Last night’s Iowa caucus was the first big step for the candidates of the 2016 presidential race. Iowa voters poured into a caucus with one of the highest turnouts in history. They voiced their opinions on presidential nominees from both Democrat and Republican parties. However, despite the expectations that the Iowa caucus would provide a clearer view of the election in November, many puzzled over what will happen in the next few months.
Between Republican candidates, Ted Cruz prevailed over Donald Trump, with 28% of the vote, compared with 24% for Trump and 23% for Marco Rubio. This not only set up the senator as an unpredictable force to reckon with, but also raised questions about the billionaire’s dependence upon his celebrity status as opposed to political organization. When claiming victory, Senator Cruz launched a grassroots revolt, firing indirect shots at the Trump campaign and creating a movement against the Republican party’s establishment and the media.
“Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next President of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment,” Cruz stated. Meanwhile, at Trump headquarters, it was clear that defeat had taken a toll on the businessman, who humbly accepted second place in a short speech despite his previous assurance of a “tremendous” victory.
“We will go on to get the Republican nomination and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie,” Trump said, “We finished second, and I have to say I am just honored.”
Rubio’s performance was quite surprising for some, placing third against other established candidates and only slightly behind Trump.
“This is the moment they said would never happen. For months, they told us we had no chance,” Rubio said. “They told me that I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line. But tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message — after seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back.”
For the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton redeemed herself with a razor-thin victory after being deadlocked with rival Bernie Sanders. According to Iowa party chairman Andy McGuire, the results were, in fact “the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history.”
In Clinton’s speech, she admitted relief with the tie after remembering her huge loss against Obama in 2008, but promised the continuation of a strong campaign in New Hampshire.
“It’s rare that we have the opportunity we do now,” she said, posing herself as the legitimate progressive to be the nominee.
Sanders, relatively pleased with the results in Iowa, reflected on the campaign’s journey with a raucous crowd of supporters.
“Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state, we had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America.”
Unfortunately for Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee, the Iowa caucuses represented was the last lap as both governors dropped their candidacies after failing to resonate with voters
As for the other candidates, it is visible after the first caucus, there’s still a turbulent election season ahead before the two fragmented political parties rally behind a single nominee.