Steffen W. Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Iowa State University, WNYC blogger, and chief Political correspondent of Insider Iowa.
Five Republican primaries, no real surprises: Mitt Romney sweeps the night and is now looking ahead to the general election. Anna Sale, reporter for our co-producer WNYC's politics website It's A Free Country, takes a step back to discusses Newt Gingrich and the continuation of this seemingly finished race. Steffen Schmidt, It's A Free Country contributor and professor of political science at Iowa State University, looks forwards and considers Romney's fight for the hearts and minds of the GOP base.
Everyone acknowledges that our nation's politics are as polarized as any time in recent memory. But some observers worry that polarization is carrying over into areas outside the public sphere. Steffen Schmidt, contributor to It's a Free Country, thinks the politicization of everyday life is a terrible development and is concerned about its implications for the country's future. Tom Edsall is a professor at the Columbia Journalism School and author of "The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics."
Despite his vitriolic attacks against fellow frontrunner Mitt Romney, Tuesday night's primary was a disappointment for Newt Gingrich. In addition to losing Florida's 50 delegates, his second-place status is the widest margin of victory the GOP contest thus far. But Gingrich has vowed to stay the course. With the majority of the race ahead of them, it's still possible for him to grab the nomination — but without the support of the front-loaded states, it's not likely.
Friday South Carolina will hold the "First in the South" primary. Since 1980 the victor of the South Carolina primary has gone on to win the presidential nomination. But the Palmetto State is sharing the limelight this morning with the Hawkeye State as the miscount in Iowa has skewed the results of the first GOP caucus. Rick Santorum is now declared the winner of the Iowa Caucus by a small margin of 34 votes. But in the end does it really matter?
In one of the closet presidential contests in history, Mitt Romney was declared winner of Tuesday night's Iowa caucuses by a mere eight votes. Romney took 24.6 percent of the vote, barely edging out rival Rick Santorum, who was carried to the top of the polls with the support of evangelical Christians. Young caucus-goers helped deliver libertarian Congressman Ron Paul a close third place finish, with 21.4 percent of the vote. The night was perhaps most disappointing for one-time front-runners Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Bachmann finished last, with only five percent of the vote. Perry announced he would suspend his campaign after placing just ahead of Bachmann.
After months of campaigning, 13 debates, and an unprecedented $12.5 million spent, Iowa voters will gather at caucus sites across the state Tuesday night in the first contest of the GOP presidential nomination race. Scores of voters remain undecided, as many as 41 percent in recent polls. Presumptive front-runner Mitt Romney told an audience Monday, "We're going to win this thing." But Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are also mopping up in polls.