How Donald Trump is Changing the Election Game, One Primary at a Time

By Kelly Morrison

To the surprise (ahem, delight) of many, Donald Trump did not win the Iowa Caucus on February 1st, 2016. Ted Cruz won with 27.6% of the vote, edging out Trump’s 24.3% (2016 Election Central). Historically, the Iowa Caucus represents the first of the caucuses, or primaries, in the United States’ nominating process for the President.

Senator Ted Cruz won with 51,666 votes, beating out Donald Trump (45,427) by over 6,000 votes. Marco Rubio came in a close third with 43,165; however, there was a large margin between third place and Dr. Ben Carson’s 17,395 votes in fourth place. The Republican Iowa Caucus contained a multitude of front-runners with close results while the Democratic caucus was narrowly split between Hillary Clinton’s 49.9% of the vote and 49.6% for Bernie Sanders.

The implications of the Iowa Caucus are arguably minimal, as it was the first in a series of caucuses to take place until the Republican nominee is finally chosen. The narrow margin between three front-runners in the Republican party guarantees a tight, hard-fought race for the remainder of the nominating process. To win the Republican Presidential nomination, the nominee must have 1,237 delegates, to be gained through a series of caucus participation.

After the Iowa Caucus, Ted Cruz had eight delegates with Trump and Rubio tied with seven delegates. Each delegate will be necessary to gain a strong lead in the race. After the surprising upset at the Iowa Caucus, will Trump be able to refocus and attract the right-wing base he needs? If New Hampshire’s results are anything to go by, the answer might be yes. Trump picked up 10 delegates on Tuesday, to Cruz’s and Rubio’s three, effectively putting him in the lead, even with an Iowa loss. 

When Trump announced his candidacy for President in June 2015, few would have predicted that billionaire businessman would become the front-runner for the majority of the Republican race to the primaries. Trump briefly ran for office in 2012, but dropped out shortly after entering the race. Trump’s lack of experience in public office and his outlandish statements convinced many that it would be another short-lived, albeit entertaining, campaign.

In 2016, with Trump’s first official election loss (and one election win in New Hampshire), the repercussions could mean the beginning of the end for many candidates. Here’s how the loss may change the future of the Republican race:

Trump’s Campaign Donald Trump is undoubtedly extreme in his wild statements (he commented on The View in 2006 that if his daughter was not related to him, he’d date herand aggressive in policy (he called to ban all Muslims from entering the United States in December 2015 [CNN]). However, he frequently attempts to justify his personality and campaign methods by commenting on his polling numbers. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll published on January 15, 2016, 42% of polled voters said that they could see themselves voting for Trump as the nominee. And while Trump has enjoyed being the Republican front-runner throughout the early campaign season, the tides may have turned. Without the support of polling numbers due to the Iowa loss, Trump can no longer depend on high public support in the polls to prop up his extreme views. It’s too soon to tell whether Iowa’s loss or New Hampshire’s win was the fluke.

Fraudulent Activity During the Iowa Caucus, reports have surfaced that Cruz staffers lied to caucus attendees by indicating that Dr. Ben Carson was dropping out and votes should go to Cruz instead. Cruz apologized and fired those staffers. Trump publicly called for a nullified caucus or a new election while complaining about Cruz’s actions. While the dirty tricks of Cruz garnered a bit of controversy, people are calling out Trump for being a sore loser and attempting to tear down his Republican rivals.

Throughout the Republican campaign process, Trump has been the “alpha” and front-runner: combative, leading in the polls, and gaining significant media coverage. Without the voter support in Iowa, Trump’s attacks on his opponents are starting to sound petulant. Following the New Hampshire primary held on February 9, Trump walked away with a surprising 35.3% of the vote; but the real upset was Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, coming out of left field and beating out Cruz and Rubio. With two primaries down, one thing is clear: the Republican race will be full of surprises and is far from over.

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About Kelly 

Kelly was born and raised in Virginia, where she currently lives with her rescued pup, Anna and fiance. She loves frozen Hershey kellyldbars, Netflix, running, and playing with new technology. Her best friends are her over-sized giraffe stuffed animal and her sass, which never leaves her side.

 

 

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