People are talking about who won Iowa, who lost Iowa, etc. - and it really doesn't matter.
Iowa's caucuses serves two purposes. First, although it's less true than it used to be, it's small size is the equivalent of opening a play off Broadway. You have a chance to get attention for less than it would cost in California, etc. Someone who doesn't have a chance can make a splash and get attention.
Second, we kick people out of the race. You don't have to win in Iowa, being #1 is just bragging rights. But you have to show you're serious and can get some following, or your run is over. This is usually called "earning a ticket out of Iowa". There's always two tickets out of Iowa, usually three tickets, rarely four. If you got a ticket, that's a win. If you didn't get a ticket, that's a loss. Whether you got the #1, #2, or #3 ticket really doesn't matter.
So Cruz, Trump, and Rubio continue their campaigns, and maybe Carson convinces himself "I've still got a chance". Everyone else goes home, disappointed but without the debts from a full campaign. On the other side - Clinton and Sanders fight on, and O'Malley probably folds his tent soon.
Does this mean that some candidates get weeded out who shouldn't? Depends on the meaning of "shouldn't". Neither Cruz nor Trump nor Rubio would've been my choice if I'd still lived in Iowa (but then, none of the candidates had my enthusiastic support). But it's no surprise that the others would be sad today, or any real reason to think they'd do really well elsewhere, the only surprise tonight is how well Rubio did.
Posted on February 1, 2016, 9:14 pm
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