After reviewing the post-CNBC GOP presidential debate polls, I firmly believe that there is an increasing likelihood that Ted Cruz will win the Iowa caucuses. He will do this by wooing the Evangelical vote away from Ben Carson.
Polls show that Carson’s base is wide, but shallow – a large percentage of his supporters is willing to vote for another candidate. The core of the good doctor’s base is the Evangelical vote. Ted Cruz has the best targeting operation of any candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign. He will target this Iowa Evangelical vote, and he will have the highly effective assistance of his Evangelical pastor father, Rafael.
The Cruz message to the Evangelicals will be simple, yet compellingly effective. Ben Carson is a nice man and outstanding surgeon, but he has no governmental experience. I have the governmental experience, and I have successfully taken on the GOP establishment from within.
While Cruz will surge in Iowa, Donald Trump will remain status quo in his Hawkeye State voter share. Trump has a more solid base than Carson, consisting of voters who focus exclusively on the economic issue and believe that Trump’s business successes demonstrate that he is best equipped to lead America to unprecedented economic prosperity.
This perception on the part of Trump supporters is highly illogical for two reasons. First, it ignores the business failures of Donald Trump (e.g. Atlantic City). Secondly, success as an entrepreneur does not mean that one would be well equipped to lead a nation to prosperity. Otherwise, the highly successful entrepreneur, Herbert Hoover would have led America to new heights of prosperity rather than into the depths of the most severe depression in American history.
Nevertheless, Trump’s base voters do stubbornly adhere to the myth of The Donald as the Messiah of Economic Prosperity. Trump will not be able to augment this base, however – he will continue to fail to garner a larger share of women voters, due to his history of sexist rhetoric. He will finish second to Cruz in Iowa.
Meanwhile, I was highly entertained by Chris Christie’s latest message: Bladder control is an essential qualification for the presidency.
Christie is desperate for a breakout message. The latest Monmouth Poll shows that in New Hampshire, he ranks seventh among the GOP candidates, with an abysmal five percent. When GOP voters’ first and second choices are combined, Christie ranks eighth.
Nevertheless, Christie’s coterie of feckless spinmeisters is touting his rise from 2 to 5 percent in New Hampshire as a harbinger of a massive surge. This would be like Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell, whose team has a 1-7 record, claiming that his team will reach the Super Bowl if they win two games in a row.
Few are buying Christie’s comeback claim, so every day, he tries to promulgate a new attention-grabbing message. His message yesterday, delivered in the context of the controversy over future debate rules, is his most entertaining and amusing yet:
“Listen, if you can’t exert bladder control for two hours, maybe you shouldn’t be president of the United States,”
I guess Christie felt he would be more credible delivering a bladder control message than an overall physical fitness message. Former New Jersey Assembly Speaker and GOP Chair Garabed “Chuck” Haytaian once told me, “If people feel a politician is a real SOB, that does not necessarily hurt him. But if he becomes an object of ridicule, he’s toast.” Chris Christie’s national laughingstock presidential campaign is compelling proof of this proposition.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.