Let’s do a little speculating ahead of the Iowa caucuses — just for the heck of it and for a little fun. I have noticed in the MRC chat room that many of you are political junkies, as am I. Even with Christmas this week, there has been a lot of political chatter. Following are some thoughts as to where I see it going for Iowa specifically and for the eventual nomination in general. I am certain some or many of you will disagree with me and if so, please provide your perspectives in the comments — just for fun. By the way, I have no inside information at all. My thoughts below are derived from the chatter I hear and read.
Where you see a percentage prefaced with “GOP:” this is the Intrade.com market level as of 12/26/11, 10:15pm, PST to the question, “Nominee to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012″ — A percentage prefaced with “Iowa:” this is the Intrade.com market level to the question, “Nominee to win the 2012 Iowa Caucus.” Seven candidates in alphabetical order:
Bachmann — Will finish 6th or 7th; No executive experience; Only two Presidents were elected from the House: Lincoln & Kennedy; Will drop out after Iowa for thin $$ and Org; In race to build name ID only; GOP: 1.4%.
Gingrich — Will finish 4th, maybe 3rd; Never intended to run a serious campaign; He peaked at highest level in polls 12/13/11, never to hit those highs again in this race; Will remain in race out of sheer arrogant ambition; Will survive despite anemic fund raising; Could not qualify in home state of Virginia; GOP: 7.9%; Iowa: 11.1%.
Huntsman — Last place (7th); In race only to build name ID; Never serious candidate based on lack of $$ and Org; Will drop out after New Hampshire; No longer shows in Intrade.com.
Paul — Will finish 1st in Iowa (if so, Iowa will likely become marginalized/irrelevant in future elections); No executive experience; Only two Presidents were elected from the House: Lincoln & Kennedy; Has strongest Org next to Romney’s; Will run again for President in 2020 and maybe 2024 if still alive; Paul is no longer taken seriously, but his supporters are; GOP: 7.3%; Iowa: 49%.
Perry — Will finish 5th in Iowa; Won’t be GOP nominee for perception he would never beat Obama in debate; Could not qualify on Virginia ballot; Will not easily cave since he has never lost an election (ego); Predict he will survive to at least South Carolina due to $$ and Org; Will languish at bottom despite $$. GOP: 2.1%.
Romney — Will finish 2nd, maybe first if Iowa weather is good (Huckabee); Expectations were set low, so 2nd place is great, 1st place is grand-slam; Romney is only candidate that built political goodwill by raising money over last three years for many GOP candidates after his last presidential run, much the same way Reagan did after his first failed run for POTUS; Undecided Iowans (~50%) may coalesce behind Romney in order to be relevant (against Paul/Gingrich) and to back a sure winner; Positives too long to list here (for later post); GOP: 71.9%; Iowa: 34%.
Santorum — Predict will finish 4th, maybe 3rd; Will be surprise in Iowa for hard work and official Evangelical backing; May even eclipse Gingrich; Will drop out after Iowa or NH; Strong Iowa finish will provide momentum into NH; Will need all the stars to align to raise $$ to then build Org; No longer shows in Intrade.com.
Estimates of voter turnout in Iowa, one week from today, range between 110,000 and 140,000 — tiny by any measure. Iowa seems to always provide some surprises, all the more reason for the hype leading up to the caucuses. Due to the surprise factor, all of my predictions above could be way off, but in the end, I think Iowans want to be taken seriously and most importantly, they want to be relevant in future elections. They pride themselves on really “knowing” each and every candidate.
Ultimately, I think Iowans cannot seriously think they will be found relevant if they give it to Ron Paul, knowing that he would allow Iran to obliterate Israel. I think Gingrich is simply too self-loving, untrustworthy, and immodest for Midwesterners to embrace in a big way. In many ways over the cycles, Iowa has been marginalized as a predictor of future Presidents. Realizing my bias, I think Iowans will want to regain their past reputation by choosing the very best candidate for POTUS and back Romney in the end.
If you disagree, how, why? Please leave a comment or two to inform us.
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” — Abraham Lincoln