"There Was a Circus In Iowa"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, February 8, 2016

The circus — oops — I mean the caucus is over in Iowa.

The entire event, prior to, during and after, was a display of pandemonium. No one was in charge, especially the media who kept following people around trying to get ahead of one another. It was good, old-fashioned democracy in action with everyone’s views being expressed.

The outcome for the Republicans went smooth except too many caucusers showed up, and they ran out of ballots, it got hot and windows had to be opened to the frigid air, and the Iowans chose Ted Cruz over Donald Trump. Just four days prior, Trump was leading at 28 percent with Cruz at 23 percent. After the count, the numbers flipped to 28 percent Cruz and 24 percent Trump.

The No. 3 finisher, just 1 percent behind Trump and awarded the same number of delegates, Marco Rubio was the first to triumphantly proclaim a victory declaring he would go on to win the nomination because of his humble ancestry. He told of his father, who as an immigrant who worked hard to provide for his family. Actually, I think we are all decedents of immigrants unless we are Native Americans.

Trump addressed his supporters next because Cruz was still out campaigning. He modestly thanked all his supporters and introduced his family but failed to include his daughter who is his campaign manager. He ended by saying he loved Iowa so much he was coming back to buy a farm and he would beat the democrats no matter who the “hell” they threw at him.

Cruz spent a great deal of time relishing his victory and explaining how his hard work had won it for him. As he continued his well-rehearsed speech, on and on, I recalled his famous filibuster when he read the Mother Goose nursery rhymes before Congress and later, an empty room.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders provided the best show on the evening of the caucuses. They finished in a dead heat and a series of coin tosses actually determined who gained the largest number of delegates. The practice of tossing a coin has been used in Iowa elections in the past when a count was not decisive. I wonder if an NFL coin was used (that never flipped) to declare Clinton the eventual winner because she actually won all six flips.

Martin O’Malley’s campaign came to an end when he learned that less than 1 percent of the caucus goers chose him. His withdrawal was closely followed by an announcement from Mike Huckabee that he was exiting the campaign trail. Two other candidates, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, after checking their poor showings followed the exodus.

At the urging of friends I threw my hat in the ring a few years ago but spent little time withdrawing to the great disappointment of all three supporters who were urging me to continue. Why would anyone march on with 1 percent support?

Bernie was very happy to have split the vote in round one and looked forward to the next encounter in his backyard: the granite state of New Hampshire. Current polls (that I believe change every five minutes) show him ahead at 56 percent. New Hampshire will conduct a traditional primary and Trump is leading the Republican pack.

As I see it, the Iowans got it wrong again. The leads will flip instead of the coins in New Hampshire and all the speeches delivered this week that began with I told you so won’t matter. We should see another thinning out of the Republican ranks before the march to South Carolina begins.

Maybe we will also see a third party spring up with all the wannabes.

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