It is always interesting to watch democracy in action and Iowa is ground zero.
Many political pundits and media analysts complain about the attention Iowa receives from candidates and the media because it goes first. But it also is a state filled with people who are willing to pay attention, to go to small events and forums (more than 1,500 have been held) and to show up at a caucus on a cold, often snowy night to participate in a ritual few states duplicate.
Millions of dollars are spent on TV commercials (over 60,000) and organization that Monday night produced a record turnout.
Iowa doesn't always produce the eventual winners but it does eliminate the losers. With 17 Republican candidates starting this process, there are really only three or four real candidates now with voter support and sufficient monies to go on to the remaining contests.
With a record voter turnout in Iowa, the winner, Ted Cruz goes on with his extraordinary organization and conservative supporters with a big upset.
Marco Rubio, the best debater, came on strong and gained real momentum. He came very close to coming in second. Certainly he has to be viewed as a very serious candidate and the best bet to become the establishment candidate.
Trump is Trump and his special appeal to new voters and the angry anti-Washington element will go on, too, but with unpredictable results. He also paid a price for missing the last debate and fighting Fox News.
Ben Carson held his 10 percent base, but his candidacy is short lived and beyond Iowa has minimal support.
The biggest losers are Bush, Christie and Huckabee. Bush spent the most money and dropped like a rock.
Christie's bluster, unlike Trump’s, didn't sell. He has no money and no future in this race.
And Huckabee, who won this race eight years, and thought he could be a serious challenger against Romney in 2012, was a bottom dweller getting less than 2 percent of the vote. He raised no money and has no appeal and barely has enough money left to buy a bus ticket back to Arkansas. He quickly waved the flag of surrender and wisely quit the race.
One more may make the cut after Iowa, but this is the field now and it will be fascinating to watch.
Monday night’s win is a giant victory for Cruz and his team. He won in spite of a greater turnout than in years past and benefited from the dramatic increase in new voters. And now on to New Hampshire!