News / USA

    US Presidential Contenders Make Final Push in Iowa

    US Presidential Contenders Make Final Push in Iowai
    X
    January 22, 2016 10:15 PM
    U.S. presidential contenders from both major parties are making a furious last-minute push for votes in Iowa in advance of the February 1st party caucuses. As VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports, close nomination battles are now expected in both the Republican and Democratic races.
    VIDEO: U.S. presidential contenders from both major parties are making a furious last-minute push for votes in Iowa in advance of the February 1 party caucuses. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports.

    The presidential contenders from both major U.S. political parties are making a last-minute push for votes in Iowa in advance of the February 1 party caucuses.  And it’s clear the main battle lines are now drawn in both party races — national frontrunner Donald Trump versus Texas Senator Ted Cruz on the Republican side and frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a much tighter than expected matchup with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders among Democrats.

    In the Republican race, Trump has intensified his attacks on Cruz and is wielding the endorsement of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a major advantage as the Iowa race moves into the final stage.

    Will Palin make a difference?

    Trump remains locked in a tight race with Cruz and Trump hopes the endorsement from Palin will give him an edge with conservative voters.  “This is a woman who, from day one, I said if I ever do this I have to get her support.  She feels it and she understands it better than anybody,” Trump told cheering supporters in Ames, Iowa, during a joint appearance with the former Alaska governor.

    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2016.
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2016.

    Palin remains influential with Tea Party activists in Iowa and elsewhere and many analysts saw her decision to side with Trump as a blow to the Cruz campaign.  Palin helped Cruz win his Senate race in Texas in 2012 but decided to back Trump in this year’s presidential race.  “He is beholden to no one but ‘we the people.’  How refreshing!  He is perfectly positioned to let you make America great again,” Palin said to cheers at the rally in Ames.

    Palin’s star within the party, however, has faded a bit in recent years.  Her decision to quit the Alaska governor’s job early and focus on building up her career as a hybrid political pundit-celebrity has made her more of a conservative pop icon than someone who has broad political influence within the Republican Party.

    Trump Surges to Lead in Iowa

    The latest CNN-ORC poll has Trump ahead of Cruz in Iowa now by a margin of 37 to 26 percent, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio in third place with 14 percent.  Previous polls had Cruz ahead in Iowa and some analysts now wonder if the Palin endorsement and Trump’s intensified attacks on Cruz are taking a toll.

    The Trump campaign has issued a new attack ad directed at Cruz and accuses him of "flip-flopping" on the key issue of immigration.  Trump has made stopping illegal immigration the core of his campaign pitch.

    FILE - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks during a campaign stop at the Freedom Country Store, Jan. 19, 2016, in Freedom, New Hampshire.
    FILE - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks during a campaign stop at the Freedom Country Store, Jan. 19, 2016, in Freedom, New Hampshire.

    For his part, Cruz remains focused on winning over evangelical voters, a key constituency in Iowa that reliably turns out to take part in the Republican caucus votes every four years. 

    “People are waking up.  There is an awakening that is powerful, that is sweeping the country,” Cruz told supporters during a recent meet-and-greet event in Iowa.  “And what’s happening is very simple.  The spirit of freedom is sweeping America, so I’m thrilled to be here with you today.”

    The battle for Iowa

    Cruz supporters insist they are better organized on the ground than the Trump campaign.  Trump has dominated the debate in the Republican race since last August but some experts say it remains an open question as to whether the Trump supporters, who seem so enthusiastic at his rallies, will actually take the time to register to vote and show up on caucus night. 

    “Some voters will say, ‘Look, I like Donald Trump, but I really want a candidate who can win, who can beat Hillary Clinton.’  So those types of considerations become much more apparent for voters as they get closer to their actual vote,” said John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

    Party divisions could intensify

    Some establishment Republicans seem to be trying to become comfortable with the notion that Trump could become the party nominee.  Part of that stems from a deep distrust of Cruz among Republican congressional leaders and establishment worries that Cruz at the head of the GOP ticket could cost them control of the Senate in November.

