by Dr. Ed Berry
Watch debate on foxbusiness.com beginning at 9 pm Eastern, 6 pm Pacific Time.
Trump will take center stage again, flanked by his chief rivals Cruz and Rubio.
Trump leads significantly nationwide but Iowa is different. Evangelical voters in Iowa are twice the percentage of other states. This helps Cruz.
Recent Iowa polls show Trump and Cruz tied within the margin of polling error. So Trump and Cruz, for the first time, will battle each other in a debate.
Last week, Trump pulled the eligibility card on Cruz in a very clever way. Fox News reported Trump’s action so Fox News may put the eligibility question on the table tonight.
Trump did not claim Cruz is ineligible. Trump said the eligibility issue is legally “unsettled.” Trump is correct. Trump challenged Cruz to get a Declaratory Judgment that proves he is eligible.
If the GOP nominates Cruz (or Rubio) without proof they are eligible, then the GOP risks the outcome of a Democratic lawsuit on eligibility.
We know there is much legal debate over the definition of “natural born citizen.” The courts have never ruled on the definition. However, the legal default is Cruz and Rubio are eligible until proven ineligible. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff.
But Trump reversed the burden of proof when he challenged Cruz to get a Declaratory Judgment. Now Cruz must act or accept claims he is ineligible.
This is a unique kind of political issue. It is binary. This means it is either true or false. No one can be “almost” eligible. You are either eligible or you are not.
Similarly, Cruz’s response is binary. Either Cruz will get a Declaratory Judgment to prove his eligibility or he will not. Count on Trump to keep this issue in front of the voters.
Will the eligibility card help Trump win votes? Only the votes in Iowa on February 1 will answer that question. I think it will help Trump.
Are evangelicals consistent in their principles?
Evangelicals led the charge against Obama’s eligibility. We would expect them to honor the same principle for Cruz. The eligibility principle should apply equally on both sides of the political spectrum.
If Iowa evangelicals have consistent principles then they will take Trump’s challenge to Cruz seriously. They should demand that Cruz get a Declaratory Judgment before they vote for him.
But if Iowa evangelicals reject Trump’s challenge and vote for Cruz anyway this will demonstrate that evangelicals who complained about Obama lack consistent principles.
New Iowa Straw Poll results
Today, the 2016 Online Iowa Straw Poll http://2016IowaStrawPoll.com released its results.
This is been the most inclusive Iowa Straw Poll in history because it has included ALL Iowa voters, both Republicans and Democrats. After the GOP unilaterally canceled the traditional Iowa Straw Poll, America’s Term Limits Campaign decided to sponsor an on-line straw poll to give both parties an opportunity to register their votes.
Does this straw poll predict the Iowa vote? It is much different than all other polls.
Max Linn, President of America’s Term Limits Campaign and Iowa Straw Poll sponsor says
“This poll is much more representative of Iowans since it’s been going on for months and uses a much broader voter base.”
Here are the results:
Trump – 34%
Paul – 18%
Rubio – 9%
Cruz – 8%
Carson – 8%
Christie – 4%
Bush – 3%
Fiorina – 2%
Kasich -1 %
Huckabee – 1%
Clinton – 40%
Sanders – 39%
O’Malley – 4%
On this basis, Fox News shafted Paul when they removed him from the main debate and choose Kasich instead.
YouGov poll shows results for only Trump, Cruz, and Rubio.
In the poll with all candidates included, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio get 36, 20, and 11 percent, respectively.
The the poll for only the top three candidates, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio get 45, 30, and 21 percent, respectively.
The order does not change. But the result shows my prediction is correct: Rubio will beat Cruz. This is because votes in moderate states earn twice as many GOP delegates as votes in conservative states. Cruz need to double Rubio’s votes to beat Rubio.
In conclusion, the race is between Trump and Rubio. The only proviso is Bush may surprise us and take Rubio’s place at the top of the moderate candidates. Then the race will be between Trump and Bush.