Over the weekend I had the opportunity to speak to couple hundred pro-life students who were in Austin for the annual March for Life at the state capitol. We had just rallied together with about 4000 other pro-life advocates from around the state, and the students were energized and engaged. They were attending the Boots on the Ground training seminar being hosted by Texas Right to Life. During this two day event, the students were learning how to fight and win for the pro-life movement. I was so impressed with these students, and encouraged by their enthusiasm and determination to make a difference and save lives. I have no doubt that many of the future leaders of the pro-life movement were in that room, and that they will be fighting for life for decades to come. I was proud to stand with them, and to speak with many of them after my speech.
Texas Right to Life asked me to speak about my views on the 2016 presidential campaign, and provide some insight and analysis. I did my best to paint a picture of the race, and to walk through a few different plausible scenarios for the outcome of the campaign. It is always difficult to predict political outcomes, even with all the modern polling that we have at our disposal. Ultimately, there are many variables at play, and there is a lot of inherent chaos in national campaigns. The candidates, their campaigns, money, organization, news events, opposition research, social media, and dozens of other factors are all moving at the same time, in different directions. It's hard to know exactly what will happen, but I try to look at things like historical precedents, data, patterns, and even anecdotes to get a sense of where things are moving, and what is likely.
The Iowa caucuses are only a week away, and anything can happen. But it does at least seem clear that on the Republican side, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are going to fight it out for first and second place, with Marco Rubio coming in third place. And Bernie Sanders does look poised to potentially win Iowa, but the Clintons are starting to hit him hard on the campaign trail. It will probably end up being a close race. Either way, no matter what the outcome, Iowa is merely the beginning of a long. arduous path to the eventual nomination for both the Republicans and the Democrats. We are in for a long year of hard fought campaigns on both sides, and ultimately no one knows for sure what will happen. I guess that is why we have elections, after all. The people will decide, and then we will look back and try to figure out what led to the outcomes of the elections, whatever they will be.
I gave a lecture at my graduate school alma mater, The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC. The topic was Strategic Communications: Lessons for Grassroots Movements. I discussed how the tea party movement used strategic communications to organize a mass movement, and demand political change.
Brendan Steinhauser is a national political strategist focused on campaigns, media, and public policy.