Election 2016: Iowa Caucus

As Iowans headed to the polls to be the first in the nation to vote in the 2016 Elections, I thought I’d say a little bit about each candidate in the race. I’ve watched nearly each debate on the Republican side. I also have tried to catch a few of the Democratic ones, but they’ve often been placed at odd times and hard to find. Still, I’ve done my best to keep informed, and here is where my head is at as of right now.

The candidates are listed in order of their poll standings in Iowa. Click a candidate to jump directly to them.

 

Republicans

Donald Trump

Donald Trump
Website | OnTheIssues
When Donald Trump first jumped into the race, I was skeptical. I was also curious. While I liked his penchant for not being politically correct, he seemed so over-the-top that, like many, I figured he’d fade away. Sadly, his comments about not liking John McCain because he was a Prisoner of War, nor his comments about Megyn Kelly being on her period during the debate did it. Not even his unconstitutional suggestion of banning all Muslims from entering the United States. And here we are, the night of the Iowa Caucus, and somehow this man is a front-runner, with endorsements from faith-based leaders and establishment Republicans. All while his campaign rhetoric has been largely predicated on fear and hate.

It’s bizarre and clearly a cult of personality, as his supporters show the kind of blind dedication we saw in 2008 with Barack Obama.

Another similarity to Obama that I see which concerns me is his condescending and dismissive tone for anyone that disagrees with him. We’ve seen Obama insult Republicans in speeches for the past eight years, and we’ve seen even worse from Trump in just the past 8 months. Obama has also used executive orders to accomplish his objectives without Congress, and I have no doubt that Trump would utilize the same methods. For those of us that do not like these kinds of characteristics of our current Commander in Chief, I would similarly not like it to continue with someone that just happens to be Republican.

On that note, Trump’s credentials as a Republican — or at least as a conservative — are suspect at best. There exists many video clips out there depicting him having strongly opposing viewpoints from his current campaign’s rhetoric. While it’s true that one can certainly change their minds, the fact that most of these occurred with the past few years at most calls into question how he would actually govern once elected.

For these reasons, I very much oppose his candidacy, enough that I would vote third-party if he became the Republican nominee.

 

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz
Website | OnTheIssues
Closest in the polls to Trump is Ted Cruz. By comparison, this would be a no-brainer. A strict Constiutionalist, Ted Cruz has credentials dating back decades, from debate performances at Princeton to working with Presidents and the Supreme Court all before he was thirty years old. His principles are so air-tight that establishment Republicans even don’t like him, and that’s a good thing (unless you like the current state of government). He once spoke for over 21 hours straight in order to stop funding of Obamacare. And he also called out a fellow Republican as a liar right on the Senate floor, detailing a promise made that had been broken. The point is that he is not just some puppet of the Republican establishment that can control him. He has steadfast principles based on the Constitution and sticks to them.

I’m not sure how he would do against Hillary Clinton in a general election, though. Some may find him too conservative, though he does well in debates. Still, his presence is not as authoritative as some of his fellow candidates, and that could hurt him. However, as far as a candidate for the Republican nomination, I would place him second among my picks.

 

 

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio
Website | OnTheIssues
When this race began, I started with a blank slate in my mind, as I did in 2008. I watched the first debate last August in hopes that someone would resonate with me, as they had in 2008 and 2012. For me, this was Marco Rubio. He spoke well and had a great stage presence. His youth often is held against him, but I find it refreshing. Often called “the party of old white men,” both Rubio and Cruz are Hispanics and their November victory would be the first Hispanic President. On top of that, much like Obama in 2008, he has a pulse on what’s going on and is not severely out of touch. He often posts videos demonstrating this, from discussing music tastes to answering questions at town hall meetings.

I also feel that his nomination would remove a lot of ammunition from Hillary Clinton. Rubio did not grow up rich and (like Cruz) is the son of an immigrant. He had to take out student loans in order to pay for college. He is not Mitt Romney or Donald Trump that doesn’t really care. He cares a lot and it shows in his debate answers and speeches.

