Monday night, February 1, the first official caucus was held in Iowa for the 2016 presidential election.
The results of this vote are so pivotal to candidates because Iowans tend, historically, to vote in a way that is representative of the nation as a whole.
The candidates arrived in Iowa to begin rallying their voters, and although business mogul Donald Trump campaigned less than other GOP candidates in this state, his rallies yielded larger numbers of enthusiastic supporters.
Because of this, pollsters looked to Trump to win the caucus, and thus were in for quite a surprise when Texas senator Ted Cruz came out on top at the end of the night.
But leave it to The Donald, the self-proclaimed perpetual winner, to be a sore loser.
Nevertheless, it is important to question whether or not Trump’s anger is totally misplaced by looking to the context of his fury.
It started when retired neurosurgeon and GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson stated post-caucus that Ted Cruz had stolen votes from him utilizing a method that was, in Carson’s own words, “quite a dirty trick.”
According to the Carson campaign, Cruz’s team had purposefully misconstrued a statement concerning Carson’s professed intent to go home after the caucus. Cruz’s campaign had sent out a mass notification to Iowa voters suggesting that Carson was suspending his campaign, when in fact the doctor was merely traveling home to Florida to catch up on some overdue laundry.
It is easy to see how such a debacle could lead to even more disarray among the GOP candidates, yet it is also easy to see why the Cruz team could have inferred such a thing.
The Carson campaign was not clear in its rational behind the sudden transfer of several staff members to Cruz’s team and his surprising decision to not have plans for heading straight to New Hampshire. Furthermore, his mysterious evasion of New Hampshire Laundromats could easily spawn speculation as to the level of commitment the doctor has in his pursuit of the oval office.
Carson may have truly lost votes to Cruz because of this confusion, yet, citing his Christian beliefs, Carson has accepted the apology proffered by the senator.
In contrast, Donald Trump has not. Trump continues to rant that Cruz, in addition to the rumor concerning Carson, sent out mailers insinuating that failing to vote in the caucus could be a crime on the part of Iowans.
Although this would not necessarily have prompted voters to support Cruz instead, in a radio interview with Boston Herald Radio, the incensed Trump threatened to sue Ted Cruz for fraud on both counts. He cited this alleged misdemeanor as the sole reason that he had lost, and, in true Trump fashion, pointed to the preceding polls that had shown him leading in his field.
On the other side, Hillary and Bernie ended up in a practically unprecedented close race differentiated by a mere four votes.
The third democratic candidate, Martin O’Malley, dropped out of the race directly after the caucus, quickly reminding thousands of Americans that he ever existed. This leaves the self- described socialist and the heavily scrutinized Secretary of State going head-to-head in New Hampshire where Sanders has been predicted to win.
Meanwhile, the GOP candidates will likely continue in their respective brawls. That fire will almost certainly be stoked by one beloved candidate continuing to hurl unnecessary jabs and threats at his fellow republican candidates while blessing media and twitter feeds alike with adolescent tantrums.
It remains to be seen whether or not Carson will make the unlikely comeback from the Cruz campaign’s understandable mix-up. With the New Hampshire primary looming on the horizon, viewers and voters alike can expect an equally riveting circus from all involved—be sure to grab your popcorn.