Cruz Wins Iowa, But What’s Next?

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Who will occupy it next?

 

The results of the Iowa caucuses have shown us several important things; 1) that everybody hates the establishment of both parties, 2) no one trusts the media anymore, and 3) pollsters have no clue how to conduct polling in the fast-paced world of smartphones and social media.

Ted Cruz easily won the Iowa caucuses on the Republican side, despite being behind Trump by as much as 20-points in some polls taken just before the caucus, and despite the entirety of the GOP establishment doing their best to take him down. In fact, it is arguably the low regard among the GOP establishment in which Cruz is held that gives him such popularity among the base. Despite being hated by the establishment, Cruz’s net favorability leads all Republican candidates with a rating of +45% (61% favorable, 16% unfavorable) among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, according to a recent Gallup poll. Establishment favorite Jeb Bush has a net favorability of -1%.

Rand Out: Why the Paul Scion Never Caught Fire

After a dismal showing in Iowa, Rand Paul is dropping out of the presidential race to focus on his Senate reelection campaign.

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Paul had high hopes to coalesce the libertarian wing of the party with a more conservative alliance toward the White House, but as with everyone else’s campaign, it all went to hell when Donald Trump entered the race. Paul was averaging 9-10% in national polls in May and June, until Trump announced and sucked the air out of the race, dropping him down to below 4-5% for the remainder of the campaign.

Although his name recognition was one factor, Trump also exposed a rift within the libertarian faction of the right that helped torpedo Paul’s campaign. Going back to the Ron Paul newsletter days, there has always been a xenophobic nationalist bloc on the right that calls itself “libertarian” but really isn’t. They used to be Paul supporters, both Ron and Rand, but once Trump barged in and explicitly embraced their unfettered id, they quickly jumped ship.

And all the better. Although it won’t help an actual libertarian get elected, it’s better to know who our actual ideological compatriots are than limp along under false pretenses with people who don’t actually care about liberty.

Trumpkins weren’t the only problem with Paul’s campaign, though. While he called himself a libertarian Republican, Rand was far more conservative than his father Ron. Although he called for ending the War on Drugs, he never fully embraced legalization.

Ted Cruz Trumps Trump In Iowa

This is Y-UUUUGE!

Despite being down as much as 21% to Trump in some polls, despite (or because of?) record turnout in Iowa (which pundits predicted would mean a Trump victory), despite being savaged by the GOP establishment, despite attacks from Iowa’s popular 6-term governor, and despite his principled refusal to bow to King Corn and back away from his calls to end corn subsidies…

Ted Cruz emerged victorious in Iowa, completely changing the dynamic of this race.

 

Last night’s winners:

Ted Cruz – wins Iowa when the odds were against him, and now goes into the South Carolina and Nevada primaries with momentum, the highest favorability ratings of all GOP candidates, and more cash on hand than the next four candidates combined.

Marco Rubio – Rubio surged late and almost beat out Trump for 2nd place, and this can only help him going into New Hampshire. How long will it be before the GOP establishment pressures Bush, Kasich, and Christie to get out so they can consolidate around Rubio to prevent a Cruz nomination?

Conservatives – last night proved that having a conservative candidate who is unapologetic in his conservatism, optimistic in his outlook for the future, and who has a history of standing on principle is a great draw at a time when politicians in general, and the GOP brand and establishment in particular, have favorability ratings just below hemorrhoids.

Iowadammerung: Where Will We Go From Here?

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Although it feels like it has been going on for nearly 250 million years, today officially kicks off the 2016 presidential primary. The first votes will be cast (but not really) in the Iowa caucuses this evening beginning at 7 pm Central. Voters will hear each candidate’s case from either the candidates themselves or their caucus chairs, then make their preference known.

Because of the personal nature of the caucus process, the results have been notoriously hard to predict by pollsters in the past. On the Republican side, all the polls have seen the recent Cruz bounce fade and return to a Trump lead, but the last few polls have the perpetual frontrunner up only +1.

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In fact, of the top few Republicans, only Rubio actually has an upward trajectory in Iowa polling. He’s risen from an average of 10% to almost 17% in the last week or so, a trend that is eerily familiar.

In 2012, Rick Santorum polled in the single digits nationally for all of 2011 right up until the week before the Iowa caucuses. He would come out of nowhere to win the state on a combination of endless local campaigning, evangelical support, and a few key endorsements. Santorum went on to be the only significant challenge to Mitt Romney for the nomination, winning several other states and amassing a small share of the national delegates.

Why Do Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Want to Undermine Jobs and Investment in America?

This was originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

 

What’s the difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?

I suspect that most people would cite differences in personal ethics, but I’m a policy wonk so I actually think the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are two peas in a pod.

The only real difference is that Sanders is more open about his statist beliefs and is more anxious to adopt bad policies as quickly as possible.

But since I don’t want to become Greece, I have a hard time being impressed by politicians who bicker about the best route and best speed to get to the wrong destination.

