Dave Barry

Dave Barry: Tinkling on Iowa: It’s the New Hampshire primaries!

The “high tech” way to hold elections.
The “high tech” way to hold elections. Courtesy of Mattel

With the Iowa caucuses finally behind us, the big question on the minds of millions of Americans, as the nation looks toward an uncertain future, is: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Also some people are wondering who will win the New Hampshire primary. This is an election held every four years to give the voters of New Hampshire a chance to urinate all over whatever the voters of Iowa did.

This year they have targets aplenty:

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses. Or maybe she didn’t. It’s possible that the late Hubert Humphrey won the Iowa Democratic caucuses, which were run so incompetently that it’s hard to believe Florida was not involved. They featured mass confusion and multiple coin flips. Yes: Coin flips. Why not go totally “high-tech” and use a Magic 8-Ball? (“Reply hazy, try again in 2016.”)

The other Democratic news is that Martin O’Malley dropped out of the race, fueling speculation that he had been in the race. It is not yet clear who will inherit O’Malley’s supporter base, which consists of Mrs. Martin O’Malley and their dog, Rex.

So the Democratic race is now a contest between Sanders and Clinton, who are engaged in an increasingly nasty debate over who is more progressive. Sanders seems to have the edge here, especially now that he is ending his rallies by setting fire to a live Wall Street banker.

On the Republican side, Ted Cruz won in Iowa. Donald Trump, who came in second, made an uncharacteristically low-key and gracious concession speech, but then the tranquilizer dart wore off and Trump fired off a series of semi-grammatical attack tweets claiming that Cruz is a liar and a fraud and by the way a Canadian who won Iowa by cheating. So he’s back in form.

The big winner in all this is Marco Rubio, who is looking more and more like the Republican Establishment Alternative. This makes Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich CRAZY because they all have executive experience as governors, whereas Rubio’s main achievement to date is paying off his student loans. Do not be surprised if, during the Republican debate Saturday night, Jeb gives Marco a noogie.

Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee dropped out of the Republican race, but Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore are still in it. Who is Jim Gilmore, you ask? He is a former governor of Virginia, and he is seriously running for president. Guess how many votes he got in Iowa. Never mind, I will tell you: Twelve. Yes. Twelve. That is 107 fewer voters than “Other” got. And yet Gilmore is still running.

I know this because I caught up with the Gilmore campaign juggernaut Thursday night at the Hillsborough County Republican Committee dinner gala here in Nashua, which featured candidates running for local offices. The Gilmore juggernaut consisted of Gilmore and an aide, who was carrying two “Gilmore for America” signs. When they arrived, the dinner had already started; Gilmore stopped outside the ballroom to shake hands with a man and woman who were getting drinks at the bar. The man and Gilmore had the following exchange, which I am not making up:

GILMORE: Hi, I’m Jim Gilmore.

MAN: Hi. Are you running for office?


MAN: Which office?

GILMORE: The presidency.

MAN: Great!

GILMORE: Of the United States.

MAN: Excellent!

Gilmore gave a speech to the Hillsborough County Republicans, who chewed their entrees thoughtfully as he explained his plan for revitalizing the nation. His aide left the two “Gilmore for America” signs propped on a table, where they looked neglected and lonely. I wanted to give them a hug.

In other campaign news:

▪ John Kasich has received the endorsement of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Montel Williams. This changes everything.

▪ Donald Trump told an audience that if he’s president and ISIS attacks us, “We’ll beat the s**t out of them.” The word that comes to mind is “Lincolnesque.”

▪ It’s snowing hard here. Looking out my hotel window, I can see wolves prowling around my rental car. I think they should hold the New Hampshire primary at a later date. And in Hawaii.

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