The final Des Moines Register poll has been released and there’s both joy and consternation across the land. The anti-Trump folks are going one of two ways on it. Some have resigned themselves to the inevitable and are exploring various forms of suicide. Others are denying physical reality and following in the steps of Dorothy Martin and her UFO cult. Back in 2012 we saw the same thing in the week prior to the general election.
The Trump supporters are a bit sanguine about it. They are happy to see their man pulling into the lead, but they fear it is a false dawn. After all, all of the experts have said that this is an impossibility. So conditioned to accept expert opinion, they cannot believe that the unicorn they are seeing is real. I can’t blame them for it. I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff in my life and this is pretty weird. I still can’t get over Jerry Falwell endorsing Trump.
When gaming these things out, it is important to remember that Iowa is the not always a good barometer. Of the last seven contested GOP campaigns, Iowa picked correctly three of seven times. The Democrats are not much better. Iowa has picked correctly five of the last nine contested Democrat races. I’m just looking at the Wiki page going back to the 70’s, which is a good enough sample to see that it is a coin flip as to whether Iowa matters.
If the polls and prognostications are correct and Trump wins Iowa, he goes into New Hampshire with a massive (edit: I have a poor sense of direction) tailwind and a good shot at running the table. He’s already a big favorite in New Hampshire and he leads in the later events. Iowa was thought to be his weakest state for him, so a win and he probably sees his numbers jump everywhere.
The question is how the rest of the field will respond. There’s clearly a good portion of the GOP electorate who has been trained to hate Trump by their keepers in the Conservative Industrial Complex. Will we see the rest of the field lock shields, pick a champion and launch an anti-Trump counterattack? That’s a good possibility, but history says these efforts fizzle due to the fact the factions hate one another as much as they hate the bogeyman they share.
So, we have one possible outcome. Trump wins and we quickly see some sort of stop Trump effort coalescing around a single candidate. The betting now has Trump as a 49% chance of winning so let’s give this scenario the same chance. Next week we have a Trump victory and the beginnings of a CIC organized stop Trump campaign around one of the losers.
The next most likely outcome in Iowa, according to the numbers, is a Cruz win in Iowa. Barring something close to an asteroid strike, it would also mean Trump comes in second and Rubio third. Cruz has the best “ground game” in the state and we’re told that means a lot, but the data suggests maybe not all that much after all. Thirty years ago the number of volunteers and endorsements was a proxy for voter sympathies, but that’s not true today. Otherwise, Trump would not exist.
A Cruz win means he goes into New Hampshire with some momentum, but he is not very popular there and the rebel vote is solidly behind Trump. How much of a dent it puts in Trump’s support is unknown, but his vote is not going to the party men so in this scenario, not much changes for Trump. On the other hand, it makes mounting an anti-Trump campaign impossible. The party hates Cruz too. That makes this scenario the nightmare scenario for the CIC.
We have a 49% chance of a Trump win and a 40% chance of a Cruz win, both are bad news for the CIC. Reading the propaganda organs, their hope is Rubio wins, thus launching both a javelin at the heart of the rebels and launching a new crusade for the men in modestly priced suits who make up the Conservative Industrial Complex.
Having a bisexual Cuban amnesty fanatic knock off the evil ones would be for them what Obama was for the other side of the managerial elite. Wednesday in Washington would be an unofficial holiday as the locals partied into the wee hours.
Once sober, they would pull the plug on the rest of the field, train their guns on Trump and we would get a replay of 1992 where a wall of sound would hit the public, declaring Trump out of bounds. Trump’s support would collapse down to the core 25% and he would look for a way to exit the scene.
Finally, there’s the man from nowhere scenario. Rick Santorum won last time, even though no one gave him much thought. The reason he won, the reason the CIC refused to acknowledge at the time, was that Romney was terrible. Santorum was the “none of the above” option. The only guy who could plausibly play that role this time in Ben Carson and he is not looking too good. I’d give this a one percent chance of happening.
There we have it. There’s a 49% chance Trump wins and sets off a real old fashioned civil war in the party. There’s a 40% chance Cruz wins and delays the civil war or even prevents it. A lot will depend on how New Hampshire goes in this scenario. Then there is a 10% chance the CIC destroys the rebel alliance and reasserts its control of the process. Finally, we have a 1% chance of something crazy happening that tells us nothing.