1. It’s Tuesday, February 2, 2016.

2. It’s Groundhog Day. Fortunately, it looks like we got rid of the groundhog that burrowed a tunnel under our house. So if the miserable creature saw his shadow, he saw it somewhere other than here.

3. Some observations after Iowa:

— Here’s what’s unfair about the Iowa caucuses – how do maybe 400,000 people get to shape a race in which, eventually, about 120 million people will vote? It’s ridiculous. Even in Iowa itself, a quarter of the state’s voters determined who the other three-quarters will pick in November.

Don’t go trashing the pollsters who didn’t quite get the GOP race right. With a relatively small voting base, any number of things could skew an event that requires people to commit an hour or more on a weeknight. The kids have to go to school the next morning. There was an order at the plant that required working overtime. Someone called in sick. Those things weigh more heavily on a time suck like a caucus.

All that said, you have to think New Hampshire voters will take a new look at the three front runners in the GOP race. Cruz and Rubio should get a boost. And we’ll find out if Trump’s poll numbers have been inflated everywhere, not just Iowa.

And you have to wonder about the other so-called moderates in the field. Combined, Kasich, Bush or Christie didn’t even get 7% of the caucus raw vote in Iowa. Unless one of them pulls a shocker and finishes second in New Hampshire, they’re doomed. Rubio’s strong showing puts him clearly into the fore as the candidate of the less crazy.

On the Democratic side, there’s a lot of hand-wringing about both candidates. Clinton lost because she didn’t put Sanders away. Sanders lost because he couldn’t beat Clinton in a state with incredible favorables for his viewpoint (about two-thirds of the caucus participants considered themselves very or somewhat liberal).

Here’s the truth: It’s a tie, and a tie is a wash. It’s as if Iowa didn’t happen. Sanders remains strong in New Hampshire, and nothing about Iowa will change that. Clinton remains strong in South Carolina, a week and a-half after New Hampshire.

And who is this good for? Democrats – other than poor Martin O’Malley, who’s gone now.

If Clinton is the inevitable nominee, she needs to be tested. Sanders will give her that test. And if her people – including her husband – are as smart as everyone thinks they are, they will find a way to beat Sanders, and then they will find a way to embrace him and his supporters.

Hillary Clinton’s best shot against the Republican, especially if it’s Rubio, is standing on the podium at the convention in Philadelphia holding the arms of her solid running mate on one side and Bernie Sanders on the other. That’s the picture Democrats want to see.

Trump lost. He lost. He’s a loser. Loser Trump. Trump: 0 wins, 1 loss. Winning percentage: .000.

Obama won Iowa. Hillary Clinton won Iowa. Cruz won Iowa. Hell, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum won Iowa. They’re not losers.

Trump is. In fact, he almost came in third.

Concession. Also-ran. Underperformer. All can be used in a discussion of Donald J. Trump.

Even I didn’t realize how good it would feel to type all that. I’d love to be able to do that again after New Hampshire.


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