By, Siraj Hashmi
The Iowa Caucuses are finally here after months of anticipation. It is the time where candidates get to see the fruits of their labor or find their campaign dreams bite the dust.
Going into the first day where voters cast their ballots, Donald Trump is locked into a tight battle with Texas Senator Ted Cruz on the Republican side, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trying to fend off the rise of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic field. However, it is highly unlikely that the results of these caucuses will mean much in the grander scheme of the 2016 election.
Since 1972 when the Iowa Caucuses began, only three candidates have won the presidency after winning the first electoral event of the season: Jimmy Carter in 1976, George W. Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008. For those who are counting, three candidates have gone on to win the presidency out of 16 caucuses where a candidate did not run unopposed or was the incumbent.
The Iowa Caucuses mark the first battle in the civil war threatening the Republican party. For years, the GOP has been rife in a struggle between the establishment and conservatives. After the first inauguration of President Obama in 2009, the Tea Party movement rose to rebuke not only the President's progressive agenda, but also Republicans who were willing to work with Democrats to push legislation forward. Republicans willing to cut deals with the opposing party were deemed RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) or "the establishment", and were not to be trusted.
Ted Cruz is seen as the Tea Party Warrior, a man who has been fighting the establishment ever since he was elected to the U.S. Senate to bring conservative principles back to Congress and eventually the White House.
The rise of Donald Trump has made it complicated for Cruz's camp. While both Trump and Cruz have been highly successful in conveying a message that resonates with voters, millennials prefer Trump with 26 percent support of those surveyed, according to a recent Rock the Vote/USA Today poll.
But what's the appeal for both Trump and Cruz with millennials?
Ryan Girdusky, Staff Writer for Red Alert Politics and a Trump supporter, believes that the Donald, like Bernie Sanders, is asking the same questions that millennials are asking of our political system.
"Why are we fighting the Iraq War? Why are we spending billions of dollars trying to rebuild Afghanistan, which looks like the Moon, than spending money on our cities like Detroit? Why do we not care about putting Americans first? Those are very appealing questions," Girdusky said. "They're [Trump and Sanders] coming at different answers, but it's the questions that millennials are asking themselves as well."
However, for Cruz, his appeal may not be about addressing a particular issue, but more about his consistency and track record. Gabriella Hoffman, a conservative commentator, Virginia primary voter and author of the article "Ted Cruz is the Best Candidate for Millennials", said, "I see in [Cruz] someone who can confidently communicate conservatism and someone who can appeal to others beyond conservatism. It's just a matter of getting to know him, getting to know who he is. If people got to know him and his staff, which is comprised of a lot of young people, they'll see that he does have a good pulse on young people."
As the 2016 election enters a new phase with the Iowa Caucuses, millennials will really have a chance to prove the pundits wrong.
How so? Show up to vote.