It was, quite frankly, amazing. Honestly, Trump went down--against expectations. The eight most trusted polls taken here in the waning days of the caucus' buildup all pointed at the billionare to sweep. Not so. R.I.P.
Instead, Iowa's famed evangelicals found their man in Ted Cruz, a pol so disliked by party regulars that it's hard to find anyone--save Iowa's own head-hater, Steve King--who backed him. Even Terry Brandstad, our Governor-for-Life, tried to shoot him in the leg. No matter. Just as the evangelists consecrated Rick Santorum and Gov. Huckabee in past caucuses, they went with the candidate most willing to words sacred to piety, such as, "To God Be the Glory," the kind of utterances that warm evangelical souls.
But on the other side of the aisle, a kind of non-Democrat challenged and beat (dead heat, really, but an incredible victory nonetheless) the "establishment" Democrat, a woman so well-heeled in every way that she was the only candidate in the whole catalog who had an ex-President on stage with her when she claimed a win she really didn't get.
Given the score of candidates from both parties, Iowa decided to cherry pick at the ends of the political spectrum, picking the most progressive and the most conservative candidates. Amazing. If Iowa's choices become America's--which rarely happens, by the way--the American electorate is going to have a choice that's crystal clear--would you like a lifelong socialist or a crypto-facist? It will be an election like none other.
Just before the caucuses, Politico outlined the counties to watch when the totals would start jumping. One of them was Sioux County.
What is the Sioux County Republican box score now that all the percentages are in the book? Cruz 32, Rubio 32, Carson 15, Trump 11. The biggest story there, methinks, is not Cruz's win but Trump's road-side flat-tire. And that's encouraging. If I was given to excesses in piety, I might just say, "to God be the Glory," but I'm not as sure as Cruz that He's got a favorite.
Politico was right. Sioux County was not only a harbinger, it was a clean-up hitter. An amazing night, really. Still, maybe it's encouraging that the Iowa Caucuses so rarely chooses someone who turns out to be a winner. The chasm separating the two candidates we crowned last night seems Royal-Gorge-ish.
The two really big winners--Cruz and Bernie--offer one heckuva dramatic choice.
An amazing night, and incredible end to a massively fascinating campaign here in Iowa and especially here in Iowa's far northwest corner.
We'll see if what seems true here is true elsewhere. If Iowa's any kind of a barometer (and it often isn't), then the American populace is bounding off in two totally opposite directions linked only by this--overwhelmingly massive distaste for the status quo. In Iowa at least, we'll have no more of "the same."
The Iowa electorate, have no doubt, is angry. They may be poles apart, but they're hungry for significant change.