Guest Host: Maria Hinojosa

Voting in the 2016 presidential campaign began last night in Iowa with some history making moments. There was record Republican turnout and it was closest Democratic contest in the caucuses’ history. In the end, the favored Republican candidate, Donald Trump, came in second, losing out to conservative Ted Cruz. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton edged out Bernie Sanders by the narrowest of margins. Guest host Maria Hinojosa and her panel of guests discuss the results from Iowa and what they mean for the campaign for president.


  • Domenico Montanaro Lead political editor, NPR
  • Lara Brown Associate professor, Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University; author of “Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants”
  • Glenn Thrush Senior political correspondent, POLITICO


  • 10:06:54

    MS. MARIA HINOJOSAGood morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us. I'm Maria Hinojosa of NPR's Latino USA sitting in for the Diane Rehm and it's an honor to be here and an honor to be here on a day when a lot of history was made. And even if you think you've heard it all, we do have some new information for you so stick around. So in the first primary voting of the presidential primary season, Republican Ted Cruz gets the win and Democrat Hillary Clinton says she narrowly defeats Bernie Sanders.

  • 10:07:24

    MS. MARIA HINOJOSAJoining us to discuss what the results of the Iowa caucuses are and what they mean going forward, I'm joined in the studio by Domenico Montanaro, lead political editor at NPR, and Lara Brown, associate professor at George Washington University. And joining us by phone very early and hardly any sleep from Manchester, New Hampshire, Glenn Thrush, chief political correspondent at Politico. And thanks for all of you for being here. And you guys look like you got some sleep so welcome.

  • 10:07:52

    MS. MARIA HINOJOSAAnd we'll be taking your calls a little bit later on in the show so do stand by for that. So Domenico, let's start with you. I guess the first question right now is, is this a win for Hillary Clinton? Is it official or not yet?

  • 10:08:07

    MR. DOMENICO MONTANAROSo it's not exactly official. The state party put out a statement in the middle of the night, about 3:30 in the morning for those of us who were still awake and there were some of us, that said that Hillary Clinton was ahead of Bernie Sanders, that they congratulated the candidates and they put out that there were some remaining vote, but when you add up the remaining the vote, it was not enough, even if Sanders got all of that vote to beat Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:08:33

    MR. DOMENICO MONTANAROSo I think you're safe to say that she's the apparent winner, barring some kind of, you know, contested piece of this election. But there's no mechanism to redo this and what people need to understand is there's -- you can't recount people who move into corners of caucuses. This is not -- there's no ballot to recount. You'd have to either redo it or have to see some kind of, you know, voter fraud. And, you know, the thing is, this is unprecedented. This is the closest it's ever been on the Democratic side and there's just no mechanism and no history for this.

  • 10:09:07

    HINOJOSASo let's make that clear. This is a moment in history. This is the closest race ever in the Iowa caucus' history with the Democratic party.

  • 10:09:16

    MONTANAROOn the Democratic side. And it's kind of fascinating that it also comes four years after we had the closest race on the Republican side where we had to wait three weeks to actually know the winner, who was never certified. Rick Santorum, who beat Mitt Romney by 34 votes total, where Republicans actually do count the votes. And it's kind of fascinating that those two things have happened in this era of intense polarization, probably the highest polarization we've seen since the civil war.

  • 10:09:43

    MONTANAROAnd even within parties, we're seeing these kinds of splits over idealism versus pragmatism and that certainly played out last night.

  • 10:09:49

    HINOJOSAAll right. So Lara, you know, the whole conversation is this anti-establishment, right? The move in the country. So talk about anti-establishment versus what happened last night because everybody thought that the anti-establishment candidate, Donald Trump, was going to win and he lost, which, I guess, makes him something of a loser, which I guess he hasn't said. But talk a little bit about that.

  • 10:10:15

    MS. LARA BROWNWell, sure. I think one of the things that's really interesting is when you start to look at where Donald Trump actually did do well. And he did well in the lower western part of the state. Now, if you actually go back, you know, to 2008, that also happens to be the place where Hillary Clinton did very well in 2008. It also happens to be the place where Bernie Sanders did well this time around in the state.

  • 10:10:43

    MS. LARA BROWNSo what you're really talking about and what many people who have looked at Trump's coalition have understood is that a lot of Trump support are coming from blue collar, disgruntled Democrats, those who are actually still registered as Democrats, but consider themselves Republicans or Independents and have voted that way frequently. They are, to a certain extent, a group of people who have been left behind in our current kind of global information age and with the technological world.

  • 10:11:18

    MS. LARA BROWNThese are people who had manufacturing jobs. They had very different types of worlds and I think understandings of what America and what politics was. This was part of Hillary Clinton's coalition back in 2008. If you remember her kind of fight with Barack Obama over the shape of the party. And these people really do, over the last eight years, feel as though nobody speaks to me.

  • 10:11:43

    HINOJOSAYou know, it's interesting. Some people have actually -- I've heard this said that for people who feel this kind of like what's happening to our country, it's as if -- and this might sound a little strange to some people, but an academic once said to me, it's as if they're the new immigrants to a country that has completely changed and we have to help them understand what is this new country. And you're basically saying that -- now, Glenn, let me ask you about those votes in New Hampshire, actually pushing forward to New Hampshire.

  • 10:12:12

    HINOJOSAWhat about, you know, what Lara's been talking about, these voters? How does that look in New Hampshire and how does it translate there for the Republicans?

