Grand jury is in Houston.

cozmo on January 25, 2016 at 7:36 PM

Article say Austin. ???

Magicjava on January 25, 2016 at 7:31 PM

The grand jury is in Harris County. The article was written out of Austin. So you were wrong.

proverbs427 on January 25, 2016 at 7:39 PM

Instead of taking the establishment meme about Iowa’s relevance, maybe Jazz can take the time to learn about it over at conservative review. An in dept article there demonstrates how Iowa has picked every President but one since 1992, and specific to the GOP, has either picked the GOP general election winner or picked their defeat. A likely Cruz win in Iowa will launch him to the nomination.

payday on January 25, 2016 at 7:59 PM

Stoic Patriot on January 25, 2016 at 6:54 PM

Then why not “rotate” the small states? There are more of them than IA, NH, SC and NV….

….if the true reason is to protect the voice of the small states…

ladyingray on January 25, 2016 at 8:16 PM

Having multiple days also lets you see how the candidates campaign and deal with different situations and arguments.

Tlaloc on January 25, 2016 at 7:09 PM

It actually means pandering to special interests instead of sticking to their convictions, if they even have any.

ladyingray on January 25, 2016 at 8:19 PM

This issue of the relevance of the Iowa caucuses seems to come up every 4 years and it goes back for many election cycles. There is nothing new under the sun. Trumpocalypse Now!

A.T. Tapman on January 25, 2016 at 8:32 PM

It’ll never happen because it’s too politically difficult to do, but I think it would be best if you rotated the first couple of states every four years. If you want to have Iowa and NH every other 4 years to keep them happy, fine.

And I do appreciate that these states are picked because they’re inexpensive and easy to get around. I appreciate the idea of retail politics rather than media buys. So just go to the states that are similar to that. Maybe use Delaware once in a while instead of NH? Maybe Kansas or Nebraska instead of Iowa?

asc85 on January 26, 2016 at 8:55 AM

slick teddy has no path to a national victory

Garyinaz66 on January 25, 2016 at 6:45 PM

The HA comment section has really gone downhill fast. This is lowest common denominator type stuff.

Oh how I long for the days when MM ran this blog and the never-ending advertisements weren’t Flash Crashing my computer.

ChowHound on January 26, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Trump wants to play it both ways:

Trump: Establishment is ‘against me’
(CNN)Donald Trump insisted Monday that the Republican establishment is against him, but conceded that party leaders are warming to his candidacy as a better alternative to rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential bid.
[..]
“I think the establishment actually is against me, but really coming on line because they see me as opposed to Cruz who is a nasty guy who can’t get along with anybody,” Trump said. “At a certain point you’ve got to make deals.”
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/25/politics/donald-trump-establishment-2016/

Torcert on January 25, 2016 at 7:09 PM

Unlike Cruz, the establishment sees Trump as someone who will play ball. Someone who will be willing to wheel and deal.

SGinNC on January 26, 2016 at 1:28 PM

Would it upset anyone’s applecart if I were actually FOR someone?

I actually like Gov. Christie. At least, he has relevant experience; and he isn’t flinging monkey sewage at the other candidates. If anything, he’s been calling them back on topic in the debates. That’s useful.

ReggieA on January 26, 2016 at 4:20 PM