This Could All Be Over Very Fast

 

shutterstock_283689419The latest poll shows Ted Cruz opening his lead over Donald Trump in Iowa to nine points — nine points. If Cruz does indeed win in the Iowa caucuses on February 1, he’ll have enough momentum going into the February 9 New Hampshire primary to place second or third. The next primary will take place on February 20 in South Carolina, where the GOP primary voters are deeply conservative — and, I suspect, likely to give Cruz first place. Three days later the caucuses in Nevada will take place. Receiving little attention in the press, this event will be determined largely by organization on the ground — giving the advantage to Cruz once again.

Which brings us to March 1 and Super Tuesday, when two states will hold GOP caucuses and another ten — including southern states, where Cruz polls well, and his home state of Texas — will hold primaries. If by then Cruz has indeed won Iowa, done well in New Hampshire, and won again in South Carolina, then on Super Tuesday he’s likely to prove dominant.

It stands to reason that Marco Rubio will do well in the Florida primary on March 15 — but it could all be over by then.

All this is predicated, again, on Cruz’s winning in Iowa five weeks from now — and that makes five weeks in which anything might happen, including a collapse in his numbers. But as of now it looks to me as if Ted Cruz will indeed win in Iowa — and that the scenario I sketched out above is entirely plausible.

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There are 111 comments.

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  1. Casey Inactive

    As much as I like pregame shows, Rubio is the next president.

    • #1
    • December 20, 2015, at 5:49 PM PDT
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  2. Douglas Inactive

    Presidents Santorum and Huckabee say Hi.

    Iowa… and to a lesser exent, New Hampshire… are terrible predictors of the GOP winner. Since 1976, they’ve been wrong nearly half the time. Iowa is simply too easy to game by small numbers of supporters. South Carolina is the first real test. At this point, I’m still betting it’s Trump, and he picks Cruz as his veep nominee. And Rubio? He won’t even win his own state.

    • #2
    • December 20, 2015, at 5:49 PM PDT
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  3. Franz Drumlin Member

    From your Ricochet post to God’s Inbox.

    • #3
    • December 20, 2015, at 5:50 PM PDT
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  4. Petty Boozswha Member

    Remember how voters in NH decided at the last minute that it was too soon to give Obama a blank check? If Cruz looks like he’s running away with it all the also ran’s supporters will rally around Rubio to stop it. Rubio’s a lot more appealing than Hillary and Cruz is a lot more problematic than Obama was at this time seven years ago.

    • #4
    • December 20, 2015, at 5:52 PM PDT
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  5. Metalheaddoc Member

    Franz Drumlin:From your Ricochet post to God’s Inbox.

    What if God is using Sanebox? If Peter’s post get blackholed, does he receive eternal damnation?

    • #5
    • December 20, 2015, at 5:58 PM PDT
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  6. BrentB67 Inactive

    He built the best ground game in the business and a lot of people too quickly gloss over how much that matters in these early states.

    CNN/Fox/etc. carry much less weight than the person in your neighborhood with a sign in their yard that is carpooling you and others to the caucus.

    • #6
    • December 20, 2015, at 5:59 PM PDT
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  7. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Peter Robinson: If by then Cruz has indeed won Iowa, done well in New Hampshire, and won again in South Carolina, then on Super Tuesday he’s likely to prove dominant.

    If he’s walking away with it by then, I’ll be sanguine enough about Bush to drop Trump. Not like it matters, but — let’s pretend.

    • #7
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:16 PM PDT
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  8. Umbra Fractus Inactive

    Not my first choice, but I can live with it.

    • #8
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:17 PM PDT
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  9. Paul A. Rahe Contributor

    Peter, this is entirely plausible — which may mean that it won’t happen. Would you have predicted the Trump phenomenon eighteen months ago? Or the Bernie Sanders phenomenon? I would not have predicted it, and I looked over the articles concerning Cruz’ strategy and thought, “That will never work!” This is the year of surprises, and we may not be done with them.

