The final results of the Iowa caucus are in and Obama has won for the Democrats with 38%, Huckabee for the Republicans with 34%. Contrary to whatever else you might read, I don’t think much else was accomplished. In both parties nearly two-third preferred candidates other than the winner”.
Obama will, no doubt, gain further steam from his narrow victory in Iowa. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd have dropped out of the race. Their candidacies had no chance anyway. With them most of the substance in the Democratic campaigns will depart, too. If Kucinich and Gravel fold, most of color will have been drained from the contest.
Much will be made of the impact of the result on Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I think that, if, as I expect, she wins in New Hampshire, she’ll shrug it off completely. Edwards is stung by the defeat in a state to which he’d devoted so much time, money, and energy. I think that those who attribute to Obama’s win to the influx of new, particularly young voters are correct. He brings an energy to the campaign none of the other candidates can duplicate.
Expect Obama, Edwards, and Clinton to hang in through February 5 when I believe the Democratic nomination will be determined.
I (and many others) predicted Huckabee’s victory so I’m not surprised by it. I expect a Stop Huckabee sentiment to begin to appear among regular Republicans. It’s a survival instinct. I continue to doubt that the country is ready for another president from Hope, Arkansas or a president who is a Baptist minister. How the anti-Huckabee move develops will probably determine the outcome of the race on the Republican side.
90% of Republican voters voted for a candidate other than Ron Paul. Lame denials and graceless retorts from Ron Paul supporters in 5 4 3
James Joyner has a solid round-up of media and blogospheric commentary and some wise observations of his own:
A Huckabee nomination could conceivably destroy the party. Not only would he be lucky to break 40 percent in the general election against any of the plausible Democratic nominees but many fiscal conservatives and Chamber of Commerce Republicans would bolt. When Ronald Reagan and others mobilized rural Christian conservatives in the 1980s, they never expected that they would take such a prominent role in the party. Gradually, though, they took it over at the grass roots level in much of rural America.
Huckabee’s mobilization of fervent evangelicals, many of whom doubtless had never shown up for a caucus prior to last night, scares the hell out of mainstream Republicans. My strong hunch is that they’ll rally around someone else — probably McCain but possibly Romney or Giuliani — in Michigan and New Hampshire.
with which I wholeheartedly agree. An Obama-Huckabee race would remap the political landscape in a fashion analogous to the 1932 election in a way that no other pairing would. Much depends now on whether, nationally, Republicans have a survival instinct or the national party has the same death wish that the Illinois Republican Party has exhibited.
Joe Gandelman has an excellent summary of the strategic conundrum facing Hillary Clinton at this point. My guess is that Clinton’s people probably don’t see the situation as being as bleak for her as Joe does. My guess is they’ll change nothing. She’s likely to win in New Hampshire, only a couple of days away, in the first real primary of the season which will boost her back up on that pedestal a bit. Her support comes from the Democratic political machine and they’ll be able to deliver solid results on February 5. Enough to push her across the finish line? Time will tell. I think it might be a race to the very end.