  • 10:12:21

    MR. GLENN THRUSHWell, you know, it's a really interesting dynamic. And I should just say, I'm working on about an hour's sleep here. I was on the Hillary Clinton plane and I'm (unintelligible)

  • 10:12:31

    HINOJOSAWe can't see you so it's okay. As long as you sound good, we're good.

  • 10:12:33

    THRUSHYeah, and I was in mid air when the state party announced that she was ahead and we were all trying to sleep and we're awakened by all the Clinton staffers in the front of the plane shouting at the top of their lungs in jubilation. In fact, Brian Fallon, her press secretary, got on the public address system when we landed and gave us the weather in Manchester and the final tally in Hillary's race. But, you know, I think the Trump result, I think, is monumental.

  • 10:13:11

    THRUSHTed Cruz, the fact that Ted Cruz was able to do this in Iowa by building his ground game, by working with evangelicals, we had sort of the sense in Iowa that this was building and the Trump support wasn't quite as significant as it was. And I just want to throw some numbers at people to give you just a general sense. You know, almost precisely three-quarters of the Republican electorate in Iowa, very conservative electorate, voted for candidates other than Donald Trump.

  • 10:13:47

    THRUSHNow, let's just look at the nature of the news coverage of Donald Trump in the past six months. I think he's gotten a little bit more than 75 percent. But the two significant factors where the emergence of Cruz really picking up these white evangelicals voters, these very conservatives voters, but the really significant shift was Marco Rubio who people had assumed was sort of stagnating in the 10 to 13 percent range and was getting the more moderate Republican voters.

  • 10:14:21

    THRUSHIt appears that what happened is there was a transfusion of Trump voters into the Rubio camp and Rubio, compared to Cruz, is a far more palatable alternative in a state like New Hampshire than in a state like Iowa. So I think the question that really emerges here is whether or not Rubio, who has not polled gangbusters here in New Hampshire, will be able to use that momentum from Iowa to really, really become a top tier candidate.

  • 10:14:49

    HINOJOSAAnd Domenico wants to jump in.

  • 10:14:50

    MONTANAROWell, and the interesting thing about Marco Rubio is when you looked at the final "Des Moines Register" poll, before the caucuses were happening, Marco Rubio really popped in second choice pick. And, you know, a lot of people said, well, what does that matter in a Republican race? Well, that means that his ceiling was higher than Donald Trump's. Donald Trump had first -- was first with 28 percent in that poll, but only 7 percent of people said he was their second choice.

  • 10:15:14

    MONTANAROHis ceiling was clearly lower and that poll clearly undersampled the number of evangelicals who did turn out. It wound up being 62 percent of evangelicals who turned out, or 63 percent, and that poll had it at about 47 percent. Now, those folks said that they were not as conservative as prior years, but the point here is that Marco Rubio appeared to be able to pick up some of those second choice voters, maybe some of those lower down folks who, you know, were thinking I want to give my vote to somebody who can win and maybe peeled off some of those lower tier folks who had been going to them.

  • 10:15:47

    MONTANAROAnd I think Glenn is right. When you look to New Hampshire, Marco Rubio now is going to have to put himself in a -- he's got himself into a strong position to say I am the alternate, but he's going to run into a lot of Republican candidates who are going to try to take him on. This is going to be a battle royale for that establishment lane in New Hampshire next Tuesday between Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie.

  • 10:16:10

    HINOJOSANow, his aides, Marco Rubio's aides, are saying it's a three person race at this point.

  • 10:16:14

    MONTANAROWhy not?

  • 10:16:15

    HINOJOSARight. I mean, take the headline. Now, interestingly 'cause I think, you know, let's talk numbers for a second. So this was the highest turnout of all Republican voters in...

  • 10:16:24

    MONTANAROFor Republicans, that's right.

  • 10:16:25

    HINOJOSAFor Republicans.

  • 10:16:26

    MONTANARO186,000 -- more than 186,000.

  • 10:16:28

    HINOJOSASo let's just listen to that, 186,000 people, that is it.

  • 10:16:33

    THRUSHAnd as Trump would say, huge.

  • 10:16:34

    MONTANAROHuge. Well, it's not that huge. I mean...

  • 10:16:36

    HINOJOSAI actually think the office is -- it's not that huge.

  • 10:16:37

    MONTANAROThere's 3.1 million total people in Iowa. 2.4 million registered voters in Iowa. 186,000 people on the Republican side, 170,000 on the Democratic side, 350,000 total out of 2.4 million, not a huge number.

  • 10:16:56

    BROWNAnd let me just add one number to that.

  • 10:16:58

    HINOJOSAOkay, go ahead, Lara.

  • 10:16:59

    BROWNThe one number I would add to that is there were about 615,000 registered Republicans who were active yesterday. So we are still looking at a not huge turnout at a primary level. I mean, we're still under 30 percent.

  • 10:17:14

    HINOJOSAAll right. Cruz, who won, last night, the number of votes that he got and he got the most votes of any Republican candidate in the Iowa caucuses for a Republican. This is the number, 48,608. Not a lot of -- that's not a lot of numbers there.

  • 10:17:32

    MONTANAROYeah, but they know the game that they're playing, right? I mean, this is what it's about. It was a big number for the universe of people that they're going after. New Hampshire is a much different situation. They have a much higher participation rate, something like 60 percent of people wind up turning out 'cause they do it a lot. They actually vote every two years for their governors and they have a pretty good sense of how to do this. So you'll see a little bit different situation next week.