    It ought to be a Republican year. The Republicans are running against the Party of the Living Dead. Watch the Democratic debates, and you will see what I mean. But will it be a Republican year? If Cruz is the nominee, will the mainstream Republicans do to him what they did to Goldwater in 1964?

    • #9
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:21 PM PDT
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  10. Kevin Creighton Contributor

    From your Ricochet post to God’s Inbox.

    Assuming God has white listed Peter in his Sanebox, that is..;)

    • #10
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:26 PM PDT
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  11. Western Chauvinist Member

    Dear Peter,

    I hope you’ll consider this question with all the good-will and admiration behind it, but when did you last make an accurate political prediction?

    The last one I got right was that Romney was the wrong man to run in a year when Obamacare was the central issue, due to Romneycare being the “blueprint” on which the ACA was patterned and the general unwillingness of Romney to stick it to the first black president.

    Ted Cruz has a “trust” problem, and then his campaign repeats the line, “The senator I trust,” at least ten times in each ad. It’s like pointing to a teenager’s Rudolphian nose blemish to advertise the acne cream you’re trying to sell.

    In a year when the likely Democrat nominee will be a singularly unlikable person (whether Felony or Bernie), Ted Cruz may not be a good pick, even if he’s no Donald Trump.

    I’m much more comfortable predicting the losers than the winner. I suspect Ted Cruz is not the winner.

    • #11
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:36 PM PDT
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  12. BastiatJunior Member

    Peter, someday you will look back on this post and laugh. Not that your prediction (or reasoning) is implausible, it’s just the nature of predictions.

    At least I hope so, since I’m leaning Rubio.

    • #12
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:56 PM PDT
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  13. Benjamin Glaser Member

    Marco Rubio, for all his support online and in print, seems to be the candidate of “you should like” instead of the candidate “people do like”, which is problematic.

    He may finish 4th or 5th in Iowa, same in NH, then lose SC, and be clobbered on Big Tuesday.

    That is not a recipe for success in the primaries.

    Ironically Rubio has a lot in common it seems with Hillary in 2008.

    • #13
    • December 20, 2015, at 6:59 PM PDT
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  14. Scott R Member

    Unless there’s some conspiring within the center-right lane — leading to a string of withdrawals and endorsements of a single contender — Cruz could cruise. The man is a master calculator and self-promoter. An absolute master.

    I’m not a fan, really, but anybody but Trump. Please God in heaven, anybody but Trump.

    • #14
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:07 PM PDT
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  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    WC, Robinson came slowly and with some fuss to the Romney camp in 2012. Great podcast fight in there. I’ll dig up a link.

    • #15
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:08 PM PDT
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  16. Franz Drumlin Member

    Metalheaddoc:

    Franz Drumlin:From your Ricochet post to God’s Inbox.

    What if God is using Sanebox? If Peter’s post get blackholed, does he receive eternal damnation?

    Of course, one assumes God ‘likes’ Peter Robinson and would never ‘unfriend’ him.

    • #16
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:18 PM PDT
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  17. Profile Photo Member

    It’s entirely plausible, actually, it’s probable. However, given the fluidity of this campaign season, it means it will not happen.

    I’d bet on the Donald.

    • #17
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:18 PM PDT
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  18. Tom Wilson Member

    It’s my understanding that when it comes time to actually vote electability becomes the prime motivator in Republican primaries. In this neither Trump nor Cruz inspire confidence. I would never give Trum my vote. In the general election I could. Easily vote for Cruz, but I wouldn’t have high expectations of a Republican victory. I just don’t think enough Americans will trust him.

    • #18
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:40 PM PDT
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  19. The Reticulator Member

    All of the good governors have dropped out so this is probably the best scenario remaining.

    • #19
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:41 PM PDT
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  20. livingtheLoneStarlife Inactive

    Douglas: Presidents Santorum and Huckabee say Hi.