    Diehard conservative groups are fighting back and raising questions about whether Trump is a committed conservative or whether he would transform himself into a moderate once he wins the nomination.  The conservative National Review magazine, founded by iconic conservative William F. Buckley, is devoting a special issue aimed at stopping Trump with “Against Trump” on the cover.  This battle is just beginning.

    Establishment contenders still struggling

    After Rubio in Iowa, the rest of the so-called establishment field is lagging well behind, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Bush continues to take shots at Trump with the hope of coalescing the support of those opposed to Trump becoming the nominee. 

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Jan. 19, 2016.
    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Jan. 19, 2016.

    “Someone who proposes a 45 percent tariff across the board on China?  That is not a serious proposal.  It’s basically the advocacy of a global depression,” Bush said this past week during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

    Bush, Rubio, Christie and Kasich have set their sights on what they see as the bigger battle among the Republican establishment contenders in the New Hampshire primary on February 9; but, they face two major challenges.  Trump still has a big lead in New Hampshire and the four establishment challengers are running ads targeting each other, not Trump.

    Sanders surges in Iowa as Clinton supporters fret

    The Democratic race in Iowa is less crowded but no less intense.  Hillary Clinton had built up a big lead in Iowa months ago over Bernie Sanders; but, the latest CNN-ORC poll shows Sanders pulling into a lead by 51 to 43 percent over Clinton.  Other recent polls have shown the race tightening but Clinton still holding to a slight lead.

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets attendees at a campaign event in Vinton, Iowa, Jan. 21, 2016.
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets attendees at a campaign event in Vinton, Iowa, Jan. 21, 2016.

    Clinton has stepped up her attacks on Sanders, something the campaign avoided for months.  In a new ad, Clinton touts her service as secretary of state and her experience in dealing with international affairs. 

    Sanders has a new ad out as well, a feel-good inspirational call to action for the progressive Democrats around the country who have flocked to Sanders rallies, especially younger voters.

    Who would be stronger against Republicans?

    Clinton now argues she is the more practical candidate, could work well with Republicans in Congress and that Sander’s plans for wider health care coverage would lead to huge tax increases for the middle class.

    “We’ve got to get out of the partisanship into statesmanship,” Clinton told supporters at a recent rally in Toledo, Ohio.  “We have to look for opportunities to work with each other in order to give all of you the government you deserve to have, a government that is accountable to you!”

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2016.
    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2016.

    Sanders has been busy trying to convince skeptical Democrats that he could win a national election against a Republican candidate even with his own self-described label of a “Democratic socialist.” 

    “If you want somebody who is going to beat Donald Trump, who is going to beat the other Republicans, I think Bernie Sanders is that candidate,” Sanders told a recent rally in Iowa.

    Younger voters playing key role

    The key for Sanders is building enthusiasm within the liberal base of the Democratic Party, especially among younger voters.  Sanders has also struck a chord with his focus on battling income inequality and reining in what he calls the “billionaire class.”  

    “Average people have declining incomes.  Huge growth in inequality.  Billionaires buying influence.  And so they want change and some of that has to do with reining in the way corporate money has influenced government and Bernie Sanders has given voice to that,” said Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg in an interview with VOA’s Cindy Saine.

    With the Iowa vote only days away, it appears that Republican Trump and Democrat Sanders have the momentum, perhaps putting an exclamation point on what has been an unpredictable and chaotic presidential election cycle. 

    “There seems to be an extraordinary amount of anger in the United States, both on the left and on the right and maybe even in the center and it’s a little disconcerting,” said political analyst Stan Collender.  “I don’t think anyone saw this coming or anyone predicted it.”

    In Iowa, the time for campaigning is growing short.  The voters are about to have their say and it just might turn out to be something that no one could have predicted just six months ago.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ricardo from: Brazil
    January 23, 2016 7:15 AM
    Social inequality is a serious problem in the United States, there are thousands of people living in poverty, many of them homeless. It is an unjustifiable situation for a rich and wonderful nation like the United States.

    These situation can be solved. First, it is necessary change the article of the Constitution which guarantees citizenship to everyone born in the United States. Second, it needs to strengthen border security. Third, create a plan to offer subsidized housing, as well as free education and health care plan to all Americans. Without these steps, the United States will be, increasingly, a rich nation full of poor people

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora