The biggest warning sign for Democrats to come out of the Iowa caucuses arguably wasn’t the technical glitch that delayed the declaration of a winner.
Democrats should be more concerned that enthusiasm for taking down Donald Trump did not manifest in higher turnout than 2016, writes John Nolte at Breitbart. Several commentators have similarly observed that the low turnout is a reason for Democrats to worry as they seek to defeat Trump in November.
Nolte: Iowa turnout a warning for Dems
The whole theory of the “Resistance” has always been that Trump was illegitimately elected and that a majority of American voters are just waiting for the chance to kick him out of office. Iowa’s caucuses gave Democrats the first real chance to test the viability of their candidates, as well as the energy of the Democratic base, but the Democratic Party bungled things so badly that the nation was still waiting for a clear outcome on Wednesday.
Democrats had hoped that Iowa would winnow the crowded field and help them identify their champion in the quest to take down Trump once and for all. Not only did that not happen, but to make matters worse, the number of Iowans who showed up to caucus numbered 171,000, roughly the same number as in 2016, according to the Associated Press. As Nolte points out, it’s a marked contrast with the 240,000 Iowans who turned out to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.
Several liberal outlets also noticed the trend, including The Washington Post. They can hardly be blamed for lamenting the disappointing show of force, because presumably, Democrats are looking for Obama energy, not Clinton torpor.
Biden stumbles, Dems scramble
But Clinton torpor is what they got, and Clinton’s heir apparent — that is until this past Monday — Joe Biden appeared to underperform. The former vice president trailed behind in fourth place, according to partial caucus results.
Biden spent much of the last year deflecting concerns about his electability, which only seem to have grown after Monday’s poor showing. The early outcome appeared to show mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) in the lead.
The Iowa meltdown has Democrats panicked and looking to New Hampshire’s primaries next week for some answers. But the poor display of enthusiasm in Iowa doesn’t bode well for the rest of the campaign.
Trump sweeps Iowa, hits record approval
On the other hand, President Trump won the Iowa caucuses handily, as expected, with 97% support among Republican voters. Trump attracted roughly four times the voters — over 32,000 — to his mostly symbolic primary, compared to George W. Bush’s 8,000 in 2004, as Nolte notes.
The enthusiasm in Iowa was clearly on Trump’s side, but the Democratic meltdown in Iowa was just the start of perhaps the best week of Trump’s presidency to date. The president delivered a powerful State of the Union address on Tuesday evening that hailed a “great American comeback.”
The address was rated positively by viewers, especially Republicans and some 82% of Independents, according to a CBS poll. Respondents liked the speech’s positive tone and Trump’s message on immigration, and a Gallup poll found that Trump is heading into 2020 with his highest-ever approval rating, which sits at 49%.
Finally, after five months of wasting the country’s time, the Democrats were defeated in the impeachment of Trump Wednesday afternoon, when the Senate voted to acquit Trump of both of the articles against him. The “Resistance” is truly in tatters.