  • 10:17:56

    HINOJOSAAnd coming up, more of our conversation about Iowa and looking forward to New Hampshire in a minute.

  • 10:20:01

    HINOJOSAWelcome back. I'm Maria Hinojosa of NPR's Latino USA and I'm sitting in for Diane Rehm and we're glad that you're back with us. Domenico Montanaro is the lead political editor for NPR. Lara Brown is an associate professor at the graduate school of political management at George Washington University. Long title. And joining us by phone from New Hampshire, chief political correspondent for Politico, Glenn Thrush.

  • 10:20:26

    HINOJOSAOkay. So you wanted to jump in. We were talking -- it was so great over the break, but let me ask you this. All right. So the numbers. I actually want to ask you about this one thing. So Ted Cruz, last night, giving his victory speech, who was standing right behind him? Congressman Steven King, a king-maker from Iowa...

  • 10:20:46

    MONTANAROWell, and northwest Iowa is a huge part of the vote there and that's where he was drawing most of his vote from. I mean, that is where the religious conservatives are in that part of the state. You have a place like Orange City, which is only something like 58 miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It's closer there than it is to someplace like Des Moines. A lot of reporters don't get out of the Des Moines bubble, but if you head out that way, you have a pretty good sense of who's got the depth of devotion to them and certainly it was Ted Cruz.

  • 10:21:14

    HINOJOSANow, interestingly, my political -- one of my political directors at Futuro Media and Latino USA, we were on the phone this morning, Julio Ricardo Varela, and he was saying, you know, if there's any Latino who sees Ted Cruz with Steven King behind him, they're not going to vote for Ted Cruz, if you know, you know, that's what he was saying. So it makes an interesting question in terms of what's going to happen with ultimately the coalition politics that you're going to need to win the big election.

  • 10:21:39

    HINOJOSABut I want to go to a couple of emails here. Let's see. Email from Eric in New Hampshire. "Did O'Malley dropping out before all the precincts were reported results affect the outcome of the Democratic caucus?" So some questions about O'Malley and he did drop out pretty quickly. I mean, he didn't do very well and it's an interesting, you know, why was he running in the beginning? Was it just about getting his name out there, Lara?

  • 10:22:07

    BROWNWell, I'm not so sure that his dropping out really impacted what was happening inside those caucus rooms, but I do believe that his people knew that he wasn't reaching the viability threshold. Because in Iowa, on the Democratic side, a candidate's supporters, once they get into a caucus, they have to reach 15 percent of the people in the room in order to actually be counted. And if they don't hit that threshold, those supporters are asked to essentially reorganize to the other candidates.

  • 10:22:38

    BROWNAnd I think the biggest surprise and it's probably part of the reason why the race was so close between Sanders and Clinton was that O'Malley's supporters likely split fairly evenly and I don't think that that was really anyone's assumption about what would happen last night.

  • 10:22:56

    HINOJOSASo Cruz just, again, to another moment in history, Ted Cruz is the first Latino to win any Iowa caucus, presidential anything at this point.

  • 10:23:10

    MONTANAROAny presidential nominee in the contest, yeah.

  • 10:23:10

    HINOJOSAAny presidential nominating contest, Ted Cruz, first Latino.

  • 10:23:13

    MONTANAROAnd Marco Rubio coming in a very close third as well. So, you know, and this was the most diverse Republican field in history. You had an African American. You had two Latinos. You had a woman running. This is something that the Republican party has been trying to highlight and show, but as you note, having Ted Cruz on stage in front of someone like Steve King, when you move to a general election -- and that’s not what this is about right now.

  • 10:23:39

    MONTANARORight now, this is about winning over hardcore primary voters because you've got to get past this stage to move onto the general election. All that said, the rhetoric you've heard from Donald Trump, the way Ted Cruz has vacillated on immigration reform and where he stands on that, that is still a complication when you do look toward a general election.

  • 10:24:00

    HINOJOSASo Glenn, I want to bring you in, because another historic moment from last night, unless you guys correct me, the first time that you have a self-declared Democratic socialist to win anything also in a presidential race of any source or at least come in very close second. Glenn, what about that? I mean, in so many ways, another takeaway could be the pundits have it all wrong because they never thought that a Democratic socialist, to say that name, could make it this far. This is saying something about the American electorate. Jump in, Glenn.

  • 10:24:35

    THRUSHWell, it says two other things as well. First off, you know, the Democratic party at this point in time is enormously progressive and the sort of voters that head out to the caucuses. Now, what people don't really understand about the caucus is it is an enormous investment of time. It's not like going and voting. I liken it to going to the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is a long commitment. So if you're going there, you're a highly motivated and frequently often a partisan voter.

  • 10:25:07

    THRUSHSo to a certain extent, it is likely it would amplify the impact of a candidate like Bernie Sanders and there was, you know, an eye-popping metric from the Des Moines Register poll a couple of days ago that around 43 percent of Democrats in Iowa self identify as socialists. So there is that aspect of it and also the disappointment in President Obama by a lot of progressives who, even though they might, you know, still say that they support the president, they're sort of disappointed that he didn't go far enough, for instance, on single-payer healthcare.

