Richard Connor: Who really won in Iowa? Who lost? Who knows?

It’s easy to become entangled, drawn into the hyperbolic rhetoric of the presidential campaign.

Last week, referring to the Donald Trump supporters as “haters,” was overdone on my part. A reader promptly pointed out my transgression and said it was unfair and inaccurate to describe them in that manner.

What I should have said is that the Trump supporters are angry with government and angry particularly with big media, sick and tired of the power of both, and they like a candidate who thumbs his nose at both without fear.

They are actually what we used to refer to as “anti-establishment,” which is odd because Trump’s financial wealth, all by itself, makes him part of the establishment – at least in the terminology of the old days.

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So, I take it back. Trump’s supporters are not haters.

In the same column I suggested that Trump skipping the final debate was a mistake. People do not admire a politician who avoids debates and tough questions from journalists. Personally, I think his decision cost him votes but I doubt it cost him the 6,000-vote margin that Ted Cruz held over him at the end of the caucus votes in Iowa.

One political columnist I admire claims I am wrong on that point as well. He says Trump probably knew he was fading at the end, saw that he was going to lose, and took advantage of snubbing the debate so he could use it as a rationale for losing.

This gets so complex it makes a person wonder if anyone, savvy businessman or politician, could be that smart and calculating?

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Results from the Iowa caucus are being sliced and diced so many ways you can make a case for virtually any scenario you want to draw about who won, who lost and why.

Here’s a simple analysis.

Marco Rubio won with a third place finish. He is the safest alternative to the other two GOP front-runners, Trump and Cruz. Both are too extreme.

Ultimately, voters are not risk-takers. Rubio is a safe bet and will continue to rise in the polls and in the primaries.

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Bernie Sanders finishing in a virtual dead heat with Hillary Clinton does not position him to become the Democratic nominee. What it does exemplify is Clinton’s vulnerability.

She’s not likeable.

And her use of her personal email account for classified government information is a problem that is only going to get worse.

Sanders will fall apart when he hits the South. His style and his politics fit New England and apparently work in Iowa but he is not “regionally” electable.

South Carolina will expose that chink in his armor.

What do these things presage for the Democrats?

Hello, Joe Biden.

Or maybe an independent candidate will now emerge, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg or even former senator and former Democratic candidate Jim Webb.

Here’s what is clear.


Richard Connor is chairman of the parent company of Fort Worth Business, DRC Media. Contact him at