by Rod D. Martin
February 5, 2016

The Half-Full Report is Dr. Jack Wheeler’s weekly column at To The Point News. Rod is filling in for Jack this month.

The winner:

 Ted Cruz Victory Smile Iowa

Believe it or not, the New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. So it probably matters to fully grasp the fallout from Iowa first.

A year ago, we were endlessly told that “Republicans won’t vote for anyone but a governor.” The governors — all of them put together — got just 8.3%, compared to 9.3% for the distant fourth-place Ben Carson. Indeed, the outsider candidates – Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina – got a combined 90.7% of the vote. Dropping Rubio (the new Establishment choice), Paul and Fiorina (because one is out and the other will be soon) still gets you 61.2%.

That’s about as big a repudiation of the Republican Establishment as you could get.

That Establishment is scrambling of course. Having sometime ago anointed Rubio as their replacement for Bush, they’ve lately warmed up to Donald Trump as well. There’s a lot to be said about that, and about Jack’s (and my) strong preference for Cruz.

But the real point is that they’d rather suck on a pickle than have to deal with any of these people. They have utterly lost control of the process. And we should all take a lot of encouragement from that. The system does still work. It may take far too long, it may yet produce a result we dislike, but the people can still speak. And so long as that’s true, the glass is more than half-full.


In the aftermath of Monday’s shellacking, the one and two percenters started dropping like flies, with Mike Huckabee out Monday night, followed quickly by Rick Santorum (the two previous Iowa winners, who during last week’s debate shared Donald Trump’s stage). Rand Paul followed them on Wednesday, thus hopefully saving his endangered Senate seat.

Ben Carson may not be next – or so he loudly tells us – but “reducing” his campaign’s headcount by 50 yesterday is not what anyone would call a good sign. And it gets worse: this comes on the heels of Carson’s New Hampshire Super PAC’s entire staff defecting to Cruz last month.

Carson’s woes effectively make the Republican contest a three-man race.


You have probably heard a lot about the Carson flap in Iowa, in which Cruz staffers sent out an email repeating a CNN story that seemed to indicate Carson was done. Carson – along with the defeated Donald Trump and an Establishment media that is terrified of Cruz – seized on this as “stealing the election,” to which one can only wonder how all these supposedly-switched Carson voters were so feeble-minded as not to check with their own campaign before (allegedly) switching their votes.

Of course all of this is pure propaganda, as the ever brilliant Ben Shapiro detailed a couple of days ago (“No, Cruz Didn’t Win Iowa By Cheating. Here’s Why Donald Trump’s Pushing That Narrative“). But you’re smart, so you knew that already. Just as the media (and no one worse than Fox News) spent the entirety of election night pretending third-place Marco Rubio had won, they’ve spent the week since trying to, ahem, “steal” Cruz’s bounce.

That’s life in the NFL.


While the Carson flap has indeed hurt Cruz somewhat, Iowa has helped him more. PPP has the national race at Trump 25%, with Cruz and Rubio tied at 21%. Yes, the PPP poll has Trump down a whopping 9 points, with a moderate Cruz surge and Rubio picking up the Establishment folks who have nowhere else to go. Quinnipiac has Trump 31%, Cruz 22%, Rubio 19%. Interestingly, Cruz and Trump are tied among Tea Party voters, and Cruz is beating both Trump and Rubio with women.

Trump really ought to win New Hampshire handily: Cruz’s test is to do moderately well in the Granite State and then go kick butt in South Carolina. But even so, Iowa proved the distinct limits of Trump’s campaign, which has largely ignored the fundamentals of on-the-ground organization. And while some polls have Rubio surging into second in New Hampshire, he and Cruz are statistically tied. If Cruz manages to upset Rubio for second place, this could become a two-man race very fast.


It’s worth noting that Trump did not err in skipping the Fox News debate. It was a gamble, and it certainly would have paid off much better if Rupert Murdoch had caved, leaving Trump the master of the deal and even the media (“if he can negotiate that, he can negotiate anything!”).

But there was really no way for Trump to lose. His solo event raised $6 million for veterans, and suckered two prior Iowa winners into giving the appearance of an endorsement, live on three networks while the fourth (Fox) referred to Trump all night. That’s a lot of positive attention.

Meanwhile, Trump knew that both Megyn Kelly and national champion debater Cruz would have better than even odds of taking him down mere days before the caucus; he almost certainly knew also that Fox would be airing gotcha videos of the candidates’ past statements. The odds of a train wreck were just too high. So Trump made the right call.

Interestingly enough (and not at all surprisingly), Trump announced today that he’ll participate in the next Fox debate on March 3, whether or not Megyn Kelly is on stage (she will be).


Regardless of the media spin, the most likeable candidate won Iowa, as this chart from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight demonstrates:

Net Favorability Republican Candidates Jan. 28, 2016

The “Ted Cruz is unlikable” spin is hogwash, just as is the “Ted Cruz is unprincipled” and “Ted Cruz will say anything to win” attack. The truth is the exact opposite. While the spin is working on some, Ted Cruz is primarily disliked by people who hate smart principled conservatives who really mean what they believe and will act upon it. This drives the Establishment absolutely mad, as is well illustrated by these Cruz “endorsements”:

Robert B. Reich, in an article this week entitled “Five Reasons Ted Cruz is Even More Dangerous Than Donald Trump”: “Cruz is a true believer. Trump has no firm principles except making money, getting attention and gaining power.”

