Sarah Warden

Sarah Warden
Albany, New York, USA
July 19
Author of the novel Three Fifths of Love available as an ebook on amazon. Freelance writer...Contact me at


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JANUARY 4, 2012 11:31AM

The Iowa Caucus Results

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mitt romney


Mitt Romney’s win in the Iowa Caucus last night was the kind of half-hearted complement that leaves the soul unsatisfied, and in search of something else. Mitt Romney won Iowa by 8 votes after spending the past 5 years campaigning there, and funneling millions of dollars in advertising into the state. The man Romney “beat”, Rick Santorum, spent less than $200,000 on advertising in Iowa, and his campaign organization is akin to a child’s lemonade stand when compared with Mitt Romney’s Minute Maid corporate goliath.


Iowa Caucus Results


Mitt Romney       24.6%       30,015 Votes

Rick Santorum   24.5%       30,007 Votes

Ron Paul                21.4%       26,219 Votes

Newt Gingrich    13.3%       16,251 Votes

Rick Perry             10.3%       12,604 Votes

                                 Michele Bachmann   5.0%          6,073 Votes


The Iowa Caucus results tell us something we already knew: the Republican Party does not want Mitt Romney to be their nominee. Republicans told Mitt Romney this pretty clearly in 2008, but like the good-guy boyfriend waiting for his love to dump the bad boy on the motorcycle, and realize his minivan is much better for her, Romney is intent on telling the Republicans what they should want, instead of giving them what they actually want.


In six days, on January 10th, New Hampshire will hold their primary. Mitt Romney is expected to win there; he was polling at 43% in the state, and his closest competitor, Ron Paul, was a distant second at 16%. Rick Santorum was polling at only 5% in New Hampshire…but all of those numbers were gathered before the Iowa Caucus results came in. Rick Santorum may see enough of a surge in his poll numbers, post-Iowa, that he rises to a third place showing in New Hampshire next week.


On To New Hampshire



rick santorum


Rick Santorum’s base is the evangelical and born-again wing of the Republican Party, and 6 out of 10 Iowa Caucus goers last night self-identified as born again, or evangelical Christians. Rick Santorum will not find the same advantageous voter makeup in New Hampshire next Tuesday. New Hampshire is one of the least religious states in the nation, and 40% of New Hampshire’s registered voters are Independent…and they can vote in the Republican primary. Rick Santorum has to campaign in the state, or risk becoming the Mike Huckabee of the year 2012, but he’s not campaigning to win New Hampshire, only to make a strong enough showing to be considered a viable national candidate. Mitt Romney is the former Governor of Massachusetts, which shares a media market with New Hampshire, and is so well known in the state that his victory there next week is a foregone conclusion. Ron Paul is also expected to do well, and is the most likely second place finisher in the Live Free or Die state, but his chances after New Hampshire seem more likely to make him launch a third party candidacy, than to be the GOP nominee. Jon Huntsman has based his entire campaign around New Hampshire, and will probably wind up with little to show for it, leading him to join Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry in oblivion.


And On To South Carolina


With this lack of suspense, the media is turning its eyes to the South Carolina primary on January 21st, and the conservative, Tea Party base of the GOP is more than happy to encourage that focus. Newt Gingrich once claimed that his firewall is in South Carolina, and he was doing very well in the polls there. Michele Bachmann has announced that she’s not going to compete in New Hampshire, and is holding a press conference today to possibly withdraw from the race. Rick Perry left Iowa to go home to Texas, and may also be considering dropping out of the race, so the South Carolina primary is swiftly becoming the determiner of who will be the Not Mitt Romney candidate for the Republican Party. The Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, has endorsed Mitt Romney, but her constituents don’t seem to agree with her, and Romney has trailed Newt Gingrich in the state in all recent polls. South Carolina will really be a race between Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, and a chance for the conservative base to coalesce around an alternative to Mitt Romney.



Mano-a-Mano In Florida


If South Carolina voters settle behind one challenger to Mitt Romney, the Florida primary on January 31st (10 days after South Carolina votes) could be a watershed moment in the GOP’s search for a nominee. If Mitt Romney has to go mano-a-mano in Florida with either Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich, the indecisive Republicans will have to decide between the guy on the motorcycle who has their heart, and the guy with the minivan they know they might be more successful with. I suspect the Republican voters will eventually settle on Mitt and his minivan, but like the not-conservative-enough John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney will have to find a running mate who can generate enough excitement among the Tea Party base to give him a chance at the general election…but, if Romney’s running mate is Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, both of those candidates are extreme enough that they could motivate Independents to vote for Obama, and reenergize the base of the Democratic Party. The Republican Party wants a candidate in step with them, but they are out of step with the rest of the country. In this kind of economy, Mitt Romney could defeat President Obama in the fall of 2012, but the GOP base will either reject him, and anoint Santorum or Gingrich as their modern-day Barry Goldwater who makes them smile, but is guaranteed to lose, OR Mitt Romney will be the nominee, but be so tied to the Republicans in Congress and an extreme running mate, that undecided voters who could’ve gone with Romney stay home, or stay with Obama. There is also the Ron Paul factor. If Ron Paul runs as a third party candidate, Republicans who can’t stomach Mitt Romney will have an alternative in the general election, guaranteeing President Obama’s reelection.