Consider, for example, their views on corporate taxation. And let’s look specifically at the issue of how to deal with corporate inversions.

First, some background. The Wall Street Journal opines about the logical argument – and fiduciary obligation – for companies to escape America’s awful corporate tax system.

Latest GOP Debate — Rubio Rising

fox news focus group marco rubio

It would appear that there are a great many outlets who really, REALLY, want Donald Trump to have succeeded in “winning” last night’s GOP debate without having actually been there.

Vox Vox-splained it this way:

My colleagues are saying Donald Trump won the debate, because in his absence the rest of the Republican candidates cut each other down. But Trump won the debate in another way: His absence from the debate appears to have hurt viewership, as he predicted.

Early numbers suggest that between 11 million and 13 million viewers watched the Fox News debate, which is about half of the audience Trump drew to the first Fox News debate in August, when the event drew a record-breaking 23 million viewers. (We’ll have more precise numbers later in the day.)

(My suggestion is to keep an eye out for those more precise numbers.)

And while CNN Money has to begrudgingly admit that Fox had better ratings than the rival cable stations showing Trump’s event, that means nothing:

So Thursday’s debate was bigger — but not by much. The other five GOP debates of the cycle have had household ratings ranging from 8.9 to 15.9.

That’s why Trump can claim victory. (His campaign had no immediate comment about the ratings on Friday.)

Actual viewership numbers will be available later in the day on Friday. Fox News likely had 11 million to 13 million viewers for the debate.

But one thing is ultimately unknowable: How many more viewers would have watched if Trump had been center stage?

Strange Bedfellows Lead to the Iowa Caucus

With the Iowa caucuses less than a week away, on the Republican side this is shaping up to be one of the strangest nomination processes of my lifetime. Late last year, Scott Walker was the presumptive front-runner until he declared, after which his campaign imploded in a rapid and spectacular way. Jeb Bush was likewise a favorite, but having spent well over $100 million he is almost within the margin of error in most polls. Marco Rubio was the next hope for the establishment, palatable to them and most of the base, but his participation in the Gang of Eight immigration amnesty effort has damaged him. Ben Carson is imminently likeable and moral, but his near-comatose demeanor does not inspire confidence that he is ready for a dangerous world.

Chris Christie has been dogged by his anti-gun stance and his post-Sandy tarmac bromance with Obama. Rand Paul has not been able to recreate the fervor among his base that his father was able to. Carly Fiorina has great debate performances but is invisible in between. John Kasich comes across as an angry scold having a seizure. Rick Santorum? Mike Huckabee? No chance for either, but maybe they’ll get a good book deal for their efforts.

Very Timely Humor Poking Fun at Libertarians

 

Originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

 

Northern Virginia just got buried by more than two feet of snow.

This has two implications. First, I’m going to have a fun time shoveling my driveway.

Second, I’m going to add to my collection of humor that pokes fun at libertarians.

National Review Takes a Risk and Conservatives Rejoice (Whether They Know it Now or Not)

Late yesterday evening, The National Review, that outlet of conservatism founded by one of the giants of the ideology, William F. Buckley, stood athwart history and yelled “Stop!”

At Donald Trump.

Gathering a respectable cadre of conservative voices — from the hinterlands of the once proud Tea Party to the deep middle of the establishment — these writers and thinkers banded together to offer a few paragraphs each on the danger of Trump as a charlatan, or a know-nothing, or a bully, or a creep, or simply a blowhard.

Rather than try to deconstruct what they said and find a cohesive theme beyond simply that Trump is no conservative and to allow him to top the ticket would be disastrous for the GOP and likely hand Hillary the presidency, I’ll simply encourage you to take the time to read each opinion and think about it.

For me, the issue regarding Trump is a very simple one. He has no principles. He is the consummate businessman and is therefore willing to negotiate his core beliefs to close the deal. Perhaps some may see this as a quality they admire. But the truth is that is exactly what we’ve had in office these last eight years and we are worse off for it. And it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump — a man who has given a great deal of lip-service and financial support to those who have ascended on the progressive left — should resemble them.

Bankruptcy for Puerto Rico Will Reward Big Government Spending

At some point, politicians discovered they could spend taxpayer money to buy votes, and spending has been out of control ever since. This has been true under governments run by both Democrats and Republicans, including on the island-based Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, they elected their own government and have a non-voting Resident Commissioner representing them in Congress. Citizens of Puerto Rico are natural-born U.S. citizens.

After years of their government spending irresponsibly and failing to balance the budget, and running corrupt and inefficient state-run enterprises, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico finds itself deeply in debt, more than all 50 U.S. States, and defaulting. The Commonwealth recently defaulted on more than $37 million in bond payments, and Puerto Rico’s bonds are trading at “junk bond” rates because of concerns about default. After years of borrowing, the Commonwealth has amassed $70 billion of debt.

 


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