Iowa Caucus 2016: A Raucous Affair

Iowa: Only the Beginning

Iowa: Only the Beginning

Brian Kehoe

With a presidential election rapidly approaching, campaign fever is once again sweeping across the nation. This year a record number of viewers sat in front of their TV’s to watch debates and rallies charged with political opinion, controversy, and jaw-dropping statements that were unlike anything the country has ever seen. Along with popularity over the debates, February 1st marked the Iowa Caucuses, which drew record shattering amounts of Iowan voters to weigh in on the current standing of the potential presidential candidates. While the result of who “wins” or “loses” the Iowa caucuses has no direct bearing on a party selecting a candidate, the candidates who can emerge successful from the Iowa caucuses and receive a large percentage of votes are at a slight advantage. They receive large amounts of positive media coverage, and have demonstrated to their respective parties in an election-like circumstance that they have adequate support from the people.

The Iowa Caucuses this year set an interesting precedent for the coming months before the primary election. On the democrats side, Hillary Clinton narrowly won against Senator Bernie Sanders, edging him out by only .3% in the vote which came as a surprise to many political analysts who thought that Hillary was the dominant force by an overwhelming majority, when in fact Bernie Sanders has proven himself to be a worthy competitor to the veteran Clinton. The candidates who didn’t do so well, namely Martin O’Malley decided to resign his campaign following the caucus due to the infinitesimal amount of votes that he received. While this is an unfortunate occurrence, neither the public nor the media was surprised by his resignation.

Regarding the republicans, there were eleven candidates representing the GOP in Iowa this year. Despite this, the vast majority of the vote was shared between the top three candidates, Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Senator Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz won by more than 3% to his runner-up Trump. Trump was expected to perform better; he had been pandering to the conservative nature of Iowans for weeks before the Iowa caucus began, yet he was almost demoted to third place by his close competitor Marco Rubio. The Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, was essentially the underdog of this story, polling far lower than has competitors and yet,in the end, receiving 23% of the vote, more than double the fourth place competitor Ben Carson and not far behind Trump. This intrigues many political analysts who say that Rubio may be a stronger candidate then was previously thought, and that Trump’s incredible popularity and media attention may be divided amongst the other contenders in the race who have yet to prove themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

The 2016 Iowa Caucuses provided an insight into an exciting race that will surely play out ovedr the next ten months. While the race could change at any time, the Iowa Caucus has helped to begin to weed out the weaker competitors while revealing which candidates truly have a fighting chance at becoming the next American President.