ron paul



The significance of the Iowa Caucus results is simple; the GOP does not want Mitt Romney to be their nominee, the primary contest will play out for months, the conservative base will coalesce around Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, but Romney’s vastly superior organization will eventually defeat them both, and the Republican Party will go into November 2012 with the most unloved nominee since John McCain. In 2004, the Democratic Party went through a similar experience. The Democrats loved Howard Dean the way that Republicans love Rick Santorum, and the Democratic base passionately hated George W. Bush the same way that Republicans hate President Obama now. The Democratic Party chose their nominee, John Kerry, in 2004, with their head and not their heart, much like the Republicans are prepared to do now with Mitt Romney. The Iowa Caucus results clear the way…for Barack Obama’s reelection.


Sarah Warden is the author of the novel Three Fifths of Love, available as an ebook from amazon


Image of Mitt Romney by (Flickr: Mitt Romney caucus eve in Clive 022) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons. Image of Rick Santorum by [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons. Image of Ron Paul by (Flickr: Ron Paul MasonCityWhistleStop_640x361_) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.


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I really am having quite the time for myself watching the self-destruction of my true toritto:-)
Haven't been able to follow this. Very enjoyable take.
Thank you Fernsy. Believe me, I am not following this by choice, but election 2012 provides some good opportunities for daily blog subjects. The Republicans are like Uggs to me:-)
Based on the numbers couldn't the same be said about any of the candidates? And I'd discount Romney's Iowa spending edge as he was campaigning in other states while Santorum stayed in Iowa and visited every country.

I agree that there's a sizeable vote for a non-Romney candidate but look what happens when the process tosses up yet another pretender. In order, Pawlenty, Bachman, Perry, Cain and then Newt got elevated, examined and rejected. Santorum benefited by the Iowa caucuses coinciding with his elevation and just prior to the inevitable examination and rejection.

I expect that Romney will comfortably win NH and stay alive in SC. Florida will be a major test as to the size and persistence of the anti-Romney vote. But after having been utterly wrong about Reagan back in 1980, I never feel wholly confident about any of my own guesses. Thanks for the post Sarah.
I have been worried Obama will not get a second term, but after reading this. I think he'll get it, but the attacks he'll undergo will seemingly sound like part of America sees him as anti-Christ. Have you any idea if third party that you refer to is brand new or old? Sometimes I keep thinking with the poor performance of our Legislators this past year that three or more NEW parties will form- leaving America with more representation, but less ability to shape laws and protect "the average joe".
"The significance of the Iowa Caucus results is simple; the GOP does not want Mitt Romney to be their nominee"
I beg to differ. This is Political Science 101. Motivated party members turn out for primaries (what is generally termed as the "base"). Highly efficacious party members (typically in the Republican party, those who are most conservatives--and as of a couple of years ago that would suggest teabaggers) show up and participate in the caucuses. That's because there is an expectation that you show up for a 3 hour event (as opposed to the 10 or 15 minute affair which is voting) and that you actually participate.
Those who were most likely to show up, the ultra conservative (I've participated in Iowa Republican caucuses several times until I came back to me senses and quit being a token moderate Republican--nice to have around but nobody will listen to you) were for Santorum. Those who were more moderate were for Romney.
Now this may color the shape and form of the primaries and caucuses to come. It may lead to backlash. It may lead to a strongly conservative nominee.
And the whole game changes in September when the general election campaign starts. Because typically for Republicans to win they have to convince enough Democrats to cross over or to not show up. For the Democrats to win they must typically get their members to turn out and vote.
But to suggest that at the very first event of this political year that the GOP does not want Romney as its nominee is premature and a conclusion based on too little knowledge and too little information.
The more moderate "wing" may become more motivated if it sees the party being co-opted by the teabaggers and arch-conservative side of the Republican party. If that occurs, things will shake up more than a bit.
It's all a reality show (see my blog), however, no one says the people voting in the primaries really choose the nominee. Mitt is favored by the people who hold the puppet strings, and evidently, the purse strings as well.