  • 10:25:38

    THRUSHBut I think the big huge second factor that we can't ignore is that Hillary Clinton, who I have covered on and off for 12 years, is a fairly lousy presidential candidate and creates an opening for a candidate like Sanders. You know, we talked -- Dominic (sic) was talking a little bit about the anger that’s out there. I think of it as something else. And I spent a lot of time over the past three or four weeks going to different events that Bernie Sanders had versus Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:26:11

    THRUSHAnd the thing that I really noticed about the two of them, Sanders has an extremely simple message. People have a lot of anxiety. I don't think it's just necessarily anger. And the simplicity and bluntness of his message really contrasts to Hillary Clinton. Whenever you get into a room with this woman, the first 20 minutes of her speech are fine. The next 20 minutes, it is like a State of the Union exploded. Policy program after policy program. Simplicity versus complexity.

  • 10:26:41

    HINOJOSAActually what Bernie Sanders said, I think, last night on CNN, he was like, what this manifests is an anger at campaign finance and it's just like, wow. And actually, I said this before, my daughter, who is a millennial Latina who will be voting for the first time, on the phone after the Democratic debate, telling me, you know, this whole thing about money and Sanders and banks. And I was like, what is she talking about? I mean, let me throw this question to you from an email from Gary.

  • 10:27:09

    HINOJOSAHe says, "it's time to toss Iowa as the first primary caucus out. It neither looks like America demographically. It has an economy like most of America. It runs an election in a way that allows single parents, working people in restaurants and hospitals and other fields not to participate, nor do they run election in a way that gives confidence in the outcome." What about that, Domenico?

  • 10:27:31

    MONTANAROWell, let me give two shameless plugs on this because if they're curious about, you know, what is going on here, Iowa is not representative. It's too white. We actually did a story and created an entire index called the perfect state index. And you can check it out on, and see where your state ranks. The state that came out closest demographically on race and education and a lot of other factors was Illinois 'cause it has Chicago...

  • 10:27:59


  • 10:28:00

    MONTANAROIt looks a lot like...

  • 10:28:00

    HINOJOSAWhere I grew up.

  • 10:28:00 actually looks a lot like Iowa, but because it has an urban center, you have a lot more diversity and it's a very close match with the census quick match. The other one I would just note is if you don't think this is a good way to pick a president, we have six alternatives that we've posted to our site that have floated over the years as serious proposals. Now, none of them gain traction so all of this stuff is great to talk about, but in the real world, these two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, have a stranglehold on the system.

  • 10:28:28

    MONTANAROAnd when we get to New Hampshire, there is one man who is the bull dog guardian of this first in the nation primary status. His name is Bill Gardner. He's the secretary of state. He's been in power for 40 years and he is empowered to move the primary however he wants to. He doesn't have to go through the state legislature and they have made a deal with Iowa where they said, you guys go first as a caucus. We'll go first as a primary. And they have swatted down attempt after attempt to change the system.

  • 10:28:57

    HINOJOSAOkay. This sounds like backroom dealing, you know, kind of somebody who's in charge for 40 years and makes a deal with Iowa. Lara, help us understand. People are saying, wait, wait, wait. Backdoor dealings still right now?

  • 10:29:08

    BROWNYes. And quite frankly, what this is really also about is that those candidates who eventually become their party nominees, have a self interest to keep the system the way it is because, in fact, they won through the system the way it is. And this is where you see this perpetuating system that really the only way it will change is the only way it has changed in past and that is usually when the system produces a nominee that is so unacceptable to such a large percentage of the base, either of the party or of the country, that the system actually changes.

  • 10:29:44

    BROWNThat's what happened with Hubert Humphrey. That's actually what happened back in 1824, believe it or not, with William Crawford who was nominated by the King caucus after he had had a stroke and was mostly blind. Both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson said, no way. This King caucus has got to go.

  • 10:30:04

    MONTANAROLet me just raise this. For everybody who wants to change the system, you know, there are so many unintended consequences of every other potential way to do it. People have said, let's just do a one national primary. Well, all those national polls we tell you about, not to pay attention to, the person with the name ID and most money will win that national primary because they can spend all their money in all these different states, spending money on TV ads to get their message out.

  • 10:30:28

    MONTANAROSo what Iowa and New Hampshire actually do pretty well is you have to go through a long process. They have to meet and talk to people. No, you know, they're not as demographically diverse. There are rotating primaries and caucuses that people have floated over the years, but if you have states that aren't used to doing that, those can produce a whole slew of potential problems.

  • 10:30:46

    HINOJOSAAnd I didn't look it up before I came into the office today, but what are the demographics of Iowa and what is, in fact, the fastest growing demographic group in Iowa?

  • 10:30:54

    MONTANAROPop quiz. But it's about 87 percent white and you have, you know, Latinos everywhere are, you know, the fastest demographic growing group. Actually, Asians would get mad at me for saying that because Asians...

  • 10:31:05

    HINOJOSAIt's true. Very, very close...

  • 10:31:06

    MONTANARO...are the fastest growing...

  • 10:31:07

    HINOJOSA...are the fastest growing, true.

  • 10:31:09

    MONTANARO...but mostly in places like California and New York, Virginia. But Latinos everywhere and electorally importantly are the fastest growing everywhere in the country.

  • 10:31:20

    HINOJOSAWhich I think we're good to say would apply to Iowa as well. So that means that increasingly Iowa will increasingly look like the rest of the United States.

  • 10:31:30

    MONTANAROYeah. I mean, it's going to take quite some time. And you know, Des Moines is a population center that has come up and is more diverse.

