He’s a loser.
“Unless I win, I would consider this a big, fat, beautiful - and, by the way, a very expensive - waste of time,” Donald Trump said Sunday afternoon in Iowa.
Of all the thundering headlines following Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, none echoed louder than news that “The Donald” not only lost his first true test as a presidential candidate, but had almost thumped to third place in the process.
Trump’s 24.3% performance represented a crushing decline from his Iowa polling averages in recent months, suggesting massive crowd turnouts were probably more due to celebrity appeal than meaningful message.
Marco Rubio was nipping right behind Donald’s big behind with 23.1% of the voting - a dramatic upsurge for the youngest GOP hopeful - ever more thirsty in his frenetic bid for the White House.
Winning first place in the hearts and minds and tractors and plows of Iowa Republicans was Ted Cruz at 27.7%, pretty much performing as predicted. Cruz rewarded his followers with an interminable, three-quarters of an hour victory speech. Even FOX TV bailed well before it ended.
There’s something visually unsettling about Senator Cruz. Perhaps when little angel Teddy Cruz passed through Heaven heading here, another little angel stepped on his head. This would account for more than mere appearance. Then there’s that Canadian question, eh?
With Ben Carson in single digits (9.3%) heading back to Florida for “fresh clothes,” his continuation in competition seems unlikely.
Rand Paul (4.5%) did a bit better than expected, but Jeb Bush demonstrated irrefutable evidence that when $14.1 million spent in Iowa buys but 2.8% of the final vote (approximately $2,800 for each vote received) – denying the inevitable has become clearly indefensible.
That’s 18 times as much per ballot as winner Cruz, 10 times as much as Rubio and 34 times as much as silver medal winner Trump - no investment chump.
Jeb? Perhaps it’s time to throw in your monogrammed towel.
Everyone below Jeb (Fiorini, Kasich, Huckabee, Christie and Santorum) ended up with less than 2.0%, while former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore came in with a total of 12 votes, putting him in very last place behind “other,” that attracted 119 fans.
Huckabee has announced he is “suspending his campaign,” although not “ending” it, since that would cost money.
What’s left? Pun intended, Monday night’s other big story was obviously the meteoric rise of Bernie Sanders from relative obscurity to tie Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side of things, even as Hillary’s campaign prematurely and ungraciously announced, with much of the vote yet uncounted, that she had won.
In July of 2015 polling, Sanders was behind Hillary Clinton 52% to 33% after initially scoring only single digits when he announced his candidacy. Bernie is a man on the move.
While final tabulation Tuesday morning projected a Hillary win by the narrowest of margins (49.9% to 49.6%), such proximity would normally require a recount under usual circumstances, but probably won’t. The difference in this instance is fundamentally of no consequence.
Hillary was landing 22 delegates to the national convention, while Bernie nailed 21 with one still contested. It will take 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic Party’s nomination in Philadelphia (July 25 - 28), one week after the Republicans choose their nominee in Cleveland. Iowa was the starting gate on a race really just underway.
And Democrat Martin O’Malley has joined Mike Huckabee - riding off the track on separate happy trails into similar sunsets.
My head is spinning from all these numbers, making all the more amazing to me how Todd Miller could have so marvelously pulled things together on such short notice and in such a brief period of time.
Our first 2016 meeting of The Oakhurst Democratic Club will be held at Denny’s this Saturday with Madera County Auditor/Controller Todd Miller and a presentation entitled: “County Money: Where It Comes From and Where It Goes.”
Since becoming Auditor/Controller in June of 2014, having been forced to leap to the rescue by unanticipated circumstance when his predecessor succumbed to a curious case of premature retirement, Mr. Miller has seen his office complete the county’s annual audit by its March 31 deadline for the first time in 17 years. This achievement brought about an A+ credit rating from Standard & Poors in July and a $500,000 yearly savings in interest payments alone.
And there’s lots more good news, too.
See you Saturday.