Jimmy Carter, as reported by The Hill: “I would choose Trump [over Cruz]….Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed positions. Ted Cruz is not malleable.”

Add these to the list of such conservative luminaries as Bob Dole, John McCain, Peter King, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham and of course, Bristol Palin, and you start to see what’s really going on here.

Oh, and while we’re at it? Cruz won the most votes of any candidate in the history of Iowa, and did so in an eleven-candidate field. Turnout hit 180,000, 50% above anything ever recorded, and we were told endlessly that that would result in a Trump blowout (just a few examples: Gateway Pundit, National Review, Christian Science Monitor). Rubio’s “surge” placed him in third place – exactly where the polls said he’d land – while Cruz’s put him five points higher than the RCP average and in first place instead of second.


If you missed Jack’s Jan. 22 HFR, you missed his exposition on “Donald Perón”. Well this week the American Spectator picked up the same theme, in this lovely piece, “Juan Perón Trump vs. Isabel Perón Clinton”.

Yes, it’s even worse than you think.


Moving from fascism to racism, Cruz was the first Hispanic ever to win an Iowa caucus. Not only was this almost completely unreported in the media, but Chris Matthews actually questioned whether Rubio and Cruz count as Hispanic.

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Yes, Democrats are hypocritical racists, as they’ve been at least since Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, the founding of the KKK and the campaigns of the ever delightful Orval Faubus and George Wallace. As I’ve often said, I take great pride in belonging to a political party that has never had its own terror wing.


As you may have heard, Iowa Democrats used a coin flip to determine the winner in several locations, which due to the closeness of the race, meant the coin flips determined the winner of the state.

Hillary therefore “won” Iowa by winning an, ahem, improbable 6-out-of-6 coin tosses, defying 64:1 odds, reminding everyone of her earlier good fortune with cattle futures.

Not shockingly, Bernie Sanders is a tad upset, and the Des Moines Register has called for an audit of the results, in an editorial lede: “Something smells in the Democratic Party.”

Only a week ago, the Register endorsed Hillary. That’s some very fast buyer’s remorse.

Who knows how this worked. Maybe the Clintonistas got lucky. Maybe they used fake coins. Or maybe they watched this video:

Regardless, it’s an inauspicious start for the “inevitable” nominee. Hillary was supposed to win Iowa, close or not. Even the New York Times calls the loss a “jolting psychological blow.”

It’s not getting better. Hillary will lose New Hampshire by a big margin. Her email troubles just keep getting worse. And as Dick Morris points out, she has very little “firewall” beyond South Carolina. She’s not finished yet: she may well pull it out. But as I’ve been pointing out for quite some time, her troubles run a lot deeper than these headlines.


All of this is entertaining, but we need to remember that it’s not about the show. The next President may appoint as many as five Supreme Court justices: let that be Hillary or Bernie, and it’s likely to be game over for the America we’ve known. And the other side of this is also true: if the right Republican – and not merely the same-old same-old – were to name those justices, most of what’s gone wrong since FDR’s 1937 “Court Packing Plan” might well be undone.

So as upbeat as I generally am, I am more than a bit concerned when I see something like this: CNN asking Sanders supporters to define the word “socialism”:

Yeah, that counts as disturbing.

But on the other hand, let’s keep this glass half full. What you’re seeing above tells us that there’s a lot of hope, if we’d just reach out and educate these folks. They honestly don’t know what they’re voting for. Decades of public indoctrination, er, education have left them bereft of understanding either of what America is about and how it’s succeeded, or of the horrors of 20th Century socialism, with 100 million dead, and living nightmares across the globe. They just don’t know.

So we need to teach them.

Fortunately, if we keep the wolves at bay a bit longer, the world is going our way. The internet is doing as much to turn the world libertarian as the hierarchical corporate structures of the last century encouraged socialism. Millions of young people with dreams of starting businesses in their homes not only don’t want someone telling them what to do, they’ll find out just how bad it is the instant they act on their plans. At PayPal, we enabled the creation of several million small businesses in just our first two years. I doubt many of those entrepreneurs would support Bernie Sanders if they understood the word “nationalization”.

We are also helped in this: Rasmussen this week found that 81% of Americans believe the government is corrupt.

We can make a very strong case not to hand over everyone’s livelihood to that. The question is, will we?


Finally, I want to thank my dear friend Jack Wheeler for the opportunity to write in his stead this month. Regular TTPers know well just how extraordinary Jack is, both in accomplishments and insight. But it has been my honor for many years now (and I am yet just 46) to know Jack and his entire, incredible family personally. It is one of this country’s great tragedies that he is not a Senator, a cabinet member, DNI, something that might fully harness his character and brilliance.

Perhaps in this new, pro-outsider day (not that Jack doesn’t know his way around Washington), there might yet be hope.


— This article originally appeared at To The Point News.