  • 10:31:37

    HINOJOSAAnd we will be right back and continue our conversation. So let's move on a little bit to the future and what New Hampshire looks like. I'm still very interested in the coalition and how you actually pull this together. And I'm wondering, Lara, if you're looking at me like, well, we can't talk about coalition 'cause we're still talking about New Hampshire. But immediately after New Hampshire, South Carolina. Large African American vote. Hillary Clinton feels very strong there.

  • 10:32:12

    HINOJOSABernie Sanders will be going after those votes hard. In terms of the Republican party, you know, actually Trump was really going hard over the -- towards the African American vote. Will it be the same for Cruz and Rubio and will they get that turnout there?

  • 10:32:28

    BROWNWell, I mean, I think what we're looking at in terms of South Carolina is that it is an open primary so, in fact, you know, African Americans could choose to vote in the Republican primary. It's unlikely that they will. Most of them will, in fact, vote in the Democratic primary and most of them will likely cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. But I don't think that we can forget or dismiss sort of the ideological shape of this. You know, we tend to think of whites as always being sort of more conservative and perhaps minorities, African Americans and Latinos being slightly more liberal.

  • 10:33:07

    BROWNBut that's not really the case. In fact, whites who identify as Democrats are typically secular. They do not have kind of a strong religious grounding. As a result, they also tend to be more progressive. This is partly why Bernie Sanders does well in a place like Iowa. And what you see is that many of these minorities who do have kind of a more moderate center and a religious grounding, whether it is Catholicism among Latinos or the Christian Baptists among African Americans, you will see they ideologically align with actually where Clinton is much more among the moderates and the somewhat liberals rather than the full liberal and the full progressive.

  • 10:33:53

    BROWNSo I do think going forward, we see Hillary picking up votes even if New Hampshire is not a state for her.

  • 10:34:00

    HINOJOSAAll right. I want to actually go to a call from Derek who's in Talent, Oregon, who has something to say about socialism. Derek.

  • 10:34:09

    DEREKYeah, thanks for taking my call. Last night, my dad, I was talking to him on the phone, he lives in Missouri and he's more conservative than I am. He said, I kind of like Bernie Sanders' message. He said, I don't know what a socialist is. And I said, well, a socialist is somebody who likes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and thinks that if you get sick in this country, you shouldn't go bankrupt. And he said, yeah, that's what I thought.

  • 10:34:37

    DEREKI kind of agree with that. And I just wanted to point that out, that, you know, it's not a dirty word or it shouldn't be anyway. And then...

  • 10:34:48

    HINOJOSAThank you for that, Derek. What does this moment say about our country? Go ahead, Lara.

  • 10:34:53

    BROWNWell, I think the one thing that's really important, at least, to understand with respect to Bernie Sanders is he did win people under 45 and one of the things that's interesting about millennials is that they did not have a perspective of growing up during the Cold War. So for them, socialism or the idea of socialism, is not sort of verboten. It is not something that they think of, oh, the Soviet Union, which many of us who were adults during the 1980s, especially during that kind of build-up with Ronald Reagan, have a very different perspective on what socialism means.

  • 10:35:31

    BROWNAnd it triggers alarm bells whereas it doesn’t necessarily for some of these younger voters.

  • 10:35:37

    HINOJOSAGlenn, you want to jump in. Your sense of what that looks like in terms of New Hampshire.

  • 10:35:42

    THRUSHYeah. I mean, look, again, the dominant theme that we've seen in American politics really in the past decade since the 2004 cycle is this extreme polarization. You see a lot mobilization on various ends of the spectrum. Now, when you have an open primary as you do in a state like New Hampshire, you can have some drifts from independents, but pollsters have long noted, particularly on the Republican side, the people who self-identify as independents are really Republican leaders who call themselves independent.

  • 10:36:12

    THRUSHSo I mean, the basic dynamic -- and South Carolina is a fascinating case because you could not imagine two more distinct electorates in the Republican primary voter and the Democratic primary voter. And I think the dynamic there, I think it's going to be absolutely fantastic, absolutely, I mean, fascinating to see whether or not Ted Cruz can consolidate his Iowa gains. New Hampshire's not the state for Ted Cruz. South Carolina is and Donald Trump has really been running very strongly there.

  • 10:36:47

    THRUSHIf Ted Cruz beats Donald Trump in South Carolina, I think it's lights out for Trump and he's not gonna make it even for the duration. And I think the really big piece of good news for Hillary Clinton -- by the way, I should say some of my sources were telling me yesterday that the Clinton people, Hillary has committed to spending the entire -- had committed to spending the entire week in New Hampshire. She may be revisiting that.

  • 10:37:13

    THRUSHI think, from a strategic perspective, it would be really smart for her to compete very strongly in New Hampshire, but to spend a lot more time in South Carolina because that is a state that could really deliver for her and change the narrative that this Iowa squeaker has written.

  • 10:37:31

    HINOJOSAAnd coming up, your calls and your questions. Stay tuned.

  • 10:40:01

    HINOJOSAGood morning, and welcome back. My name is Maria Hinojosa, and I'm the anchor of NPR's Latino USA. But you guessed it right, I am sitting in for the Diane Rehm, and it's my pleasure to be here. In the studio with me, Domenico Montanaro, who is the lead political editor for NPR, and Lara Brown, who wrote the book "Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants," by phone from Manchester, New Hampshire, Manchester, New Hampshire, how could I get that wrong, Glenn Thrush, chief political correspondent for Politico.

