OPINION: The Caucus Surprise


Ricky Barker, Columnist

To say that the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primaries have been surprising is an understatement. Many of the establishment frontrunners have been pushed aside in these first two tests. 

Surprisingly, Pete Buttigieg, the young up-and-comer, came out as the moderate winner in two states: coming first in Iowa and a close second in New Hampshire. Topping both of his major moderate competitors, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, this gives promise for Buttigieg’s results in the rest of the country.

Speaking of Biden, the former national leader in the polls and Barack Obama’s successor took major hits from these two states. He finished fourth in Iowa and took fifth in New Hampshire. This further depresses what looked like the most promising Democratic nominee early on. 

Biden will likely now shift his focus to South Carolina and states where he has the most support. In a talk with “Face The Nation,” Biden admitted that he must do well in South Carolina to keep his campaign running.

Warren did not see any positive results from her energized campaign. She rose to the top as a frontrunner, but her results tampered with that excitement. She did not do as poorly as Biden, but still ended up third in Iowa and fourth in New Hampshire. It is not a great look for the candidate, and she must do better if she has a chance.

Bernie Sanders an excellent showing in both Iowa and New Hampshire, coming out as the real winner from both events. He took a close second in Iowa right behind Buttigieg and first in New Hampshire. Sanders is a far from establishment candidate, and identifies himself as a Democratic Socialist. The results from these two states show that the voters are not intimidated by his far-left policies, and he may have a serious chance at the nominee for the Democrats.

Elections are volatile and change often as each state picks its winners. The leaders now may not be the same for very long. But, these are surprising results from the first real test for the presidency. If you asked me before these two states’ primaries “who would be the Democratic frontrunners?” I would have said Biden and Warren. Clearly, the safe answer might be wrong. Hopefully, more surprises are to come, as these may not be the only expectations broken in this race.