Presidential Campaign

February 4, 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Corn Growers Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Who will be our Presidential candidates next November? It’s a long, complicated process. The voters of Iowa have spoken. Iowa may be first, but they don’t have the last word. Party conventions in July will be the culmination of a long, messy process.

Ted Cruz, with 28% support in Iowa, beat Donald Trump (24%). After spending last summer and fall in Trump’s shadow, Cruz stepped up and took the lead with a solid ground game. His conservatism and Christian position is a good fit for rural Iowa.

Here are a few lines from his victory speech. “Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation. Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and next President of the U.S. will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment, will not be chosen by the lobbyists, but will be chosen by the most incredible, powerful force. We the people, the American people.”

That was a powerful thank you to Iowa. Gracious in defeat, Donald Trump expressed his love for his Iowa supporters. Although Trump had been leading in the polls, his criticism of the Trans-Pacific Trade deal and calling for a 45% tariff on China gave the impression that he didn’t understand the importance of trade. The ag industry exports almost 30% of our production. His positive words for ethanol should have helped him since Cruz proposed to phase out the RFS, but that seemed to fall on deaf ears. I don’t think Trump’s radical immigration plan helped him either, and skipping the last debate was a bad idea.

I think Marco Rubio had the best night of all – jumping up 8 points to 23% – just 1% behind Donald Trump.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders clawed his way up the ladder to end in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton. That was a stunning outcome and left the Clinton camp reeling.

The next state vote will be New Hampshire. That’s not an evangelical corn state – very different. Except for one thing – even they will be looking for a new face. Polls today tell us the public does not want an establishment candidate. Rubio should do well in New Hampshire.

When we move to southern and western states, I think it will be harder for Sanders to stay on top of the Democratic ticket.

On the Republican side, we have had 12 candidates fighting it out. Too many. That will change after New Hampshire.

When it’s all said and done, I believe that Marco Rubio has the best chance of winning in the end, but I’m not ready to bet the farm yet.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to http://www.johnblockreports.com Have .a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.