  • 10:40:31

    HINOJOSASo I want to -- I want to read a couple of emails, and then we're going to go in to talk about something involving a coin. So Randy in Virginia says, you say Cruz and Hillary, quote, won the Iowa caucus, but what exactly did they win, party delegates to the national convention? How many? Is it a winner take all? So we'll go back to that one. Kelly in Dallas says, Glenn Thrush's claim of defections from Trump to Rubio would be a national game-changer. Please, please, please elaborate on this claim. So that's for you, Glenn, coming up in a second.

  • 10:41:04

    HINOJOSAAnd an email from Raul says, I'm offended that this show classifies Ted Cruz as a Latino, even though he doesn't practice his, quote-unquote culture. He doesn't portray Hispanic values. That's a very interesting conversation. And a tweet from Triangle Man. Is there any way to get an actual vote count from the Democratic Caucus? Well, we found out that no, not really. But let's talk about the coin toss.

  • 10:41:29

    HINOJOSAOkay, so for those of you who haven't heard, there were votes, there were decisions made yesterday, not at back room but an actual coin toss? What does this look like, Domenico?

  • 10:41:40

    MONTANAROSo Lara and I flipped a coin to see who would answer this question, and I won. But that's because both sides of my coin have heads on it. But anyway, six precinct locations, okay, in Ames, Newton, West Branch, Davenport and two in Des Moines, all had what are odd-delegate-number, you know, precinct sites. So, you know, if there were five in one of those places in Des Moines to be doled out, and there was a split, and they couldn't get people to re-caucus, and they were exactly even, let's say there were, you know, 24 people in there, and they were 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, and they couldn't split them off, they all agree to do a coin flip.

  • 10:42:21

    MONTANAROThere was a video of this, of -- at one of the places where you had the Sanders supporters next to the Hillary supporters, and they flipped a coin, and that's how they decide a lot of these things. And, you know, it turned out that Hillary Clinton won in all six of these coin-flip precincts, which defies the odds, you know. And she only won by four state delegate equivalents throughout the entire state.

  • 10:42:48

    MONTANAROSo if you're looking at that, you know, and you're a Sanders supporter, you're saying geez, you know, what are the odds, or you go even further and think of some conspiracy or something. I mean, some of these are on video, and, you know, you see what happens. But this is not unusual, and this is the process they both signed up for.

  • 10:43:06

    HINOJOSAAnd I want to -- hold on one second...

  • 10:43:07

    THRUSHI should say, in a related development.

  • 10:43:09

    HINOJOSAGo ahead, Glenn.

  • 10:43:10

    THRUSHThat Trey Gowdy and the Benghazi Committee are going to investigate next week, so...

  • 10:43:15

    MONTANAROAll right, well we'll see, you know, how far that goes.

  • 10:43:18

    HINOJOSAI want to go to a tweet from Greg Bates, who says, the clear winner in Iowa is a man who was not there, @mikebloomberg. Dems and Repubs both split. Bloomberg's lane is clearer today. And Domenico is shaking his head no. Let's go to you, Lara, first, who obviously still doesn't have such a strong opinion on this. Bloomberg, in or out?

  • 10:43:41

    BROWNWell, I think whether he's in or out, he would have a huge challenge in front of him to try to make a run as a third party candidate. As everyone who understands the complexity of this races knows that the first step is, if you're going to be a third party candidate, you have to get your name on the ballet in all of the states and the District of Columbia. It is not a small challenge. It took Perot millions of dollars and thousands of volunteers. So Michael Bloomberg would have to mount that sort of effort, and I just don't see it.

  • 10:44:11

    HINOJOSAAnd by the way, if you'd like to join us, you can call 1-800-433-8850. You can also send an email to the You can also look for us on Facebook, or send us a tweet. Go ahead, Domenico.

  • 10:44:25

    MONTANAROJust to jump in on Bloomberg, and Glenn knows I get fired up about this because he's a New Yorker, too, but the -- Bloomberg would have to decide by mid-March if he was going to get in, hit people in his world, and I have a couple sources in his world who have said to me it is absolutely killing him watching this race, and -- but what it comes down to is Trump and Sanders.

  • 10:44:46

    MONTANAROIf it was a Trump-Sanders race, that's where he would fit in. And look, the money's not the issue. He's got, you know, billions of dollars. He's far richer than Donald Trump, and he would be able to do it, but it's absolutely killing him watching, if it was a Trump-Sanders race. He's pretty close with Hillary Clinton, and if she were the nominee, he wouldn't get in. 1

  • 10:45:04

    HINOJOSAAll right, I'm going to bring in a caller. His name is William from Alexandria, Virginia, who wants to jump in on some assumptions. William, go ahead.

  • 10:45:12

    WILLIAMYes, good morning. How are you?

  • 10:45:13

    HINOJOSAI'm good, go ahead.

  • 10:45:14

    WILLIAMEarlier, one of your commentators or one of your guests made comment that, you know, the assumption is, at least, you know, the assumption that people of color will automatically vote Hillary Clinton, well, I want to dispute that, simply to say that, you know, her and her husband were not very well-received when they did not necessarily with open arms greet Obama when he ran for office.

  • 10:45:37

    WILLIAMThere's also this undertone that, you know, our issues, or at least issues of people of color, are not the same. She doesn't live in the same world. Her aspirations are not the same. She should focus on those issues, not necessarily on one group of women alone. And I don't really think that she's the best qualified candidate. If you will look at, you know, the people who are supporting Barack Obama, you look at, for instance, the guy from Harvard, I can't think of his name, he is a big Tavis Smiley supporter, the idea of it is that, you know, people have not been sold on the idea that, you know, simply because -- and this is the real...

