Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has decided to drop out of the 2016 GOP presidential campaign for the White House. He will now focus on getting reelected to the US Senate. Meanwhile, the first post-Iowa Caucus poll from New Hampshire by UMassLowell/7News shows Donald Trump still maintaining a 24-point lead over his nearest competitor, Ted Cruz, with 38% to 14%. Bernie Sanders has a 31-point lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton. There is word that some polls expected out shortly may show some very different results, particularly for Trump. The New Hampshire primary is just 6 days away so we won′t have long to wait to find out what will really happen. Plus, Trump has promised to attend the next GOP debate Saturday night on ABC-TV, the first Republican presidential debate to be carried on a broadcast network.

Ben Carson is still questioning the ploy by the Ted Cruz campaign to sabotage the Iowa Caucus. Cruz staffers spread a rumor that Carson was dropping out, which may have led to some Carson supporters to vote for Cruz instead. This dirty trick followed another by the Cruz people, a mailer threatening a phony ′Voting Violation″ against Iowan caucus goers. For someone who claims to be such a big Christian, Ted Cruz did a number of stunts which were outright lies and deceptions. Not only lies about competitors but also a phony endorsement by a newspaper which doesn′t exist. Cruz is ignoring New Hampshire, focusing his attention on South Carolina, which follows shortly. Some Marco Rubio supporters also used the CNN story about Carson going home to Florida after Iowa to sway voters for Rubio.

Over on the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders is still raising questions about Hillary Clinton′s ′win′ in Iowa. The Democratic Party has declared Clinton the official winner by just 0.2%. In many states, that would automatically trigger a recount. But in Iowa, there are no ballots to count! Apparently the Democrats in Iowa do not believe in democracy. Certainly not one that has a paper trail. Caucus precincts determined winners by a head count, assigning their delegates to a state convention to the winner. In six precincts, Hillary won the tie breaking coin tosses, despite the odds being 1-in-64 against Hillary. Donald Trump quipped that he′d like some of those coins himself!

New Hampshire now becomes the battleground for candidates like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich. Christie already launched his first salvo at Rubio, hoping to derail any momentum gained from a third place finish in Iowa. While Iowa rarely picks a GOP nominee, all Republican nominees in the post-WW2 era have won either Iowa or New Hampshire. Jeb has brought in his mother, Barbara Bush, to help campaign in NH. Trump says that he learned his lesson about the ′ground-game′ after Iowa. He failed to have ′captains′ or speakers at some 200 precincts. Cruz, with a vast army of 12,000 volunteers, just needed each to bring 4.5 voters each to achieve his results.

With New Hampshire primary just 6 days away, we are finally off to the races! The polls now matter less as actual voting begins. Neither Iowa or New Hampshire are good representatives for what may wind up happening nationwide. Their purpose, politically, has always been as a shakedown cruise for campaigns to work out their messages and structure. The Republicans have a definite edge in the 2016 race for the White House. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton faces two opponents, Bernie Sanders and the FBI. The email scandal hangs over her head like a sword waiting to either finish her campaign, or tarnish it enough to make her election difficult.