Donald J Trump, The Donald, took a broadside right to the ego on Monday night as he came second in the Iowa Caucuses. Second! The man who recently Tweeted “No one remembers who came in second” came second.
But before we get too carried away in our celebrating, there are several sobering factors to remember.
First, who came in first. Ted Cruz. Yeah, that’s a bit of a bummer. Cruz, elected to the Senate on an obstructionist, stop-Obama-at-all-costs agenda is not really any different than Trump when it comes to outlandish statements. Cruz is a climate change denier, antiabortion crusader, has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association for his stance on gun control (he stands on the-more-guns-the-better side, if you’re wondering) and is anti-gay rights. He has also stated that the only way to save Christianity in America is to turn it into a theocracy, with Christianity as the official religion, while at the same time railing against the theocracy in Iran.
Trump is looking a little better now, you betcha! The you betcha is a nod to Trump’s chief cheerleader, Sarah Palin, both of whom were astoundingly and unusually quiet on Twitter Monday night.
Coming in third was the young Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who the Republican establishment will be quick to rally around because 1) they hate Cruz and 2) they hate Trump more.
On first glance, Rubio looks like a good choice. He’s of a new generation, though Cruz is young too — it’s his evil that makes him look older. Rubio is the son of immigrants and you would think that would make him a little more bendable on the issue of illegal immigration. But you would be wrong. As every Republican candidate does in the primaries, it’s a race to the bottom of the awful, where the more xenophobic you are, the more the base likes you. And lest you think Cruz, an immigrant himself — from Alberta — would be more sympathetic, cure yourself of that notion right now. Back in 2013, Rubio advocated a path to citizenship, which has been soundly rejected by the vocal party base. He now says that is no longer “relevant”. It’s tough times for a politician these days when everything is recorded. It’s tougher to walk things back. Doesn’t mean they all don’t try though. Yes, there is video evidence of me saying that … but … that was a different me. I have seen the light. Or in this case, possibly, the dark.
Rubio also has pandered to the right wing evangelical crowd as hard as a politician can pander.
So, Republican top three? No real prize there. Unless you’re a — to quote Sarah Palin — right-winging, bitter-clinging proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religions, and our Constitution. Are you? That is the question.
On the Democratic side, it appears that Hilary Clinton barely held on against the fiery Socialist Bernie Sanders. That’s how I’ve seen Sanders described several times — fiery socialist. In Canada you’d call him NDP. Which of course has a long history of fiery socialists like Ed Broadbent, Stephen Lewis and Audrey McLaughlin. Well, okay. Not so fiery. Jack Layton was a little fiery, and Thomas Mulcair started fiery and the fire went out.
In any event, in the U. S. of A. socialists are fiery, which may be a code word for unhinged. But back to Clinton. Once a sure thing, she is looking shaky to say the least. The constant battering from her email scandal, just the sheer length of her time in public life has left her defending positions she may not have any more, or may wish that she didn’t have to defend. She’s wounded and her campaign needs to figure it out pronto.
And now that I have pontificated on the Iowa Caucuses for 650 words, here’s how meaningful they are: Ronald Reagan lost Iowa in 1980. Bill Clinton lost the caucuses in 1992 and George H.W. Bush lost them in 1988. Those names sound familiar? Also Rick Santorum (who?) won Iowa in 2012 and Mike Huckebee in 2008. So yeah, Iowa, first but not often right.
Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin