October 23, 2015

Reminder: Iowa caucus not very predictive of national nomination

A recent poll shows Ben Carson ahead of Donald Trump in Iowa, which may be a temporary fluke or may signal that Carson will win the state's primary with Trump in a close second.

Even in the worst-case scenario where Carson wins Iowa, would that spell doom for Trump's shot at the nomination? No: the results of the Iowa primary are a poor predictor for what happens nationally. The primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina are far more accurate predictors, and there Trump enjoys a comfortable lead.

From Wikipedia, here are the past results of the Iowa Republican primaries where an incumbent was not running. Winners in Iowa are listed first, winners of the nomination in bold.

2012 - Rick Santorum (25%), Mitt Romney (25%), Ron Paul (21%), Newt Gingrich (13%), Rick Perry (10%), Michele Bachmann (5%), and Jon Huntsman (0.6%)

2008 – Mike Huckabee (34%), Mitt Romney (25%), Fred Thompson (13%), John McCain (13%), Ron Paul (10%), Rudy Giuliani (4%), and Duncan Hunter (1%)

2000 – George W. Bush (41%), Steve Forbes (31%), Alan Keyes (14%), Gary Bauer (9%), John McCain (5%), and Orrin Hatch (1%)

1996 – Bob Dole (26%), Pat Buchanan (23%), Lamar Alexander (18%), Steve Forbes (10%), Phil Gramm (9%), Alan Keyes (7%), Richard Lugar (4%), and Morry Taylor (1%)

1988 – Bob Dole (37%), Pat Robertson (25%), George H. W. Bush (19%), Jack Kemp (11%), and Pete DuPont (7%)

1980 – George H. W. Bush (32%), Ronald Reagan (30%), Howard Baker (15%), John Connally (9%), Phil Crane (7%), John B. Anderson (4%), and Bob Dole (2%)

1976 – Gerald Ford (45%) and Ronald Reagan (43%)

So, Iowa has only predicted the nominee in 3 out of 7 cases. Not exactly a bellwether. They routinely pick soft-spoken candidates who are nevertheless destined not to secure the party's nomination. In recent primaries, they have favored candidates with strong evangelical appeal, who do not go over well at the national level.

They picked Bush I over Reagan in 1980. They picked Bob Dole and Pat Robertson both way ahead of Bush I in '88 -- when he had a record as the VP of the most liked President since Kennedy, and who'd won a landslide re-election in the previous cycle. They chose three candidates over the eventual nominee in '08, with hopeless Huckabee as their first choice. In '12, at least they almost called it, but still favored Santorum by a slim margin.

They did correctly predict Bush II in '00, Dole in '96, and Ford way back in '76. None of these correct predictions were running on a strong evangelical platform, however, the way that Carson is.

Turning to New Hampshire, their primary winner has gone on to secure the nomination in 5 of these 7 cases. They narrowly chose Buchanan over Dole in '96, and McCain over Bush II in '00. In neither case did they choose 2 or even 3 candidates over the eventual nominee, nor did their incorrect predictions choose an evangelical.

The most predictive of the early primaries, however, is South Carolina, where since 1980 every winner of the state's primary has won the nomination, except for Romney losing out to Newt Gingrich in '12, perhaps due to home-turf advantage in the Deep South.

Trump has enjoyed a healthy lead over Carson in New Hampshire, and an even wider double-digit lead in South Carolina. So even if Iowans do choose Carson over Trump, that won't matter in the big scheme of things.

By this point, Iowans are almost deliberately trying to choose someone who won't win, just to keep any one candidate from enjoying too much success. It's part of the extreme egalitarianism that the Scandinavians brought into the Upper Midwest (see the Law of Jante).


  1. The website, Braintypes, which correlates personality with motor movements(the founder of the company has worked as a sports scout for decades), believes Trump's personality differs significantly from the other contenders:

    "“We’re going to put steel in our spine,” Harbaugh said after the game. “Played winning football. Didn’t get the result. Welcome to football. Move forward.”

    Sounds a little like Presidential hopeful Donald Trump (#15 FCIL), and Harbaugh’s lack of immediate and outward reaction was akin to “The Donald” as well. Remember that the #15 FCIL is one of the slowest designs to react emotionally (especially in crisis), and in turn make a decision too quickly. Rather, they will gather all the information needed, and then make their decision decisively. If you saw the game, Harbaugh hardly flinched on the sidelines as the one of the most bizarre plays in sports history unfolded against his team. Most other BTs would have flipped out—especially the Right brainers! Also, can’t you just picture #15 stoic Bill Belichick, in a similar scenario, reacting as did Harbaugh?