  • 10:46:11

    HINOJOSAWilliam, we're going to take it from there. I appreciate your call, and actually I want to -- there are probably Hillary people who are listening to this. This is, you know, the worst thing that they could hear. And I want to tell you something that my cab driver said to me on Sunday Night when I arrived. And I ask, because I'm asking all of the cab drivers that I -- who would you vote for today. And he said, well, if I had to vote today, I really, really like Hillary. He's an Ethiopian immigrant, American citizen. I really, really, really like Hillary. And so I thought he was going to say I'm going to vote for her. But he said, but I think right now I'd vote for Bernie Sanders. And I said, but, why? And he said, because I believe this country needs, and then he quoted Bernie Sanders, a political revolution.

  • 10:46:51

    MONTANAROSo the caller's point, the Sanders campaign understands the softness within the Clinton establishment of, you know, among minority voters. The thing here is that the Clintons do have a long history with a lot of leaders in the black and Hispanic communities. You saw Hillary Clinton when she first came out went to the left of President Obama right out of the bat, right out of the gate on immigration and called for even more and to not separate families and to note deport them.

  • 10:47:17

    MONTANAROIn South Carolina, the Sanders campaign feels like they have made some inroads with black voters and with Hispanics. I can tell you that when our reporters went out there over the summer, they -- black voters said that they had no idea who Bernie Sanders was, they didn't know his message, and that's why they were with Hillary. But you've seen his water table move up a little bit, and what Sanders advisors have told me is they need to win New Hampshire because they will get, they believe, within three days, $30 to $40 million out of a win in New Hampshire, especially if it's a big one.

  • 10:47:53

    MONTANAROThey'll be able to use it to then go and use some of that momentum in those other states to get the Bernie Sanders message out.

  • 10:47:58

    HINOJOSAAnd Latino millennials, who again everybody is also watching very closely, I see it soft in terms of the support for Hillary, as well. You know, what I've heard from a lot of Latino millennials, I'm also a professor six months out of the year, so I'm with them every week, and I find it very interesting that there's an attraction to Bernie Sanders. Lara, what do you think in terms of the firmness of that?

  • 10:48:22

    BROWNWell, I just think that we do have to look at the history. We do have to remember, you know, that it is true that most of the leaders who were of color had endorsed Hillary Clinton prior to Barack Obama winning the Iowa caucus back in 2008. In fact, she had the entire Congressional Black Caucus behind her, and they did not start to move toward Barack Obama until after South Carolina, and what we actually see now is something of a repeat with that, where we see those leaders, both Latinos and African-Americans, behind the Clintons and even the president, though he hasn't come out and endorsed anyone. He certainly has sent some cues and indicators to his people and to his people that he really feels are influential in various states that they should be behind the Clintons.

  • 10:49:21

    HINOJOSALet's switch now to talk for a second about Cruz before -- as we move into our last 10 minutes of this show. Glenn, does Ted Cruz, do you see a path to victory for him in terms of the nomination or not so clearly?

  • 10:49:36

    THRUSHOh, I see a very significant path to the nomination for Ted Cruz. I mean, you know, remember the guy is from Texas, and there are a fair number of electoral votes in Texas. As we start moving into the March calendar, there are a lot of states that are really in the Cruz column. I think a lot depends on this -- we talked about these three candidates who have emerged clearly as kind of the three to watch in Iowa. How they interact with each other as a hate triangle as opposed to a love triangle I think is pretty significant and what happens to Donald Trump in terms of his support over the next week and really over the next 10 days.

  • 10:50:19

    THRUSHI think one of the things that is going to become a pretty significant factor is the interaction between Rubio and Trump because it seems now that Rubio represents to Trump a really existential threat now that we have seen some of that movement back and forth. So I think there is a tremendously -- a tremendously clear path to the nomination for Cruz. The other thing about Cruz is he has been enormously disciplined in husbanding his money.

  • 10:50:49

    THRUSHHe has, I'm pulling this figure out, I spoke with one of his campaign folks yesterday in Iowa, I think he has $17 to $19 million cash on hand, and that is by far and away the largest amount of money on hand that any of those candidates have. Now the question that I have, we talked about Bernie Sanders and online fundraising, I presume over the next 24 hours it's going to go nuts. It'll be really interesting to see how Cruz is able to monetize the Iowa victory.

  • 10:51:19

    THRUSHIf he starts raising a lot of money, starts really eclipsing a lot of these other candidates, especially Rubio, look out.

  • 10:51:25

    MONTANAROWhen we talk about New Hampshire, make no mistake Donald Trump has to win. I mean, he has held the lead in that state for six, seven months, double-digit leads. If he were to lost that momentum after Iowa and that second-place finish and the humble -- the humbling that you saw of Donald Trump, which is so unlike what you've seen from him through this campaign, if he were to lose New Hampshire, that would be an absolute disaster for his campaign, and then you would have a Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or whoever becomes the person who seems like the establishment-type person out of New Hampshire going one on one.

  • 10:51:57

    MONTANAROWhat's more likely is this three-person race, the two, Trump and Cruz, wind up splitting a lot of those delegates in those Southern primary caucus states on March 1, and you wind up with a long, protracted battle.

