Trump is trumped and Hillary drawn to the wire


The US Presidential  race for the White House in 2017 is officially underway. The intially-declared candidates were out of the starting blocks in snowy Iowa’s presidential caucuses on Monday, 1st February.

Iowa is a farming-based state of 3 million souls in America’s mid-west, and its caucuses are the first electoral steps towards deciding the next leader of the free world. Judging by the Hawkeye state’s  track record, there’s a fifty-fifty chance that one of their selections will become the next US President.

Iowa state is traditionally where the first contest is held for candidates to become presidential nominees for both of America’s two giant parties – the Democratic Party and Republican Party. State-by-state American voters will now go to caucuses and primaries to choose their preferred party candidates for the big presidential Election Day on 8th November.

The results from the Iowa party caucuses may have shocked many, not least some of the leading contenders. Property tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump, who has courted controversy throughout his campaign, entered Iowa leading the Republican pack but it was maverick Texas Senator Ted Cruz who came out strongest, beating billionaire Trump with 28% of Iowan votes to The Donald’s 24%, with Senator Marco Rubio nipping at Trump’s polished leather heels on 23%. The Republican field was vast, with 12 challengers on the ballot. With Cruz’s strong showing, there is speculation that Trump’s hitherto unassailable lead will soon come to an end.

The Democratic caucus was not without its surprises either. Hillary Clinton, New York  Senator and former Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s first term as president, suffered a considerable blow. Clinton was forced into a near-tie with veteran senator and self-proclaimed left-wing socialist Bernie Sanders. With the count being declared by many as ‘too close to call’, Senator Sanders has demanded the release of the raw voting data. In the end, Clinton won a small victory over Sanders of a single delegate, with 22 versus 21 with 99% of votes counted.

The first step on the road to the White House has begun in Iowa. With today’s results in, there are no longer any favourites in the race, which is therefore going to be a long hard road ahead.

If there are any lessons to be learnt from the history of the Iowa caucuses then they may be these. Since 1972, and counting Gerald Ford who of course was an unelected US President, Iowans have chosen correctly in 9 out of the 11 US presidential elections. Iowa proved right 4 out of 9 times for the Democrats,when they chose Jimmy Carter in 1980, Bill Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. For the Republicans their hit rate is 5 out of 11 – they chose Ford in 1976, Ronald Reagan in 1984, George H.W. Bush (snr) in 1992, and George W Bush (jnr) in 2000 and 2004. Therefore, whichever party’s nominee becomes US President in 2017 there is almost a 50-50 chance that the winner will be either Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton.


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