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The Iowa Caucus Story You Haven’t Heard: Trump Broke Obama’s 2012 Record for Reelection Turnout

The Iowa Caucus Story You Haven’t Heard: Trump Broke Obama’s 2012 Record for Reelection Turnout

“Democrats were counting on Barack Obama-levels of enthusiasm. They got Hillary Clinton numbers, instead.”

The last two days have been saturated with media reports about the disaster of the Democrat caucus in Iowa and for good reasons. You probably have not heard much about the Iowa Republican caucus, but there was a significant development there.

Trump has some insignificant challengers for the 2020 GOP nomination, but that’s not the story. In one of the most under-reported aspects of the Iowa caucuses, turnout for Trump among Republicans was huge, even more significant than Obama’s participation by Democrats in the state in 2012.

The Iowa GOP put out this release:

Iowa GOP Caucus Turnout Breaks Obama 2012 Record

DES MOINES — The Republican Party of Iowa announced President Donald J. Trump has overwhelmingly won the Iowa Caucuses. Iowa GOP caucus-goers were excited to cast the first votes to re-elect Pres. Trump, smashing turnout records for similar caucus years.

“What a way to kick off Pres. Trump’s re-election campaign – with decisive, record-breaking caucus results,” said Jeff Kaufmann, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “I have no doubt the energy and enthusiasm we saw tonight will carry through this election. After successfully negotiating two massive trade deals, confirming two Supreme Court justices, cutting taxes, and taking decisive action to make the world a safer place, it is no surprise that Iowans want four more years of winning with President Trump.”

Brooke Singman of FOX News has more details:

Trump easily wins Iowa Republican caucuses

President Trump easily defeated his primary rivals in Monday’s Iowa Republican caucuses, in the first indication that those attempting to take on the president inside his own party stand a slim chance of making headway against the incumbent.

Iowa results showed the president winning with roughly 97 percent of the vote over former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh. The primary challengers walked away with about 1 percent each…

While the focus has been on the Democratic contest Monday, Iowa Republicans also caucused at precincts throughout the state.

“The president has record support among Republican voters,” Republican National Committee spokesman Rick Gorka told Fox News on Monday. “I am not concerned with those embarked on a vanity project.”

Also lost in all of the reportage on the bungled vote count, was the fact that turnout for Democrats was much lower than they were expecting. This does not bode well for them in November.

David Siders reports at Politico:

The biggest problem for Democrats wasn’t the vote count

Iowa’s caucus-reporting meltdown was painful. But another grenade from Monday night, just beyond the line of sight, may be just as consequential.

For more than a year, Democrats have been preparing for high turnout in 2020, powered by an electorate juiced by rage against President Donald Trump. But in their first test of the year, early data suggested Tuesday that turnout was “on pace for 2016,” the Iowa Democratic Party said, far below levels many observers predicted.

In other words: Democrats were counting on Barack Obama-levels of enthusiasm. They got Hillary Clinton numbers, instead.

Looking at the low turnout estimate in Des Moines late Monday night, an adviser to one candidate said simply, “Wow.”

Trump and Republicans can take nothing for granted in November, but these are good signs.


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NPR on Monday night was interviewing a disgruntled caucus leader. Lost in the conversation was his statement that in his district he was expecting between 300 and 400 people, beating the Obama record of about 250. Final tally was only 118. This revelation didn’t warrant a follow up question, amazingly. Also missing from the discussion was any question of how hard is it to count, certify and report 118 votes? I suspect the Iowa Dem Caucus had the results but couldn’t believe that Biden and Warren did so poorly, so they held up any release.

    healthguyfsu in reply to DanJ1. | February 5, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    I’m slightly concerned that, despite their best efforts, Buttigieg might be a better counter-punch than Biden.

    Biden was my biggest concern before primary season, but Buttigieg carries himself as a moderate and successfully keeps the mask on. He’s also from the heartland, so can give Trump a battle in some of those key states. He does have a problem getting the Dem minority vote to some extent, though. Last election, minorities in several exit polls appeared to cross the aisle from the Hispanic and African American demographics. While small, that was a key part of Trump’s victory in the battleground states. As long as those continue and there can be a strong enough woman vote for Trump, he should win against any of them.

      gonzotx in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 5, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Answer: No

      Sneaky Pete has an Achilles heel. Blacks don’t like the guy. Iowa and NH are pearly white so he got a pass. He’ll have issues in NC and on Super Tuesday. He’s also got a target on his back (not a pun) now. Look for him to get called out in the Las Vegas debates.

Maybe the Democrats are about to discover rage on Twitter does not translate to the real world where people are a lot more reasonable.

Read the entire article twice. Don’t see any turnout numbers for either party caucus in either 2016 or 2020.

As a friend in NYC would put it: “Focus.”