Sunday, January 31, 2016

Will Americans Upend the Political Order? Iowa May Tell

Well, I sure hope so.

At the New York Times, "Iowa Will Gauge Ardor to Upend Politics as Usual":
DES MOINES — The presidential race hurtled over the weekend toward a watershed moment: voting that will start to reveal the true depth of Americans’ desire to cast aside traditional politicians and Washington-style compromise and embrace disruptive outsiders appealing to their passions.

After a year of countless and often conflicting polls, more than 250,000 Iowans are expected to attend caucuses on a relatively mild Monday night and render judgment on insurgent candidates who would bar Muslims from the country (Donald J. Trump), oppose concessions to Democrats (Senator Ted Cruz of Texas) and pursue a high-tax, big-government agenda (Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont). Voters are poised to bring order to the race, or reorder politics, as in no other recent election.

Money, experience and endorsements — advantages that usually turn candidates like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, into inevitable nominees — will be tested against the potent messages of rivals promising upheaval.

The importance of aggressive fund-raising and campaign commercials, which have cost a combined total of more than $100 million so far, will become suspect if the social-media-driven organizing by grass-roots groups helps yield upset victories for candidates like Mr. Sanders.

And the national mood about entrenched power — Wall Street, political dynasties and Washington — will almost certainly be reflected in the outcomes of the nominating contests this winter.

On the Republican side, Mr. Trump, who spent Saturday barnstorming across eastern Iowa, projected the supreme confidence that has defined his campaign. A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday found that 28 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers supported Mr. Trump, while 23 percent favored Mr. Cruz and 15 percent backed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Mr. Trump, in an interview on Friday, barely dwelled on those two rivals, saying that he was already looking ahead to the prospect of a general election matchup against Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state and senator.

“Our popularity is strong enough to put states in play in November that Republicans don’t usually win anymore: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m a little surprised that I’ve done this well, to tell you the truth. But my message is something that people want to hear, more than just going along with the usual politicians.”
Keep reading.