    Returning to politics for a moment, all of the other Republican candidates beyond #15 Trump are #13 FCIRs, and will be much more prone to emotional reaction, pulling the trigger faster should they become Commander In Chief (unless they have given a subject much thought in patient, quiet moments)

    - See more at: http://braintypes.com/2015/10/1021-jim-harbaugh-and-michigans-stunning-loss/#sthash.JHXzQ17p.dpuf"

    (Hillary Clinton is also a FCIL, like Trump, so more of a commanding personality and will pose the greatest threat to him)

  2. The other candidates are modern career politicians who've largely "played by the rules" (aka sucked up and conformed) as we've slid further down the drain. Trump may not necessarily have the best ideas or temperament, but at least he's independent and more iconoclastic.

    Sanders is more of a rebel as well, but he's also a Silent, and the majority of Silents will always be plagued by feelings of insecurity and inadequacy which they fight back against in the later stages of life. Thus, the huge number of Silent elites still hogging money and power, reluctant to settle for less since it would be a blow to their precious "journey". Still, a Silent president would certainly offer a welcome dose of humility and openness after 30 years of Boomer scorched Earth ego mania tactics.

    Strauss and Howe believed that the Silent type is privileged but often curiously ineffective and irresponsibly flaky in older age, while Boomers are better at championing a set of principles regardless of naysayers callling Boomers out for being hypocritical and selfish. But they do admit that it's impossible to know exactly how each generation deals with an era. At this point it's pretty fair to say that Silents have been so feckless and Boomers have been so selfish that they've demoralized Western civilization to the point that a lot of very late Boomers and Gen X-ers don't even want to get off the bench.

    Maybe Trump will finally be the force that brings redemption to the Boomers. Who knows? Perhaps even with his best efforts he will be powerless to thwart the corruption of three generations (inadequate Silents, narcissistic Boomers, nihilistic Gen X-ers).

  3. "Trump may not necessarily have the best ideas or temperament, but at least he's independent and more iconoclastic."

    I respectfully disagree with the first part of that statement. Trump's ideas form the core of his appeal: border security, deporting illegals, renegotiating trade deals to promote domestic prosperity, peace through strength abroad (with a non-interventionist bias), taking better care of veterans, bringing sanity to the tax code, etc. etc. His temperament is also easily the best in the field: confident, energetic, optimistic (but not pie-in-the-sky), and pugnacious. Contra the media's panting insistence to the contrary, Trump is arguably the only serious candidate running, from either party. The rest are a bunch of repulsive clowns, cucks, and whores.

    Remember: the thing that kicked off the Trumpenkrieg was not his celebrity appeal or his amusing Twitter antics, it was his strong public call for building a border wall and deporting the illegals. It was his policies that made the public sit up and take notice, and everything else is just gravy. Of all his competitors, who has made a campaign promise to compare with "we will build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it"? I know Fiorina wants to bomb Iranian schoolchildren and polish Bibi's knob, but other than that the rest of the field registers a big fat zero.
    I'm not saying Trump is my 100% flawless dream candidate, but he is a MASSIVE step in the right direction. He truly has the potential to cause the biggest political realignment in decades, and give populism a fighting chance against the big donors and elites.

  4. My reservation with Trump is a fear that like virtually all Boomers, he'll never quite get over a rabid hostility towards authority of almost any kind other than his own. Remember, Boomers and Silents still think G.I.'s and their gleaming projects and institutions (which required small ego self sacrifice and resolute dignity), however well built, were a crushing blow to the right of the individual to do as he wished. Consequences be damned, I guess.

    Silents are more driven by a concern for people to be able to get what they want out of life (however much others may disapprove). Boomers on the other hand, want to live it up and not be told that they've got a responsibility to society and future generations. To the extent that Boomers became better caretakers, it was mostly from a desire to shape their children to be more competitive. Yet, regardless of how they've programmed their children, how many Boomers have finally transitioned from adolescent cockiness and entitlement to grown up modesty and civility?

    When I listen to sports broadcasting, the Gen X announcers tend to be much more considerate of their co-announcers. There's less me 1st bombast and more professionalism. Will we ever get over indulging charismatic but defiantly childish/hypocritically judgemental Boomers? No wonder they still haven't changed their tune. Strauss and Howe said that the Silent type and the Gen X type have more acutely felt stages of life, with Silents growing into more involvement with a world they're eager to explore while Gen X-ers gradually retreat from a world that never welcomed them. Meanwhile, Boomers insist one day after another on doing everything on their own terms and never wanting to look reality in the face.

    Trump may be earnestly invested in those good ideas, but is it enough to thwart the rampant idiocy of his generation mates (and the retreat of X-ers)?

    Both of my parents frequently lash out at legit authority (to say nothing of obviously corrupt/incompetent authority). But why would such a selfish generation ever believe that a system and it's agents could actually work? Boomers think that all human beings are too driven by ego to function as a team. Wrong, it's your generation that's incapable of putting others before yourselves. Also, like most Boomers, they assume that the world is supposed to be run according to their convenience and their precious ambitions. So if you're not on board, get the fuck outta the way.

