The 2016 Iowa Caucuses

The nation’s disunity was on display in America’s Hawkeye state tonight. Iowa’s caucuses, which resulted in thin margins in both major parties, indicate that this year’s presidential nominations may be close and contentious. Iowa’s election signals a crucial contest among five major candidates for president of the United States (read my thoughts on the GOP’s first debate here, my complete fall 2015 roundup of candidates here and my analysis of the GOP’s Reagan library debate here). In terms of supporting individual rights and the unity and defense of the nation, one candidate comes out ahead, if not on top.

Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, locked in a close Democratic Party race with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave one of the most vitriolic political speeches in recent memory. He denounced the wealthy and those who work on Wall Street, targeting them for persecution with wild-eyed raging abandon, and, as I wrote last fall citing the elections of Barack Obama, he can be nominated and he can be elected president. As of this writing, Mrs. Clinton is running ahead by a narrow margin, and I think that once the reality that raging socialist Sanders, similarly to raging statist Donald Trump in the GOP, could get the nomination sets in among Democrats, the race could shift in her favor. Despite the fact that she has no real accomplishments of her own, and, like Jeb Bush, she is a reminder of the repudiated and disastrous policies of the Clinton-Bush past, former Sen. Clinton is not as morally repugnant as Sen. Sanders, who explicitly seeks to bring the nation’s republican government to an end.

IACaucuses2016As bad as she is, and her record of censorship alone disqualifies her, Sanders is horrifying to any freedom-loving American, however softly he peddles his version of government control. Democrats may figure this out as early as next week in New Hampshire and go with the candidate who does not express open hostility for—and the intent to destroy—people who make money. Or the rowdy Sanders supporters who adopt the Orwellian motto that means pain is gain—warning voters that they will feel the Bern while sadistically demanding that they take it—could win the New Left argument and prevail in nominating the New England socialist as their candidate for president of the United States. Clinton’s basic value proposition remains her sex as her sole identity, a flimsy basis made flimsier by the lousy results of the last identity politics president, President Obama. This works in Sanders’ favor because he argues based on ideas, not his sex. No one mistakes Hillary Clinton as a candidate of consistent ideas and it is unlikely, if not too late, for her to become one.

The Republican victor last night was Ted Cruz, the first-term senator from Texas, who won last night’s Iowa caucuses by a few decisive points over Trump, who had predicted a “tremendous” victory hours before he became the loser. The three-way results included Florida’s first-term Sen. Marco Rubio snapping at Trump’s heels because Rubio consolidated panicked status quo voters that reject both Trump and Cruz as “extremists”. Rubio, who is smooth talking and inconsistent in his political philosophy, was first elected to the U.S. Senate as the Tea Party insurgent not long ago. Now, he’s almost the last man standing in for Bush, Christie, Kasich and other welfare state Republicans that appease and accommodate leftists and Democrats. That doesn’t mean Rubio can’t win, not in the Grand Old Party that constantly delivers milquetoast candidates and Rubio’s pro-surveillance state position ought to be enough to motivate Washington’s military-industrial complex’s support. But at some point Rubio has to make a case and win a primary and it’s still hard for me to see that happening from such a shallow candidate. Rubio could win by default.

Donald Trump, who opposes capitalism, property rights and free choice in medicine—he told ABC News that he thinks that health care is a right—remains a factor for now and his appeal continues to be fed by status quo Republicans and conservatives and leftists in the media feeding off his sensationalist tactics. Americans, as I wrote last fall, increasingly seek a strongman—a dictator—and this is a real threat to the country. Trump, who resembles crony businessman Orren Boyle more than productive businessman Hank Rearden in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, suits this spreading American zest for fascism. This leaves Cruz, in all his religious zealotry and huckster charms, as the candidate potentially most serious about averting the nation from the destruction brought on by Obama’s devastating presidency.

This, too, is how Cruz’s flaws, which I named in 2013, may be his best argument among a field of rotten candidates (and 2016 certainly offers that). The case against Cruz is often that he will say anything to get elected. Almost all of them appear to do that. On the most urgent problems facing the United States of America, however, Ted Cruz offers some of the best solutions. He pledges to kill the Islamic terrorists, repeal ObamaCare and begin to repair the damage done to America’s once-partly capitalist economy. Unfortunately, he also vows to inject religion into the government, too, and this is not an endorsement. But he is the only candidate of the five major contenders to emerge from the first election of 2016’s presidential campaign to take these problems seriously and with respect to the founding ideals of the republic. This is reason to take Ted Cruz seriously, especially as the alternative to Trump, the GOP candidate of government control, which makes the 2016 Iowa caucuses a sign of the nation’s bleak political statesmanship and leaves me with the knowledge that it could have been worse.

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