As intrepid Iowans braved frigid weather and snow to caucus in record numbers for their candidate of choice, they proved what Americans having been saying for seven long years, since the birth of the tea party movement and rise of the disenfranchised voter who — despite being told all is well by the Washington establishment — actually knew better than the know-it-alls and weren’t about to take it any more.
Shortly after the caucuses began at 7:00 p.m. CST, early reports were coming via Twitter that record numbers of new voters were showing up to register at the polls. This seemed to be in both Democrat Bernie Sanders’ and Republican Donald Trump’s favor, according to a Monmouth poll, which predicted that higher turnouts would favor those candidates.
Sanders and rival Hillary Clinton ran neck and neck through the evening with the latest tally showing a dead heat between the two Democrats despite Clinton giving a rather shrill victory speech — before the final vote was counted.
At about midnight CST, the Sanders campaign reportedly stated that votes from 90 precincts were “missing.” Has the Clinton machine struck again?
Meanwhile, Republican Ted Cruz made an incredible showing as he beat a wide field with 28% of the votes, followed by Donald Trump at 24%, Marco Rubio over-performing at 23%, and the rest of the field lagging far behind.
Two candidates called it quits — Democrat Martin O’Malley who pulled in 1% of the tally and Republican Mike Huckabee.
During his victory speech, Cruz invoked the grassroots support which propelled him to the top, stating:
“Tonight is a victory for the grassroots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation.” He says Iowa has “sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next President of the United States will not be chosen by the media. Will not be chosen by the Washington establishment. Will not be chosen by the lobbyists. But will be chosen by the most incredible, powerful force where all sovereignty resides in the nation–by We the People, the American people.”
As the evangelical favorite, he went on to thank God saying and once again, demonstrated his anti-establishment credibility:
“Tonight is a victory for those who believe that our rights come from God and not from any party, including the Tea Party, “ adding that “morning is coming” and that from day one, “this campaign has been a movement for millions of Americans across this country. “Whatever Washington says, they cannot keep the people down.”
While Trump came in second, Rubio is nipping at his heels, which is likely to shake up The Donald’s campaign. It will be interesting to see if the clear loss changes his demeanor on the campaign trail as the NH primary approaches, where he has held a sizable lead. But the Iowa caucus is like shaking a snow globe — everything is up in the air again. Stay tuned…