As the Iowa caucuses are underway, a look back at previous winners and losers shows that coming out on top in Iowa does not have any bearing on an eventual national nominee.
The Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns are in the middle of get-out-the-vote activity to mobilize supporters, the Washington Postreported, stating that the two campaigns are praising their volunteers in anticipation of a win on Monday night.
But does winning in Iowa guarantee a spot in the national election? History says no.
Only twice since 1980 has a non-incumbant Republican Iowa winner actually gone on to secure his party’s nomination, NJ.com reported, pointing to Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 as the two winners who later accepted the Republican nomination, and of those, only Bush won the White House.
Most recently, Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Republican caucus in 2008, and Rick Santorum took the prize in the 2012 Iowa contest, NJ.com added.
On the Democratic side, Clinton and Bernie Sanders have found themselves in a competitive battle after Clinton’s early lead has evaporated, the Washington Post stated. But history is full of also-rans who aimed to be the Democratic nominee.
Tom Harkin won the Democratic caucus in 1992, and Richard Gephardt took the top prize for Democrats in 1988. Neither of them ever rose to national prominence later in the election cycle. In the most recent Iowa caucuses, the non-incumbant Democratic winners have indeed later secured the nomination (Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004, Obama in 2008), but only once (Obama) has that nominee won the White House.
As tonight’s results become available, the winner will undoubtedly enjoy a quick bounce in campaign energy, but that momentum will, more likely than not, make little difference on the national stage.