Iowa: weathervane of the election

By Li Yang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 3, 2016
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Hillary Clinton won the Iowa Democratic caucuses after a tight contest in the 2016 US Presidential Election on Feb 2, beating her main rival Bernie Sanders by 0.3 percentage points.

In the Republican Party, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump won 28 percent and 24 percent of supporters respectively, followed by Jeb Bush's 3 percent only.

Wang Chong, a senior researcher with the Charhar Institute and author of the Chinese-language book on US presidential elections, "Behind the Ballot," sat in an interview with China Radio International, sharing his thoughts on the latest outcomes.

Wang said that Ted Cruz has similar advantages to Barack Obama, and Jeb Bush's disadvantage is his lack of aggressiveness.

Ted Cruz's victory in Iowa does not yet qualify him as a dark horse. He has political advantages. He is a senator, and quite a few U.S. presidents were senators, such as President Barack Obama. Secondly, Ted Cruz has won the support of the conservatives in the Republican Party. However, Donald Trump has not. Thirdly, Ted Cruz is young, handsome and eloquent. He knows domestic and foreign political affairs better than Donald Trump.

He and Barack Obama have similar advantages and also have good political foundations and experience. Their main difference is that he won the support of the conservatives, commonly understood as more conventional Americans. However, Barack Obama is more popular among young people, who seek change, and the liberals.

Donald Trump's four-percentage-point loss to Ted Cruz in Iowa was beyond most people's expectations. The outcome of the first primary-election state in Iowa acts like a weathervane for this year's election.

Wang said: "I do not think Donald Trump will win in the end. He has caught people's attention with his 'big mouth.' However, the U.S. people will remain cautious and prudent. He does not like learning, and his disadvantages will be exposed in the debate."

Wang pointed out that Hillary Clinton's narrow victory in Iowa shows Bernie Sanders' power as a veteran senator. As a socialist, Bernie Sanders has no hope in winning the traditional Democratic Party's zone, areas like California. As a result, even if Hillary Clinton has her scandals, she will very likely win the Democratic Party. If she meets Donald Trump, she is almost certain to secure victory. However, if it is the young and handsome Ted Cruz, her age and health conditions will be her rival's attack targets.

"Yet, according to the U.S. population and economic map, Hillary Clinton has a comparatively larger possibility to win. If some big international events suddenly happen during the election, the situation will become more favorable to the Republican Party," Wang added.

Wang said that Jeb Bush's performance was disappointing. "That he is disciplined and predictable makes him unpopular on social media. Donald Trump attacked him as having a lack of energy. This is a to-the-point blow."

"The U.S. people are tired of 'big family' politics and look forward to change," Wang said. "Of course, Jeb Bush may catch up and surpass his rivals in the other states, given his family's influence. But a question he must answer well is how he would be different from his elder brother George Walker Bush."

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