For this post, we’re going to focus specifically on Iowa, perhaps one of the more religiously-based states when it comes to consistent caucus statistics in American primary systems. In Iowa, over 55% of adults report that religion is “incredibly important” to them, making it 19th in terms of percentage of people classified as highly religious within the United States. However, Iowa has a little bit of a modern…catch to it. For the past three election cycles, the Republicans in Iowa have picked the same wolf in different sheep’s clothing: the evangelical of the race.
In 2008, the people of Iowa rallied support behind Mike Huckabee — the jolly fat guy within the evangelical base that literally hates anyone who isn’t white and Christian. 34% of the total votes in this incarnation of the Iowa caucus backed Huckabee, the largest percentage of support of all three evangelical nut jobs that I’m writing about in this post. But let me explain something: 34% is not a lot when it comes to winning the Iowa caucus on a conservative ticket. The average victory in the past 11 election cycles has been about 51%, counting the three election cycles where the Republican victor was literally unopposed. Meaning the three evangelical candidates all scored below the average threshold of support we’ve once seen before in the Hawkeye State.
Huckabee also ran in 2012 and 2016, but we know how that turned out for him. He failed horrendously in both election cycles, never reaching the same numbers as his 2008 attempt.
In 2012, the people of Iowa rallied support behind Rick Santorum — the televangelist with a dead look in his eye that made such an enemy with the gay community that they trolled him by ruining his search engine SEO with “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex”. Unlike Huckabee, who was able to break the thirty percentile mark, Santorum performed the least out of the three evangelicals: only receiving around 25% of the vote with second place and eventual 2012 nominee Mitt Romney essentially tying at 24.9% or so.
Santorum also ran in 2016, but if you didn’t know he still existed I don’t blame you. He performed terribly, barely even lifting up from the polls this time around.
In 2016, the people of Iowa rallied support behind Ted Cruz — the despicable, whiny little Texan who literally ran on the platform “I’M NOT TRUMP” and “GOD CHOSE ME”. He received 27.7% of the vote in this Iowa caucus — barely squeezing a percentage victory past Donald Trump, who received 24.3% of the vote that day. I’ve said so much about Ted Cruz at this point that I don’t think I ever need to talk about him again. From getting caught in a supposed sex scandal to lying about every aspect of his campaign to making a middle school treaty with John Kasich to desperately picking Carly Fiorina as a running mate a day or so before dropping out, Ted Cruz is a despicable politician.
But, let me explain something about these evangelical candidates: they have incredibly short national lifespans in terms of polls and success in politics. Huckabee continues to crash and burn, never again will he see the numbers that he set in Iowa eight years ago. Santorum has made a complete fool of himself, getting ONE person to show up at a rally of his this election cycle was lucky for him. Cruz has ruined what very little political promise his name held, with so much baggage being put upon his shoulders.
Prediction? In either 2020 or 2024, Ted Cruz will run again. He’ll run for president again, thinking he has a chance at victory just like Huckabee and Santorum think they themselves do. And guess what — just like Huckabee and Santorum before him, Ted Cruz will NEVER do as well as he did his first time around. The evangelical vote has a weird thing about failures when it comes to their candidates, and they’ll turn to someone new before ever dawning the Cruz Crew button on their Sunday’s Best.
The evangelical candidates are like cicadas in a sense. They’re super annoying and scream loudly for an election cycle, and then they die off really fast. Huckabee no longer matters, Santorum is more irrelevant now than he’s ever been, and Cruz is following suit after only lasting in this race long enough because of Donald Trump.