If HILLARY CLINTON is going to be President, she needs the election moved up by six months. Her supporters aren't getting any younger. In Iowa, Bernie Sanders beat the bejesus out of her with people under 44 and in the under-30 segment, Sanders beat her by six to one. Seriously. The closer people got to Medicare and assisted living, the better Hillary did with them. In Hillary's favor, it's clear that she's had a major upgrade in hairstyling and wardrobe since cashing some of those $200,000 Goldman Sachs speaking fee checks.
BERNIE SANDERS is a revolutionary. He makes no bones about it. He doesn't speak with the schooled oratorical gestures of a Ted Cruz or the sappy sing-a-long crap of Marco Rubio. He gets up in front of an audience in his rumpled suit and quirky gestures and speaks from the gut about the “disgusting greed” of the ultra-wealthy. He's a Brooklyn-born Jew with an Irish Catholic wife who delivers a message of social justice far more Christian than the so-called “Christians” on the right who start their rallies with prayers and are most enthusiastic when talking about the death penalty or carpet bombing. As of right now, Bernie is on fire. The question for him is, can he continue to bring the heat and expand the electorate. It's not out of the question.
DONALD TRUMP is a self-proclaimed “winner” with “unbelievable polls … leading everywhere”. He likes to throw punches and treat his opponents with dismissive contempt. Now that he's a loser, at least in Iowa, we'll see if he really wants to be President of the United States. More than anybody in either party, Trump's campaign has been about the Cult of Personality … Trump as Winner. He's bleeding now, and that gives a street-fighter like Chris Christie, who has to show well in New Hampshire, an opportunity to see how Mr. Trump reacts when he is the punchee rather than the puncher. Trump has had major setbacks in his business career and overcome them to come back stronger. He was younger then. It's entirely possible that the air will come out of the Trump presidential balloon in a New York minute.
TED CRUZ is an interesting piece of work. There's no question that he's smart. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who knew Cruz when Cruz was in law school, says his mind is top-rate. He's also good (like a game show host) before a crowd. He can quote Scripture like those fundamentalist preachers that have hairdos that look like bird nests. Plus, he's crafty … Nixon-class crafty … and a hard worker. In Iowa, he put out information at the last minute that Ben Carson was leaving the race. Cruz, of course, hoped to benefit by picking up some of Carson's supporters. Mild-mannered Ben was incensed. Cruz got the Iowa win because he out-organized everybody. The downside for Cruz is that he doesn't wear well. Watch him speak a couple of times and it makes you feel like you need to take a bath … or he does. There's something weird about Cruz. Maybe it's the frequency with which he proclaims his Christianity and his record of enthusiastic support for frequent application of the death penalty and the indiscriminate killing of the very young and the very old through carpet bombing. It's unlikely the country will turn to the unctuous undertaker, Ted Cruz, for a cheerful future.
MARCO RUBIO is enjoying a press honeymoon. He's referred to as the favorite of the Republican Party “Establishment”. He continuously refers to his hardscrabble upbringing and the fact that he knows what it's like to live “paycheck to paycheck”. He neglects to say that the person signing the front of those paychecks for him and his wife for the last 15 years is Miami Billionaire Norman Braman. Rubio has also engaged in a multi-year courtship of Mega Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, which will probably bear fruit as a result of his third-place finish in Iowa. Mr. Braman and Mr. Adelson are both passionate supporters of Israel. They are not accustomed to making bad investments. Rubio's speaking style can best be described as a grating, sappy, sing-a-long consistent with how he lives his life … sucking up to powerful people with money. He's perfectly qualified for a career as a casino host. President? Please.
[Sheldon Adelson's Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom, leads today (February 3) with a story barely containing its giddiness over “Rubio's Momentum”. You can bet that Rupert Murdoch's FOX empire will join in the Rubio cheering chorus.]
JOHN KASICH is a tough ethnic guy from the Rust Belt. He had a productive 18-year stint in the US House of Representatives and is serving his second term as Governor of Ohio. You don't serve two terms as Governor of Ohio by being doctrinaire anything. You'd better be a problem-solver or be gone. Kasich did not compete in Iowa. He's putting all his chips on New Hampshire. He's the kind of guy who will get votes from people who normally vote Democrat. Kasich never went to Jerk School (also known as the United States Senate) so he's capable of speaking like a human being. The race on the Republican side would get a major reset if Kasich surprises on the upside in New Hampshire. I hope he does.
CHRIS CHRISTIE does not hide his light under a bushel. He's not going to be the Republican nominee, but he's going to make his presence known, and maybe rough up some of the pretty boys (Cruz and Rubio) before heading back to New Jersey. That would be a good thing … roughing up the pretty boys, that is.
JEB BUSH has not been able to get out of his own way. He's earnest and decent and all of those good things, but he'll never be mistaken for a master communicator. As Donald Trump would say, “It's sad, very sad.”
I will post again on Wednesday March 2, 2016 or before if the news flow dictates.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.