    Both had campaigns created to do one thing: win Iowa.

    BrentB67: He built the best ground game in the business and a lot of people too quickly gloss over how much that matters in these early states.

    This is why I agree this could be over quickly. Unlike Santorum and Huckabee, Cruz has built a campaign to take advantage of an Iowa win.

    Another related thought just occurred to me (and answering a question that’s been rattling around my brain): by not attacking Trump, Cruz stands to bring all the Trump supporters when he does win Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, etc. If that happens, it’s game over.

    • #20
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:44 PM PDT
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  21. livingtheLoneStarlife Inactive

    If the next 6 months play out as Peter describes and we end up with nominee Ted Cruz, will Hillary attack him as an “inexperienced candidate who didn’t even serve a full term in the Senate”? If so, isn’t she indicting Obama?

    On the other hand, she’s sell her mother to a slave trader to win the White House, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she insulted Obama while attacking Cruz.

    • #21
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:48 PM PDT
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  22. Percival Thatcher

    The Reticulator:All of the good governors have dropped out so this is probably the best scenario remaining.

    I was going to write almost exactly that comment.

    • #22
    • December 20, 2015, at 7:57 PM PDT
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  23. Benjamin Glaser Member

    Just as a local anecdote Cruz is already active on the ground in Mississippi, has already done local speeches, has an already working statewide outreach GOTV group, and our primary is not until March 8th.

    • #23
    • December 20, 2015, at 8:06 PM PDT
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  24. Steve C. Member

    Don’t get cocky.

    • #24
    • December 20, 2015, at 8:30 PM PDT
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  25. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    He’s on Cruz control, baby.

    • #25
    • December 20, 2015, at 9:43 PM PDT
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  26. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author

    Casey:As much as I like pregame shows, Rubio is the next president.

    How do you see it? After the last debate, Rubio’s numbers dropped, and he’s far behind Cruz and Trump in Iowa and only in third or fourth place in New Hampshire. When and where do you expect him to make his move? How? By performing well in another debate? By way of advertising or of campaign organization?

    Rubio would be just fine with me, believe me, and I’d be perfectly happy to be surprised by a sudden Rubio move. It’s just that I myself don’t see it–not in the next five or six weeks.

    • #26
    • December 20, 2015, at 9:47 PM PDT
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  27. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author

    Benjamin Glaser:Just as a local anecdote Cruz is already active on the ground in Mississippi, has already done local speeches, has an already working statewide outreach GOTV group, and our primary is not until March 8th.

    Thanks for this, Benjamin. I just love local insights–and I’m hearing much the same from across the South. Cruz is present and active.

    • #27
    • December 20, 2015, at 9:48 PM PDT
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  28. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Now I have this Dennis Robbins classic in my head:

    • #28
    • December 20, 2015, at 9:48 PM PDT
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  29. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author

    Western Chauvinist:Dear Peter,

    I hope you’ll consider this question with all the good-will and admiration behind it, but when did you last make an accurate political prediction?

    Nineteen-eighty four.

    • #29
    • December 20, 2015, at 9:49 PM PDT
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  30. Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author

    Paul A. Rahe:Peter, this is entirely plausible — which may mean that it won’t happen. Would you have predicted the Trump phenomenon eighteen months ago? Or the Bernie Sanders phenomenon? I would not have predicted it, and I looked over the articles concerning Cruz’ strategy and thought, “That will never work!” This is the year of surprises, and we may not be done with them.

    This has indeed been a year of surprises. I myself expected Rubio to be in the lead by now, and I still have the feeling he’d make a stronger run against Hillary Clinton. My point in this post is simply to note that Cruz is suddenly in such a strong position that if he wins in Iowa, support could quickly consolidate around him. But we shall indeed see, Paul.

    Merry Christmas to all the Rahes, by the way!

    • #30
    • December 20, 2015, at 9:53 PM PDT
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