I could never understand why anyone thought Donald Trump was serious about running for president. A notorious germaphobe is not going to give up a show on network television in order to work the Iowa Republican house party and county fair circuit. Even if he did, his donations to various Democrats and assorted socially liberal statements would sink him in a Republican primary.
Anyway, Trump confirmed today that
his recent speeches and press conferences were just a massive publicity stunt he is not running for president in 2012. President Barack Obama’s team will be disappointed; Trump replaced former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the candidate they would most like to run against.
Dave Weigel sees the Republican Party of Iowa as the second-biggest loser from Trump’s aborted presidential campaign. Trump is scheduled to headline the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln dinner on June 10. (Weigel says the Regnery publishing house is the biggest loser, because they have a Trump policy book scheduled to come out this summer.)
Iowa Republicans are desperate to get serious candidates out here campaigning. Presidential hopefuls and their PACs bring money to county Republican party committees and GOP statehouse candidates. Governor Terry Branstad’s big message at his weekly press conference this morning was that the race is wide open and everyone has a shot in Iowa, not just social conservatives. Branstad has said he won’t endorse a presidential candidate before the caucuses.
Any thoughts about the Republican race for the presidency are welcome in this thread. After the jump I’ve posted excerpts from a guest editorial in the Sunday Des Moines Register by the former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party. He claims Iowa Republicans “have marginalized themselves.”
P.S. I’ve never been a fan of Lawrence O’Donnell, but he was right to say that NBC executives should have revealed earlier this spring whether the network had renewed Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” for another season.
P.P.S. Seth Meyers got in some good Trump jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner last month.
Excerpt from Des Moines Sunday Register, May 15, guest editorial by Fergus Cullen (originally appeared in the New Hampshire Union Leader):
Iowa Republicans have marginalized themselves to the point where competing in Iowa has become optional.
Iowa started killing its golden goose by letting the Ames straw poll get out of hand due to greed. Organized as a fundraiser for the state party, the straw poll became a second bite at the apple and an exercise in vote buying.
In 1995, Phil Gramm spent a fortune to “tie” Bob Dole in the straw poll. It was a Pyrrhic victory: Gramm would drop out of the race days before the New Hampshire primary. In 1999, Lamar Alexander and Elizabeth Dole were knocked out of the race when heavy media coverage of their weak straw poll showing dried up fundraising six months before a real vote was cast. That’s democracy?
Doubt about whether all candidates have a fair shot at winning support among Iowa’s caucus electorate has become a huge problem for the Hawkeye state. Evangelical Christians and social conservatives are key components of the diverse Republican coalition, but in Iowa, they are the dominant faction. Sixty percent of Republican caucus goers are evangelical Christians. In New Hampshire, they are 23 percent. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 win in Iowa, and the perception that Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith disqualified him among many caucus voters, begs the question for secular candidates who emphasize fiscal issues: If you’re not likely to win what amounts to an evangelical primary, why compete?
Presidential strategists conclude Iowa is lots of risk with little upside. In 2000, John McCain became the first major candidate to skip Iowa. In 2008, several did. This year, a majority of candidates may make only token efforts there. […]
The winner of a contested Iowa caucus has gone on to win the Republican nomination just twice since 1980 (Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000), and no non-incumbent has won Iowa and New Hampshire in the same year since Gerald Ford. For comparison, South Carolina has voted for the nominee in eight consecutive primaries since 1980.
Iowa Republicans didn’t set out to marginalize themselves, but it’s happened – to New Hampshire’s benefit. With several major candidates likely to bypass Iowa, and the odds rising that Iowa’s skewed caucus electorate could support candidates with limited general election appeal, the likelihood of New Hampshire being called upon to make a correction grow.