Finally, the Iowa caucuses have come and gone and with them come the pundits and candidates with their spin. But what about the LGBT spin? Let’s look at what those races meant and maybe do a little crystal-ball predicting.
Let’s start with the fun house, the Republicans. As stated in this column long ago, take Trump seriously. That said, he came in second, with Marco Rubio a strong third, nipping at Trump’s heels. The remainder of the card is unimportant at this point, unless somewhere down the line they prove viable.
The big loser in Iowa was Trump. He boasted everywhere up to the minute of the caucuses that he was number one in the Iowa polls, and he was. But by coming in second he proved what some were saying: People came to his rallies for the show, but wouldn’t vote for him. New Hampshire, where he is also number one in the polls, is a must-win for him. If he does not have a commanding victory, his support will begin to fade away. After all his appeal was, “I can win, I’m a winner.” A two-time loser is not a winner.
Ted Cruz won Iowa by a goof ground game and by sucking up to conservatives and evangelical voters, who comprised 64 percent of Iowa Republican voters. To do so, he used every right-wing trick, some Nixonian and Bush ones and gay-bashing. Personally, I’d like for Cruz to get the Republican nomination. Why? Even Republicans hate him and they’ll sit on their hands. His appeal might work for right-wing conservative states, but there are not enough of them to win a national election.
Rubio in third place was the wild card. The only question is, can he ride the momentum? He’s looking at New Hampshire, then Nevada and South Carolina, which will make or break him.
Onto the Democratic side … In all transparency, I’m a Hillary supporter. That said, Bernie Sanders lost, but it wasn’t just any loss. As he said the entire last week of the race, “If there is a big turnout, I win.” Well, he got the biggest turnout in history … and he still lost.
But why was it so close? Maybe we should see the obvious. How many strong women are there in elected office? Few. Why? Sexism is still an issue. And aside from pundits saying, “Is Hillary going to use the woman card?” have you heard any of them say, “Is Hillary going to face sexism in the race?” I haven’t.
Sanders is positioned to win New Hampshire. Clinton is positioned to lose. There are only a few days left before that race, so that shouldn’t change and it only becomes an issue if Clinton wins or does better than expected. She will most likely do better than expected simply because the polls currently have her 20 points behind. So she goes into the next round with her toughest states behind her. From that point on, it’s uphill for Sanders.
As to that LGBT factor … Of those three Republicans in the top spots in Iowa, not one of them has an acceptable position on LGBT rights. You might even say they are all homophobic since they want to take away the rights we have fought so hard to obtain. As for the two Democrats, they both have good positions.
So anyone who cares about LGBT rights should be supporting the most electable Democratic nominee. And that’s the postilion that both Sanders and Clinton are trying to show to their fellow Democrats now.
Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News publisher and author of the critically-acclaimed memoir “And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality.”