The final score was 8 to 7 to 7… in an apportioned race
Feb. 2, ’16–The votes are counted, the delegates have been allotted.
But do we really even know who ultimately won?
There is only a shade of victory here and one that may not last. Ted Cruz’ won 8 delegates to Trump’s and Rubio’s 7 each. Ben Carson received three delegates and Rand Paul and Jeb (with no last name), one each.
Most of the press has reported this event as if it were a winner-take-all affair. But unlike past Iowa Republican party rules, Iowa’s delegates are committed to vote for the candidate assigned to them in the first round. If no candidate gets a clear majority in that round, however, delegates are up for grabs.
So, first great news! Senator Cruz won a single more first round committed delegate than his two closest competitors.
And how did he obtain this victory?
Was it by cheating to send out an “official” mailer falsely reporting the voter and nearby neighbors’ voting records, implying they were somehow in “violation” of election laws?
The Republican Secretary of State said: “Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.” (Full release here)
In any event, the attempt to scare or shame voters is not the tactic of a Ronald Reagan “conservative,” nor one carrying the Christian mantle on his sleeves for Iowan political advantage.
Rand Paul, with one delegate gained, came away skewering Cruz, including a Tweet mocking Cruz’ own voting record.
But the manipulation of the Cruz campaign wasn’t over. During caucuses, where voters can be convinced to switch votes, his campaign people apparently played more dirty tricks to claim to Ben Carson voters that he had decided to pull out of the race.
What other possible dirty tricks did Cruz and his campaign manager pull that we don’t yet know about?
And while Mr. Trump was passing on the Fox News debate last week, he set up his own event that raised $6 million for veteran’s causes. And he allowed two distant competitors, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee to speak at the competing event.
Alliance in the making?
Is this the beginning of a new pro-Trump, anti-Cruz alliance of those candidates (and others) who may not eventually not make it and come to know Cruz as a dirty trick politician?
Ultimately, if the Republican National Convention does not have a clear winner in the first ballot, are three or four delegates now going to shift to Mr. Trump in a theoretical second round ballot?
Mike Huckabee, it should be noted, expressed his own great objections to Senator Cruz’ form of campaigning, saying that Cruz would tell people in one event one thing and something else at another.
The ultimate conclusion of Iowa may become a lasting reputation of Ted Cruz to do or say almost anything for power.
No, it is not enough to say you’re “conservative.”