  5. Ben Carson's (b. 1951) "youthful indiscretions" (in the immortal words of G.W. Bush):


    Boomers like Carson love to spin their youth as regrettably misguided but not a reflection on their middle aged or elderly character. As usual, this generation has no shame. An X-er would be unpretentious, like, "Yeah, I'm just another fucked up dude (or chick)". But Boomers always strenuously deny that the past is relevant. It's always that was then, this is now. "C'mon, get over it, I'm a changed man".

    Cuz we've all tried to stab someone (Carson inexplicably does not elaborate on whether it was done in self-defense, frustration, or as fully thuggish mischief).

    Maybe he's trying to affect a Big Man persona to compete with trump, but Middle America will not be pleased to hear about Carson keeping it real. Even Obama had the advantage of a comfy upbringing to make him palatable to the public.

    - Clinton "didn't inhale" (or "have sex with that woman")
    - G.W. Bush "sobered up" after his de rigeur 70's Boomer hedonism phase (his wife also got drunk and ran someone over in her salad days)
    - Obama did various "experiments" with drugs, ideology (Ayers and Wright, among others not to mention his own commie family), and even his racial identity ("Hi, I'm Barry")

    It's all so glib and convenient. A generation that always wants to judge and lecture would rather that you not dwell on things that actually prove one's character.

    Trump and Sanders seem comparatively clean cut.

  6. You're trying to use global climate change theory to understand whether it got colder or hotter overnight at your home -- just go outside for a moment and see.

    There are dozens of speeches and interviews of Trump's on YouTube. Watch and see what you think.

    And frankly, worrying about generations is pointless. The Greatest Gen are no longer in the running, and we don't have good Gen X replacements -- only Cruz (wouldn't be bad as innocuous VP, I guess) and Rubio (sell-out and traitor).

    Trump keeps harking back to the '50s when Eisenhower shipped out the illegal Mexicans so far south that they never bothered crossing the border again. "Back when we had a country." He keeps scolding politicians for how divisive and partisan the climate is today, compared to the '80s when Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on friendly speaking terms. His economic policy is populist, and foreign policy non-interventionist -- more like a Republican from the '50s.

    He is, in short, the anti-striver candidate, however ironic it seems coming from a ruthless businessman. That's why faggot strivers on both the lib and con sides can't stand him, and are so embarrassed by the prospect of hid presidency that both are threatening to move to wherever if he wins.

  7. "we don't have good Gen X replacements -- only Cruz (wouldn't be bad as innocuous VP, I guess) and Rubio (sell-out and traitor)."

    Neither of whom are even regular Americans; apparently, the only way for a Gen X pol. to be sanctioned by the establishment is to be a poster boy for the "New America". Carson at least is an old school American black. Obama is a Boomer who isn't classically American but I guess the Dems couldn't find a "real" black candiate who was a better sell at the time.

    Perhaps a lot of regular stock Gen X-ers (and there aren't many in the 1st place) are fading away into seclusion. I guess descendants of recent immigrant strivers are more motivated.

    Between small numbers, awful career opportunities (older gens clogging up the workforce while immigrants began to swamp America), and the culture bashing the hell outta them, I'm not surprised that standard issue white Gen-Xers are D.O.A. in terms of power at this point. Somehow the Silents, in spite of being much more influential than X-ers, never got the White House. But they certainly tried, and were in the position to be viable candidates too. How long will it be before a regular stock X-er becomes a strong candidate?

    I hear you about not getting too hung up on generation; I do think that Trump is earnest and has some good ideas (he obviously is the best of the choices). But I also wonder when (or if) he'll be able to break through the inertia that's built up by the combined mistakes of three generations. Biden, on 60 Minutes, couldn't stop himself from shaming Trump for having the audacity to suggest a crackdown on immigration. Though many people would side with Trump, is popular will going to be able to thwart the Koch Bros types who have been getting in the way of accountability for decades?

    Also, given the decadence that's festered in elite circles since the 80's (maybe even earlier), I'm not sure I'd rule out open tyranny gripping us in the face of popular discontent. Possibly leading to outright coups (assassination optional) against men-of-the-people like Trump.

    I'd love to toss out the majority of New Americans. It would make restoring 50's egalitarianism more feasible. The last time a clean-up was made (in the 20's and 30's) America was much more homogeneous. But we ain't that country anymore.

  8. Another Gen X diversity mascot: Bobby Jindal (b. 1970), who is still in the race. For all the talk about the progress of electing Obama, Obama is still 50% white. If a totally non-white person like Jindal was elected, it would truly be a milestone.


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