However, as I learned about Rubio, he began to sink for me. And while I still think he would do really well against Hillary Clinton, he has some positions that really concern me. For one thing, he would continue the unconstitutional spying program in which the NSA is currently engaged. He also seems very interested in going to war with ISIS, as far as boots on the ground. Now, so do most of his other fellow candidates, truth be told, so perhaps that’s not a fair critique when I believe all but one or two also do, but he’s mentioned often in debates sending prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, and that’s a sensitive subject and position that won’t help in a general election. He also seems to view the Constitution as more of a guide than the rule of law, as he has mentioned shutting down gatherings of Muslims if it’s suspected they are radicalizing there.

Still, all that said, he’s definitely my third choice for the nomination, as I think he’d do great in the general election.

 

Ben CarsonBen Carson
Website | OnTheIssues
Another person of whom I was aware a few years before the 2016 announcement as a possible contender. I saw Carson on The View a few years ago and was impressed at how calm he spoke in the face of the hosts of that show. I had no idea just how calm he was, and his energy level is really less than Jeb Bush. The other candidate in this race with no political experience, I like the neurosurgeon as a person and some of his ideas, but I don’t think his campaign nor his candidacy is strong enough to go all the way in November.

 

 

 

 

Rand Paul

Rand Paul
Website | OnTheIssues
The son of Ron Paul, this ophthalmologist is the other doctor in this race. Like his father before him (and Cruz), he is another Constitutionalist and is more Libertarian than he is Republican. He is the only candidate opposed to further intervention in international affairs, and also the only candidate with an emphasis on reeling back our national debt, and he also has a plan regarding criminal justice reform. For these, and many more reasons, he is my top pick of them all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush
Website | OnTheIssues
Jeb is another guy who, if he became the nominee, and faced Clinton, I’d consider voting third-party. The son and brother of two Presidents, he may be smarter than his brother but — like with Clinton — I do not want the American political system to become a dynasty. He also appears wooden and nervous on debate stages, and I feel Hillary would easily triumph over him. In the end, I simply do not want to see Bush vs Clinton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee
Website | OnTheIssues
What’s interesting here is that, in 2008 when I had my political awakening, I loved this guy. He was my top pick, I met him several times, donated, had bumper stickers and yard signs — the whole deal. I believe that is because, just getting into it for the first time, I found a lot of his beliefs aligned with mine at the time. However, if he couldn’t do it in 2008, he is far too conservative to win an election in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Kasich

John Kasich
Website | OnTheIssues
Similar to John Huntsman in 2012, John Kasich comes across sometimes as questionable as to why he is running as a Republican. Still, he’s better in my opinion than the Democratic nominees, and he has a record of reeling in out-of-control budgets, turning billion of dollars of defecit in Ohio into a surplus in his time as governor. He’s good, and more moderate than a lot of his fellow candidates, but his name doesn’t carry the gravtias of an opponent like Hillary Clinton.

 

 

 

 

 

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina
Website | OnTheIssues
She has shown great performances in the debates thus far, and even received a bump to put her in #1 or #2 after several, but the bump faded over time. I also admit that I’d love to see Carly vs Hillary in a sort of way, but I don’t think enough traction is there in her campaign to make that happen. Like Carson, she may make a good eventual cabinet member of a future President, but this year isn’t her time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Christie

Chris Christie
Website | OnTheIssues
I expected Chris Christie to perform much better than he has. He’s been relegated to the edges of each debate with not much time to speak. When he does, I commend him for looking into the camera and speaking to the viewers as opposed to the moderators but, like Carly, his campaign has failed to gain traction. His best shot at this point is to win New Hampshire and earn a bump in the polls but, should that fail to happen, he’s likely to drop out.

Christie also wants to continue the NSA spying program, so that’s a strike against him as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum
Website | OnTheIssues
Like Mike Huckabee, Santorum is far too conservative for a general election in 2016. Oddly enough, he was the last holdout in 2012, when Romney beat him, but I think Romney had a better shot than Santorum, and he couldn’t get the job done. I’m pretty sure Santorum is done after New Hampshire, if not sooner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democrats

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Website | OnTheIssues
For the life of me, I cannot understand why there is still support behind this woman. She has been involved in controversy since the 90s, from Whitewater to shaming the women that accused her husband of sexual assault in numerous cases. How she is paraded as an example of feminist heroism in light of this baffles me. Similarly, her time as Secretary of State is tainted, as she was there when four Americans lost their lives at Benghazi. Thereafter, she lied to the families of the fallen (and the American people) about the cause of the incident — this isn’t opinion, but fact revealed from the release of her emails. Oh yeah, and there’s that very email scandal in which she may be indicted for having committed a felony.

