Who is going to win the Iowa caucuses and the GOP nomination?

A lot of folks have asked me who I think will win the Iowa caucuses and the Republican nomination. My short answer about Iowa is that I don’t know. My long answer is that if the polling trends are correct, Trump will win. If there is a low overall turnout and high evangelical turnout, Cruz will squeak past Trump and win—especially if Rubio’s surge has indeed plateaued.

My short answer about the GOP nomination is that it depends. I expect Santorum and Huckabee to drop out of the race after Iowa. Other candidates will drop out after New Hampshire and South Carolina. The sooner the field winnows, the sooner we’ll know how much support will consolidate behind one of the current leaders. My hunch is that either Rubio or Cruz (or both) will emerge as the alternative to Trump, even if Trump wins the early contests. This contest could go all the way to the convention. But what do I know? I’m just a theologian.

Which is why we should turn to a professional at this point. Ross Douthat put out one final tweet-storm this afternoon with his predictions in advance of the Iowa caucuses tonight. Douthat is doubling-down on his prediction that Trump will not be the nominee, even if he wins tonight. I include his brief analysis below. I’ll be crossing my fingers that he’s right about Trump.


  • ian Shaw

    “But what do I know? I’m just a theologian.”

    Hey now, don’t sell yourself short!

    I’m really hoping Trump does not win Iowa for republicans…

    Though Douthat did make a nice funny with #16.

    • ian Shaw

      I hate that question, because (again) it’s a ‘lesser of two evils’/catch-22 scenario.

      Who’d be more damaging to the country- Trump or Clinton? (sorry Bernie, I know you’ve putting in the work).

    • buddyglass

      Unless you live in a swing state the question’s somewhat moot. I live in a deeply red state. If it’s Trump vs. Clinton I may just write in whoever I would have preferred to be the nominee.

  • Curt Day

    What I worry about regarding the 3 who will most likely win the Republican nomination is that all 3, that is Trump, Cruz, and Rubio, seem way to eager to acquire the power that comes with the position of POTUS. All of them, each in their own way, seem way too eager to use that power to show the world who’s boss. Such an attitude in the POTUS is very threatening and dangerous to the rest of the world.

  • Christiane Smith

    I wish some of the Republican candidates had half of the class shown by Bernie Sanders. He may not be supported because of his social and economic views, and I understand that; but he is an honest man and has, in his own way, an upright outspoken integrity.

    Unlike the Republican candidate that ‘opposes abortion’ and yet would have no problem carpet-bombing innocent civilians in a war zone . . . it’s that kind of hypocrisy that I wish conservative Christians would refuse to recognize as ‘evangelical’, which it isn’t.

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