All Eyes Need To Be On New Hampshire
While Iowa makes the presidential race interesting with its early caucuses the first real campaign test takes place in New Hampshire.
There is every reason to applaud retail politics of the kind that takes places in both these states. As the old saying goes one does not make up their mind about which candidate to support until there have been at least three handshakes from the one seeking election.
Iowa does not mirror the nation demographically and many have argued their first in the nation voting allows them an overstated say given their population size and make-up. More precisely the harsh conservative nature of the GOP voter there sends a wrong message about where that party is headed–or needs to head–as they seek a nominee.
The establishment lane of the nominating process is clouded at this time as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both slog it out for dominance. It will be hard for another candidate in Iowa to break through and make a showing. Someone, of course, will be in third place and then use that position to attempt a launch off from a truly important primary state—New Hampshire.
Marco Rubio has used media buys in Iowa to try and be that third place finisher. But following that it is hard to see where he wins a primary state. Now that he has went darker in his language and messaging to somehow compete with Trump and Cruz has made him not that fresh and likable face, but just another political contender. Chances are strong that he fades.
Jeb Bush has plenty of money and infrastructure to allow him a bit more time to play out the waiting game as Trump and Cruz is perhaps seen by the actual primary voters as disasters come November. For the record my money remains on Bush to get the nomination.
When it comes to John Kasich–someone who I have also long felt was a sensible type as a GOP nominee–New Hampshire is the place he is betting the farm. He feels this is a must win state and has made an all out effort to do so. A new American Research Group poll in New Hampshire finds Donald Trump continues to lead the GOP field with 27%, followed by John Kasich who surged to 20%, Marco Rubio at 10%, Ted Cruz at 9%, Chris Christie at 9% and Jeb Bush at 8%.
Iowa will produce noise and bombast for the base of the Republican Party. But the reasoned moderates of the GOP in New Hampshire can produce a candidate who leaves their state in the real hunt for the nomination.
The only good feeling that Iowa Republicans can expect from this election cycle is the bumpy ride on a country road to the caucus site.