  • 10:52:12

    THRUSHWell, I'd like to add one other thing, and Domenico knows this, as well. There's a human factor here. You know, Donald Trump at the very beginning of this race, you know, and he actually said it in his concession speech in Iowa, how people told him not to compete in Iowa, that to me, when you're sort of looking at the psychology of the candidate to be the most important geography in any primary is the geography between the candidates' ears, Donald Trump looks gassed at the end of his Iowa experience.

  • 10:52:41

    THRUSHHe was totally exhausted. Early on in this campaign, he was telling people how he wasn't sure that he wanted to go on. If this is a real dogfight, he has to spend more of his own money. I think you're going to start to see that narrative re-emerge of whether or not this guy wants to go all the way.

  • 10:52:58

    HINOJOSAAnd my name is Mari Hinojosa, and you're listening to the Diane Rehm Show. And welcome back, and if you want to call us, well, let's see, our number is 1-800-433-8850. Domenico, you wanted to jump in when you were listening to Glenn.

  • 10:53:14

    MONTANAROOh, well, I just think -- I mean, Glenn is right. I mean, I think that when you listen to Donald Trump, I was nodding my head because he, in that run-up there, Glenn is absolutely right that he was -- he did seem gassed. He seemed out of energy. He didn't seem like it was fun for him anymore. There was a point when, you know, back in September, when it looked like Trump felt the same way about debates, he didn't want to be on the stage for three hours. And then ISIS happened, and the Paris attacks happened, and it seemed to re-energize him, and it seemed to re-energize his message because he had such bravado and strength, and the bomb the expletive out of them statements and it seemed to reinvigorate his campaign.

  • 10:53:46

    MONTANAROSo how does he respond, you know, after taking a punch? That's the real sign of a fighter, as Ron Elving, who works with me, said. That's the real sign of a fighter, how they take the punch, not necessarily throw one. And we know Trump can throw one.

  • 10:53:56


  • 10:53:57

    BROWNWell, I just wanted to bring up, because we haven't talked about who came in fourth and fifth in Iowa, right, that was Ben Carson and Rand Paul. Now why those are interesting to me is it's unlikely that they're going to come in fourth or fifth in New Hampshire. We are much more likely, when we get to New Hampshire, to see those other, quote, establishment-lane candidates, those people like John Kasich and Chris Christie and Jeb Bush doing more to cut into sort of Marco Rubio's support, and certainly contest for the number third spot.

  • 10:54:31

    BROWNSo while we can think of Trump as kind of in their own sphere, really fighting for both Evangelicals and non-establishment voters, we also are looking to see who is going to emerge from Iowa and New Hampshire together to be the person that really the establishment coalesces around and takes forward to South Carolina. And this is where, right, now, Rubio's got the momentum and certainly the claim to fame. But whether that sticks in New Hampshire is going to be a fascinating story.

  • 10:55:04

    HINOJOSABecause we started our conversation saying how this was all about anti-establishment, and we're talking about who's the better establishment candidate. Domenico, how do we kind of put those two things together?

  • 10:55:12

    MONTANAROWell, the tradition has been that Republicans have elected mainstream candidates going back some years. And usually you have a split between Iowa and New Hampshire with the different kinds of people. Now Donald Trump has thrown that all out of whack because Donald Trump has completely upended the traditional establishment in New Hampshire, and you're not getting the same kinds of people, and even the same kind of power brokers that exist in New Hampshire are just beside themselves because they don't know how to respond to this, and they don't know what's going on.

  • 10:55:42

    MONTANARONo one will be happier if he loses than that Republican establishment in New Hampshire.

  • 10:55:45

    HINOJOSAGlenn, final thoughts, as we wrap up? And are you going to stay awake today, or what?

  • 10:55:50

    THRUSHNo, it is my intention, as soon as I hang this phone up, to get two hours of sleep.

  • 10:55:56

    HINOJOSATwo hours okay.

  • 10:55:56

    THRUSHSo then I can jump back into this craziness. So yeah, thanks, guys. Thanks for keeping me up, you know.

  • 10:56:02

    HINOJOSAAnd what's your -- what are you looking forward to in New Hampshire once you wake up?

  • 10:56:07

    THRUSHCoffee, no. What I'm looking forward to in New Hampshire, I really want to see, you know, I was with Hillary Clinton for something on the order of 180 degree -- 180 days in 2007 and 2008, and her flight back after her really humbling loss in 2008, her flight from Des Moines to Manchester, was epic. They were -- they were really, really confused.

  • 10:56:30

    THRUSHI was on the flight last night. So there's a symmetry. This was -- if you can sort of talk about a bad win, no win is a bad win, if you can talk about a bad win, this was one. She's down 17 percent in public polling in New Hampshire, a little less in their private polling, around 11 to 12 percent. It'll be interesting to see if she gets any momentum from that and how she responds as a candidate.

  • 10:56:54

    THRUSHOne of the things I found really fascinating last night about the speech, she sounded exactly like Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton stood on the stage in Des Moines last night and shouted at the top of her lungs that she would be the champion for the disaffected and would fight the status quo. Think of that. Hillary Clinton is going to be running in New Hampshire as the enemy of the status quo.

  • 10:57:17

    HINOJOSAOkay, it just goes to show you can't really predict what's going on in American politics. I really want to thank all of you, Domenico Montanaro from NPR, Lara Brown from George Washington University and Glenn Thrush with Politico. Thanks so much for joining us, and I'm invigorated by democracy, so bravo. And that's it for our show. Thanks so much for listening. I'm Maria Hinojosa, sitting in for Diane Rehm.

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