2016 Republican contenders continue to invoke… the name and legacy of Ronald Reagan. Much of the focus is now on the Iowa caucuses which take place on February 1, 2016. It would seem this primary field wants to follow in Reagan’s foot steps all the way to the White House. The best historical advice that can be offered….stay away from Iowa!
Reagan lost the 1980 Iowa caucus to George H.W. Bush… Bush was able to exploit doubts about Reagan’s economic plans which included massive tax cuts. Bush dubbed them “voodoo economics” and the message reached Iowa voters. Reagan went on to win the Republican nomination with Bush in tow, and he did it without winning Iowa. The primary process didn’t begin until March in 1980. That considered, Iowa voting still took place too early in the process to have a significant effect on the results. With voting taking place just after the New Year and primaries scheduled through June, it is difficult to see how Iowa will make much of a difference in 2016.
Placing all your hopes on the Iowa caucus… has rarely been a good strategy. A victory can build momentum as it did for Obama in 2008; or, it can end in disaster like Howard Dean’s famous implosion in 2004. Practically Historical is waiting for Super Tuesday.