Between Bernie, Hillary, Trump and Cruz, there's a whole lot of crazy going on in this state right now. And Bernie Sanders has just ratcheted it up a notch on the Democratic side by warning that the evil corporate capitalists at Microsoft might steal the caucuses.
Which, in one sense, is par for the course. As I've said repeatedly, both Democratic and Republican voters in Iowa tend to be extreme, even more so than nationally. In fact, in my opinion the single best argument against Iowa remaining first in the nation- or having any disproportionate influence in the nominating process at all- is that it not only gives an advantage to unelectable candidates but forces all the candidates to say things they'll regret later just to connect to the ideologically-oriented Iowa caucus-goer.
This year, of course, we have Donald Trump, who is not only extreme but all over the place. His chief rival figures to be Ted Cruz, a conservative so rigid and uncompromising that I'm surprised his knees bend when he walks.
The exception is generally when the caucus-goer's urge to win is so strong that it overcomes the lemming instinct which normally animates the process in Iowa. Oddly, since you would think that after eight years out of office it would be the Republicans for whom winning would come first, the shadow of November seems to fall most heavily this year on the Democrats, who seem to be overcoming their instinctive Leftward lurch to support the candidate who is merely scandal-ridden rather than outside the American political mainstream. Hillary looks to beat Bernie Sanders.
But for the Republicans, whom one would think would be better motivated to win, the only candidate with a real chance of being elected, Marco Rubio, figures to finish no better than third. Ted Cruz, the darling of the ideologues, leads the polls. But as was the case for the Democrats in 2008, the Republicans face an onslaught of first-time caucus-goers, most of them almost certainly wild-eyed kamikaze Trump fans.
Incidentally, Nate Silver says it'll be Hillary and Trump. I agree with him. And the sooner the silly season ends and the Iowa Caucuses are over, the better off we'll be.
Of course, the signs of mass psychosis Republican voters are showing nationally indicate that Iowa Syndrome may be spreading like a virus. One can only hope that Republicans somewhere remember before it's too late that this process is about choosing a president, and only secondarily about expressing anger.
Photo By DonkeyHotey via http://public-domain.pictures/