Devoid of actual accomplishments, I do not understand the continued support, and pretty much want anyone but Hillary. In fact, in 2008, I wanted Obama over her because I thought he’d at least bring something new and different. Now, ironically, she may continue his legacy with an administration straight out of House of Cards.

 

 

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
Website | OnTheIssues
I’ll be clear: I think a lot of Sanders’ ideas and propositions are junk. Establishing free college for everyone and all the other freebies he’s touted 1) would need Congress to enact them, which is very unlikely to happen, and 2) would massively raise taxes in order to fund the programs.

That said, I’d still gladly take him over Clinton for the nominee. And, if the Republicans had to lose to someone, while I’d prefer O’Malley or Biden (see below), Sanders would bring something different, and I’d entertain a new approach at this point, since the current one isn’t working. While I’d prefer Rand Paul or Ted Cruz’s approach over Sanders, any of these three would at least change things up, or so they say, and I’d be willing to give them that opportunity.

In short, though I disagree with him and question how much of what he promises can actually be delivered, I would like to see Bernie Sanders become the Democratic nominee if O’Malley cannot.

 

 

Martin O'Malley

Martin O’Malley
Website | OnTheIssues
I heard of Martin O’Malley last year and looked into him. I liked what I saw. A fellow Catholic, a lot of his positions in which I disagree (like him being pro-choice) are influenced by a difference as a matter of public policy, rather than say, an outright “how dare you even oppose this?” approach of his fellow Democratic opponents. I’d prefer O’Malley or Biden as President over Sanders or Clinton, but his numbers are a blip as Sanders has surged to challenge Clinton. Maybe next time.

Who do you side with? Find out for yourself by taking the Quiz at ISideWith.com!

As Iowans headed to the polls to be the first in the nation to vote in the 2016 Elections, I thought I’d say a little bit about each candidate in the race. I’ve watched nearly each debate on the Republican side. I also have tried to catch a few of the Democratic ones, but they’ve often been placed at odd times and hard to find. Still, I’ve done my best to keep informed, and here is where my head is at as of right now.

The candidates are listed in order of their poll standings in Iowa. Click a candidate to jump directly to them.

 

Republicans

Donald Trump

Donald Trump
Website | OnTheIssues
When Donald Trump first jumped into the race, I was skeptical. I was also curious. While I liked his penchant for not being politically correct, he seemed so over-the-top that, like many, I figured he’d fade away. Sadly, his comments about not liking John McCain because he was a Prisoner of War, nor his comments about Megyn Kelly being on her period during the debate did it. Not even his unconstitutional suggestion of banning all Muslims from entering the United States. And here we are, the night of the Iowa Caucus, and somehow this man is a front-runner, with endorsements from faith-based leaders and establishment Republicans. All while his campaign rhetoric has been largely predicated on fear and hate.

It’s bizarre and clearly a cult of personality, as his supporters show the kind of blind dedication we saw in 2008 with Barack Obama.

Another similarity to Obama that I see which concerns me is his condescending and dismissive tone for anyone that disagrees with him. We’ve seen Obama insult Republicans in speeches for the past eight years, and we’ve seen even worse from Trump in just the past 8 months. Obama has also used executive orders to accomplish his objectives without Congress, and I have no doubt that Trump would utilize the same methods. For those of us that do not like these kinds of characteristics of our current Commander in Chief, I would similarly not like it to continue with someone that just happens to be Republican.

On that note, Trump’s credentials as a Republican — or at least as a conservative — are suspect at best. There exists many video clips out there depicting him having strongly opposing viewpoints from his current campaign’s rhetoric. While it’s true that one can certainly change their minds, the fact that most of these occurred with the past few years at most calls into question how he would actually govern once elected.

For these reasons, I very much oppose his candidacy, enough that I would vote third-party if he became the Republican nominee.

