Prediction – Iowa Winners Will Be: Cruz and Sanders

The big day is finally here.

Iowa again marks the beginning of a new beginning (as President Obama cannot run for office again) and with that, Americans will be subjected to an exhaustive gauntlet of campaign ads, calls, and donation requests.  Iowa also marks the point when we, as Americans, start to get some real data about who the next leader of our country will be.

Prior to actually voting for someone, all we have had to go on are the polls conducted by research groups and media organizations.  While these polls give some insight into the general state of mind of American voters, we have also seen that one debate performance can launch a candidate into a leading position for a time being.

This is especially true with the leaderless Republican party.  Through the summer and fall, Republican voters have acted like middle-school children trying to figure out who they wanted to date.  First it was Bush, then Fiorina, then Carson, and now Cruz (all while maintaining a huge crush on Donald Trump).  None of these “picks” lasted longer than a a few months as the spotlight tends to reveal the truth and subsequently forcing those candidates back down the charts.

So who will win in Iowa?

For the Republicans, the winner with be Senator Ted Cruz.  Looking at maps of previous caucuses in the state, it becomes obvious that Iowans love both Evangelical and Libertarian leaning candidates.  Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, being the best examples.  Cruz represents both to some extent and is also currently tied with Donald Trump in the national polls, lending to votes by name recognition.  Second place will go to Donald Trump and third place will go to Ben Carson, who remains very popular with the very religious.

For the Democrats the race is less a race and more a head-to-head competition.  Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders going into today’s caucus (though the difference is close to margin of error).  Sanders, though, has a message that has been building quite dramatically over the past 6 months and strong support from millennial voters.  If (and here we are assuming they will) those millennial voters turn out, Sanders will narrowly win Iowa.

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Ahead of Tonight’s GOP Debate – A New Budget Deal

The breaking news Tuesday out of Washington was that Congressional Leaders reached a Federal budget deal that would prevent a shutdown of the Government for the next two years.  The budget allows for minor increases in public spending for both 2016 and 2017 (approximately 1.5% each year) and removes the cap on the debt ceiling through 2017.

Members of the GOP Freedom Caucus – predictably – were upset at the deal, calling it a “backroom deal.”  While the Freedom Caucus is quick to lament any spending whatsoever by the Federal Government, the individual members appear to not understand that starving the Federal government and forcing it into shutdown is not going to benefit the US in any way.  Yes, there absolutely needs to be control around the budget process, but the US cannot continue to tempt fate every six months.

The implications of this budget deal are an interesting turn of events within Congress.  Speaker John Boehner, who just a few months ago appeared to be very publically defeated by the extremists in his own party, used his resignation to fuel the deal.  Agree or disagree with the deal, it is still truly amazing what politicians can get done when they are no longer campaigning for reelection.  Speaker Boehner’s deal also makes life significantly easier for Rep. Paul Ryan who will likely be the next Speaker of the House.  Though Rep. Ryan will be unable to support the deal, taking the issue off the table gives him a lot more time.

The budget deal will be a topic of great interest in tonight’s third GOP debate.  Sen. Ted Cruz has already been very vocal about “hating” the deal, so expect him as well as the others, to continue that rhetoric.  The GOP hopefuls are currently 100% focused on pandering to ultra-Conservative voters from a select number of states so the assumption is that they will continue to serve these groups huge helpings of red meat (even though this may now cause cancer).

Who will win this debate is anyone’s guess.  Trump will continue to have outrageous soundbites, Carson will continue to speak in his ‘not entirely sure what I am saying as I say it’ manner, Jeb will continue to avoid his last name.  Undoubtedly, this debate will continue the GOP circus that we have seen for the past few months.

What can we hope for?  Well, several GOP candidates should go the way of the dodo after this debate.  If the Democrats were able to eliminate Sen. Jim Webb and Gov. Lincoln Chaffee after just one debate, the GOP should see more than just Gov. Perry and Gov. Walker out of the field.

For the sake of the GOP the following candidates should suspend their campaigns tonight:

  • Jim Gilmore (0%)
  • George Pataki (0.4%)
  • Rick Santorum (0.7%)
  • Bobby Jindal (0.7%)
  • Lindsey Graham (1.2%)
  • Chris Christie (2.4%)

None of these individuals have a shot at being President of the United States.  All they are doing is further embarrassing the GOP and distracting voters.  There is no reason to continue running.

 

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