I’m writing this on a train using my phone. So apologises for spelling and grammar errors. But:
1. All credit to Bernie – who once seemed like a fringe candidate – for pushing Clinton into a near as dammit draw. Nonetheless, I stand by my view yesterday that anything less than a crushing victory in Iowa shows he doesn’t have the depth of support to win the nomination. It’s a near perfect demographics for him. A draw here means a defeat nationally.
2. The New Hampshire primary now looks far more interesting on the Republican than the Democrat side. It should be an easy win for Sanders as it has even better demographics for him than Iowa and is adjacent to Vermont.
3. This isn’t necessarily a disaster for Trump. His support seems fairly evenly spread so Iowa has no particular significance for him beyond being the first state to vote. But it has shown that his poll numbers are soft, as well as demonstrating the limitations to a campaign based on doing obnoxious things in order to get free media. If he wants to be the nominee he needs to start building a conventional political machine that matches it’s rivals for field offices and ads.
4. Rubio is now the presumptive ‘establishment’ candidate. His rivals for that position will probably hang in till New Hampshire but after this result it seems unlikely any of them can outpoll him there.
5. My instinct is that both Rubio and the Dems will be happy if Cruz’s win in Iowa makes him and not Trump the guy they have to beat. Trump is wiley and unpredictable. By contrast, Cruz is an inflexible hardliner with little room to manoeuvre policywise. He combines that with being the guy who shut down the Federal government and an air of smugness marinated in creepiness.