 

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz
Website | OnTheIssues
Closest in the polls to Trump is Ted Cruz. By comparison, this would be a no-brainer. A strict Constiutionalist, Ted Cruz has credentials dating back decades, from debate performances at Princeton to working with Presidents and the Supreme Court all before he was thirty years old. His principles are so air-tight that establishment Republicans even don’t like him, and that’s a good thing (unless you like the current state of government). He once spoke for over 21 hours straight in order to stop funding of Obamacare. And he also called out a fellow Republican as a liar right on the Senate floor, detailing a promise made that had been broken. The point is that he is not just some puppet of the Republican establishment that can control him. He has steadfast principles based on the Constitution and sticks to them.

I’m not sure how he would do against Hillary Clinton in a general election, though. Some may find him too conservative, though he does well in debates. Still, his presence is not as authoritative as some of his fellow candidates, and that could hurt him. However, as far as a candidate for the Republican nomination, I would place him second among my picks.

 

 

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio
Website | OnTheIssues
When this race began, I started with a blank slate in my mind, as I did in 2008. I watched the first debate last August in hopes that someone would resonate with me, as they had in 2008 and 2012. For me, this was Marco Rubio. He spoke well and had a great stage presence. His youth often is held against him, but I find it refreshing. Often called “the party of old white men,” both Rubio and Cruz are Hispanics and their November victory would be the first Hispanic President. On top of that, much like Obama in 2008, he has a pulse on what’s going on and is not severely out of touch. He often posts videos demonstrating this, from discussing music tastes to answering questions at town hall meetings.

I also feel that his nomination would remove a lot of ammunition from Hillary Clinton. Rubio did not grow up rich and (like Cruz) is the son of an immigrant. He had to take out student loans in order to pay for college. He is not Mitt Romney or Donald Trump that doesn’t really care. He cares a lot and it shows in his debate answers and speeches.

However, as I learned about Rubio, he began to sink for me. And while I still think he would do really well against Hillary Clinton, he has some positions that really concern me. For one thing, he would continue the unconstitutional spying program in which the NSA is currently engaged. He also seems very interested in going to war with ISIS, as far as boots on the ground. Now, so do most of his other fellow candidates, truth be told, so perhaps that’s not a fair critique when I believe all but one or two also do, but he’s mentioned often in debates sending prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, and that’s a sensitive subject and position that won’t help in a general election. He also seems to view the Constitution as more of a guide than the rule of law, as he has mentioned shutting down gatherings of Muslims if it’s suspected they are radicalizing there.

Still, all that said, he’s definitely my third choice for the nomination, as I think he’d do great in the general election.

 

Ben CarsonBen Carson
Website | OnTheIssues
Another person of whom I was aware a few years before the 2016 announcement as a possible contender. I saw Carson on The View a few years ago and was impressed at how calm he spoke in the face of the hosts of that show. I had no idea just how calm he was, and his energy level is really less than Jeb Bush. The other candidate in this race with no political experience, I like the neurosurgeon as a person and some of his ideas, but I don’t think his campaign nor his candidacy is strong enough to go all the way in November.

 

 

 

 

Rand Paul

Rand Paul
Website | OnTheIssues
The son of Ron Paul, this ophthalmologist is the other doctor in this race. Like his father before him (and Cruz), he is another Constitutionalist and is more Libertarian than he is Republican. He is the only candidate opposed to further intervention in international affairs, and also the only candidate with an emphasis on reeling back our national debt, and he also has a plan regarding criminal justice reform. For these, and many more reasons, he is my top pick of them all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush
Website | OnTheIssues
Jeb is another guy who, if he became the nominee, and faced Clinton, I’d consider voting third-party. The son and brother of two Presidents, he may be smarter than his brother but — like with Clinton — I do not want the American political system to become a dynasty. He also appears wooden and nervous on debate stages, and I feel Hillary would easily triumph over him. In the end, I simply do not want to see Bush vs Clinton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee
Website | OnTheIssues
What’s interesting here is that, in 2008 when I had my political awakening, I loved this guy. He was my top pick, I met him several times, donated, had bumper stickers and yard signs — the whole deal. I believe that is because, just getting into it for the first time, I found a lot of his beliefs aligned with mine at the time. However, if he couldn’t do it in 2008, he is far too conservative to win an election in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Kasich

John Kasich
Website | OnTheIssues
Similar to John Huntsman in 2012, John Kasich comes across sometimes as questionable as to why he is running as a Republican. Still, he’s better in my opinion than the Democratic nominees, and he has a record of reeling in out-of-control budgets, turning billion of dollars of defecit in Ohio into a surplus in his time as governor. He’s good, and more moderate than a lot of his fellow candidates, but his name doesn’t carry the gravtias of an opponent like Hillary Clinton.

