Iowa Giveth a Lesson

The Hawkeyes have spoken, and now with gratefulness will be left alone in blissful peace until 2020.  What an outcome for both the Democrats and Republicans.  Unexpected by Trump and Rubio, but envisioned by Cruz, because by all reports, he had the most effective ground game since Obama in 2008, and retail knock-on-doors politics wins the day and the caucus in Iowa.

Marco Rubio in Iowa - (AP Wilfredo-Lee)

Marco Rubio in Iowa – (AP Wilfredo-Lee)

However, the big Republican winner was Marco Rubio.  At 23% of the caucus vote, he stunned Trump and the pundits/pollsters by finishing one percentage point behind “the Donald”.  By all reports, it was the late deciders who gave Rubio a crack at second place, and allowed him to finish in the big three.  One has to ask whether it was realistic that a big, brash New Yorker, could win in Iowa, where there’s a marked cross between a strong Evangelical vote, and the liberalness of the university towns and cities.  Trump’s second place finish, while respectable for someone who has run an unorthodox campaign, is marred by the strong finish of Rubio.

So what has “the Donald” as I like to call him, learned from his experience in Iowa.  If he’s as smart as he thinks he is, and if he’s a man who learns from his mistakes, then there are several lessons the Iowans have given.  So Mr. Trump:

  1. Don’t skip debates; it’s not about you and your media wars, it’s about the voters.  Your absence from the last Republican debate cost you, as it cost Reagan.  It’s not an irrevocable blow, but people don’t want a celebrated showman, they want a leader.  Start behaving like one; you do have it in you.  Look how your children have turned out.
  2. More substance, less bombast.  The middle-class has taken a huge hit financially and culturally.  We have a country, that many feel they don’t recognize any more.  People are ‘mad as hell’ which you has picked up on brilliantly.  But, now more is needed than “Make America Great Again”  taglines.  People need to know that you’ve given some serious thought as to how you’re going to do the job, and we want to hear more than “the wall” and how you can “make a better deal.”  This country has had one of the most, if not the most, anemic recovery on record, and we want to know how are you going to put people back to work again, and revive American business, large and small.
  3. Get off the plane, and into the diners and town halls.  Knock on some doors and show the average voter that you want the job.  In the olden days, which were only a couple of decades ago, many people aspired to be “Donald Trump” as in successful, with ability to provide comfortably for their families and retirement.  That aspiration and dream have been seriously upended in just the past ten years.  People need to believe again, and they’re looking for the leadership and policies to “Make America Great Again.”
  4. Stop the craziness with the tweets.  You’re demeaning yourself and office you are seeking.

With that, one can only hope that Trump has learneth the lesson that Iowa gave.  Now that he has Rubio on his heels as a viable alternative to himself, perhaps we’ll see a different Trump.

Oh, and let’s not forget Ted Cruz.  He did place first after all.  Again, his ground game and the Evangelicals put him over the top.  However, he does have some likability factors to overcome so people can feel comfortable with him.  He also needs to broaden his appeal beyond the Conservative coalition, and be better at explaining his views and his votes.  His vote on the Cornyn amendment during the Iranian nuclear deal before the Senate, where Cornyn reversed the Treaty approval process by the Senate, was the exact opposite position that a strict “Constitutionalist” would take.  Now that Cruz is definitely in the Top Three tier of the nominees, the spotlight is going to get brighter, not duller.

On to New Hampshire.



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