At the time of writing, with 99.94% of votes cast in the Iowa caucus, Ted Cruz — Texas Senator and all around terrifying harbinger of reactionary doom — has declared victory in the Republican vote at 27.7%. After the overwhelmingly Trump-centred narrative that has dominated the media landscape over the past few months this can be seen as a relative trouncing of the loudmouthed billionaire candidate, who came in second at 24.3%, with Marco Rubio picking up steam behind him at 23.1%
Yes, the bloviating toupeed clown of fascism has faltered in the first steps towards the White House, and in his stead the GOP contest has thrown up a horrifying, droop-faced dystopian vision that the party itself despises. The lead built by Cruz, and the snapping-at-his-heels momentum created by the relatively GOP-approved Rubio means that Trump may never recover his rocket-like surge. We, alas, may never find out if his campaign was actually ever serious, or whether it was simply another brand building exercise — or indeed some sort of crazy smoke screen for one of the other candidates.
But Cruz worked Iowa. Like a pig sniffing out truffles he canvassed the state’s evangelical and conservative leaders and engaged in a massive voter galvanizing campaign that paid dividends.
In his victory speech, the newly emerged Republican frontrunner said:
Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment, will not be chosen by the lobbyists, but will be chosen by the most incredible powerful force where all sovereignty resides in our nation: by we the people, the American people. Tonight Iowa has proclaimed to the world: morning is coming,” he said. “Whatever Washington says, they cannot keep the people down.
He added things like:
‘That our rights do not come from the Democratic party or the Republican party or even from the tea party. Our rights come from our creator.’
‘And while Americans will continue to suffer under a president who has set an agenda who is causing millions to hurt across this country I want to remind you of the promise of scripture. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’
‘Whatever Washington says, they cannot keep the people down, and tonight is a testament to the people’s commitments to their yearnings to get back to our core commitments, free market principles. The judeo-christian values that built this great nation.’
This seems an opportune time to be reminded of just some of the things that Ted Cruz wishes to enact, should he ever become President:
— Abolish the IRS. Set up a flat tax. Slash corporate tax rates to 15%.
— ‘Rip to shreds’ the historic Iranian nuclear deal
— Carpet-bomb regions where ISIS might be, to see if ‘sand can glow in the dark’
— Get rid of the Affordable Care Act
— Move the U.S. embassy in Israel capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s ‘once and eternal capital’.
— ‘Rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by [Obama]’
— Introduce a blanket ban on refugees from any country in part controlled by a terrorist organisation. (Because why would anyone flee such a welcoming-sounding place?!)
— Close the Energy Department. He has previously introduced a bill that aimed to get ‘rid of the president’s authority to restrict exports of coal, natural gas, petroleum and other products, as well as oil and gas from the outer continental shelf, and repeal limitations of oil exports.’
— Close the Commerce Department and shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
— Oppose net neutrality
— Give states the power to define what ‘marriage’ is for themselves. Cruz himself believes that that constitutes a union between a man and a woman.
As a bonus tidbit, Cruz, when referring to Roe vs. Wade, called it a ‘dark anniversary’.
I will now leave this without comment, apart from a few brief words from one Hunter S. Thompson:
‘Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point.’
Meanwhile, on the other side of the circus tent, the Democratic Party’s vote has proven to be a nail-biting night of tension, with neither candidate Sanders nor candidate Clinton coming out on top, and the Associated Press declaring:
The AP will not declare winner in Iowa Democratic caucuses at this time because of the closeness of the race between Clinton and Sanders.— The Associated Press (@AP) February 2, 2016
To borrow a graphic from The Guardian, the results looked like so:
Which is, quite frankly, an astonishing return for Bernie Sanders and a resounding dent in the implacable facade of the up to now seemingly unstoppable Clinton machine. Almost up until the results were announced it was widely expected that — despite his mass rallies and social media presence and support — for Sanders to come even anywhere close to Clinton would be a great victory indeed for the insurgent grassroots candidate.
Another strong demonstration of Bernie’s campaign is expected to take place in New Hampshire, while in South Carolina he will most likely have more of an uphill struggle against a relatively entrenched Clinton monolith; but for those disenfranchised with mainstream politics and not seeking refuge in the reactionary fringes of the Republican Party, to see a candidate such as Bernie Sanders transform from someone polling, to use his own words, ‘in single digits just six months ago into a race-altering force of nature in the Democratic primary and national conversation,’ is-… Well, it’s goddamn something.
One final curious aside: a coin toss was needed to decide the results in six precincts in the Democratic contest. Clinton won every single one. Now, I’m not a slogan writer, but if Sanders’ campaign want to take ‘The Gods Want Clinton. The People Want Sanders’ then they’re welcome to it.
Petr Knava plays music