 

 

 

 

 

Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina
Website | OnTheIssues
She has shown great performances in the debates thus far, and even received a bump to put her in #1 or #2 after several, but the bump faded over time. I also admit that I’d love to see Carly vs Hillary in a sort of way, but I don’t think enough traction is there in her campaign to make that happen. Like Carson, she may make a good eventual cabinet member of a future President, but this year isn’t her time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Christie

Chris Christie
Website | OnTheIssues
I expected Chris Christie to perform much better than he has. He’s been relegated to the edges of each debate with not much time to speak. When he does, I commend him for looking into the camera and speaking to the viewers as opposed to the moderators but, like Carly, his campaign has failed to gain traction. His best shot at this point is to win New Hampshire and earn a bump in the polls but, should that fail to happen, he’s likely to drop out.

Christie also wants to continue the NSA spying program, so that’s a strike against him as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum
Website | OnTheIssues
Like Mike Huckabee, Santorum is far too conservative for a general election in 2016. Oddly enough, he was the last holdout in 2012, when Romney beat him, but I think Romney had a better shot than Santorum, and he couldn’t get the job done. I’m pretty sure Santorum is done after New Hampshire, if not sooner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democrats

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Website | OnTheIssues
For the life of me, I cannot understand why there is still support behind this woman. She has been involved in controversy since the 90s, from Whitewater to shaming the women that accused her husband of sexual assault in numerous cases. How she is paraded as an example of feminist heroism in light of this baffles me. Similarly, her time as Secretary of State is tainted, as she was there when four Americans lost their lives at Benghazi. Thereafter, she lied to the families of the fallen (and the American people) about the cause of the incident — this isn’t opinion, but fact revealed from the release of her emails. Oh yeah, and there’s that very email scandal in which she may be indicted for having committed a felony.

Devoid of actual accomplishments, I do not understand the continued support, and pretty much want anyone but Hillary. In fact, in 2008, I wanted Obama over her because I thought he’d at least bring something new and different. Now, ironically, she may continue his legacy with an administration straight out of House of Cards.

 

 

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
Website | OnTheIssues
I’ll be clear: I think a lot of Sanders’ ideas and propositions are junk. Establishing free college for everyone and all the other freebies he’s touted 1) would need Congress to enact them, which is very unlikely to happen, and 2) would massively raise taxes in order to fund the programs.

That said, I’d still gladly take him over Clinton for the nominee. And, if the Republicans had to lose to someone, while I’d prefer O’Malley or Biden (see below), Sanders would bring something different, and I’d entertain a new approach at this point, since the current one isn’t working. While I’d prefer Rand Paul or Ted Cruz’s approach over Sanders, any of these three would at least change things up, or so they say, and I’d be willing to give them that opportunity.

In short, though I disagree with him and question how much of what he promises can actually be delivered, I would like to see Bernie Sanders become the Democratic nominee if O’Malley cannot.

 

 

Martin O'Malley

Martin O’Malley
Website | OnTheIssues
I heard of Martin O’Malley last year and looked into him. I liked what I saw. A fellow Catholic, a lot of his positions in which I disagree (like him being pro-choice) are influenced by a difference as a matter of public policy, rather than say, an outright “how dare you even oppose this?” approach of his fellow Democratic opponents. I’d prefer O’Malley or Biden as President over Sanders or Clinton, but his numbers are a blip as Sanders has surged to challenge Clinton. Maybe next time.

Who do you side with? Find out for yourself by taking the Quiz at ISideWith.com!

About the author

Jason L. Hubsch

Jason L. Hubsch

I love music, video games, comic books, pro wrestling, politics, and God -- and not necessarily in that order! If you like any of these, chances are we'll get along.

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