After months of much sound and fury signifying little, America finally has the chance to see real, honest-to-gosh results from genuine American voters participating in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus. The results are... interesting.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders achieved a nearly perfect tie, even after the corrupt machinations of voter fraud for which the Clintons are famous. Bernie considers Iowa a win for him and he's probably right, considering that the gargantuan amount of money and other powerful forces brought to bear by the Clinton machine could only squeak out a minute fraction of victory, assuming that it was a real victory and not a fraud. We'll see what happens in New Hampshire.
The Republican results were more unexpected. Polling had showed Ted Cruz and Donald Trump to be dead even, but actual numbers had Mr. Cruz winning by a discernible margin.
From the rear, though, Marco Rubio unexpectedly rose to score just under Donald Trump. Nobody saw this coming.
The reason for the surprise is obvious: the large numbers of undecided Republican caucusgoers obviously decided at the last moment that they preferred Mr. Rubio, and by definition polls wouldn't pick that up. But in a year of popular fury and rising insurgency, what is his appeal?
Perhaps it's because of the over-boiling popular fury offered by Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump that "undecideds," who are probably more centrist than deeply conservative because they had not made up their minds until time to vote, find the aggressive stance of Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz threatening. Mr. Rubio's approach is more low-key and traditional, and he's received a fair bit of help over the months from the media's portrayal of his past and record.
There's another, more disturbing explanation which is rendered credible by all the stories of voter fraud which are coming out of the Democrat side. We are seeing stories about the Republican establishment and big donors coalescing behind Mr. Rubio, in hopes of taking out their more "extreme" competitors.
Marco Rubio's stated positions reflect the standard party lines Republican voters have been fed for years if not decades.
He wants a strong military, which the Republican base also desires, but he seems to show a neo-conservative willingness for American intervention far and wide. Many Republicans are less comfortable with this approach given our recent lack of successes.
He believes in tax cuts, which are all to the good, but doesn't seem exercised by the unfairness of taking from earners to give to those who won't work. In this sense he's in the old Bush "compassionate conservative" model which led us nowhere but down.
Most typical of all, he talks fairly tough on illegal immigration when on the campaign trail, but as soon as the election is safely past, he turns around and pushes amnesty. It is precisely this sort of perfidy that has enraged ordinary voters on both sides of the aisle! And the Republican Party elders think it's a good idea to try the same old trick once again?
Assuming the remaining Republican candidates drop out, that will leave Messrs. Rubio, Cruz, and Trump in the race. Voters seem more or less evenly split at the moment. Mr. Cruz had a noticeable lead, but religious Iowa was a much better fit for him than atheist New Hampshire.
Our elites are skilled at exploiting divisions and triangulating, allowing conservatives to dilute their vote between two decent candidates and letting the centrist edge ahead. It looks like they're using this same tried-and-true technique, letting Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump split the anti-establishment voters so that Mr. Rubio can glide to the nomination, once again making the world safe for Beltway Republicans.
Next week, we will see a strong sign of what will happen. Either the voters of New Hampshire see through the charade or the Establishment will once again suppress the anger of the base, most likely throwing the general election to the Democrats as Candidate Rubio follows the same time-worn path of failure trod by John McCain and Mitt Romney.
We've pointed out that the Republican establishment would rather have Hillary in the White House than a Republican whom they didn't own. Bad for the country, good for them. Let's hope the voters catch on in time!
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.