1) History In the Making – With a victory in Iowa, Romney now stands to do what no non-incumbent Republican has ever done, win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Furthermore, Romney also stands to make history by being a nominee with by far the most business background of any previous nominee. If you have ever wanted to put a businessman in the White House, this is your chance.
2) Romney Shows His Support is Strong Even in His “Weak” States - A few weeks ago, the general consensus among the political experts was that Romney would perform poorly in Iowa. Experts predicted that Romney would most likely get third place. Yet Romney didn’t just beat expectations, he won first place. I think it is remarkable that Romney won a state that he was never projected to do well in and didn’t even really compete in until the last few weeks of the race. Keep in mind that Rick Santorum practically lived in Iowa for the last year so he had plenty of time to build up his support. It was only when Romney noticed his numbers were surging and saw an opportunity that he decided to compete. A win “by a nose” is still a win, and it is much better than he was expected to do just a few weeks ago.
3) Exit polls from Iowa show that voters who believe the economy is the most important issue voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney. Also, voters who put a high premium on electability and being able to beat Obama also voted overwhelmingly for Romney.
4) Santorum’s near-victory in Iowa has breathed new life into his campaign - Candidates who do better than expected win more media attention, so that will help Santorum in the near future. The next step for Santorum is to try to rally the “non-Romney” factions of the Republican party, but many risks to his candidacy exist. Remember, Santorum is a totally unvetted national candidate. Until now, Santorum has not had to face the harsh scrutiny on his record and past statements that comes with being in the top tier. Already, revelations about his fondness for government spending through earmarks and other issues threaten to undermine his new-found support. Only time will tell if Santorum can defy the odds and keep his momentum going. (Personally, if history has taught us any lesson this year, I think Santorum is just another “bubble candidate” who happened to peak at just the right time but will eventually deflate under the glare of the spotlight and scrutiny of his record. But hey, I’m biased.)
5) “Old Newt” is Back – Newt Gingrich, after being way ahead in the polls just a few weeks ago, was disappointed by his poor showing in Iowa and therefore quickly returned to his old mannerisms by giving a concession speech that one CNN host called “one of the most ungracious moments in politics.” Rather than give the typical concession speech that is upbeat, positive, and congratulates the victors, Newt spent his speech criticizing Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Ari Fleischer of CNN said of the speech, “I have never heard an attack concession speech before . . . So Newt is throwing the gloves on the ice.” Newt has lost his momentum and is now taking things personally and resorting to being vindictive, angry, and destructive. As one writer from Reuters put it, Newt now seems to have allied with Obama by making it his primary goal to destroy Mitt Romney.
6) Rick Perry is Essentially Finished – Anytime a candidate says in a concession speech that he is going to “reasses his campaign” as Perry did last night, your campaign is effectively over. After Herman Cain said the same thing, his numbers never stopped falling. People are not going to commit to a candidate who is unsure of whether or not he should stay in the race.
7) The reputation of the Ames Straw Poll is ruined – Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa last year but came in last place among her competitors in the state. The Straw Poll is supposed to allow candidates to show how well they will do in Iowa by having a mock vote several months before the actual vote. The Straw Poll is a huge fundraiser for the Iowa GOP as it costs the candidates millions of dollars to compete in the straw poll. However, after Ms. Bachmann, it’s reputation and effectiveness is now severely tarnished.
What do you think the Iowa Caucuses taught us? What do you feel like the narrative in the media is/should be after Iowa?