Between Now and 2016: A Conversation with Political Analyst Charlie Cook

Dec 2, 2014

Over the course of the next two years, political analyst Charlie Cook says we could see some infighting in Congress.

 “The question is which Republican Congress will take over? The party of Speaker John Boehner is more conventional, but a lot of the newer and younger Republicans have a very different view of the party and the country and where it should go. I think you’ll see real struggles over strategy… It is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.”

Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report

During this hour of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook, who is one of the most respected bi-partisan political analysts in the country.  He will be speaking at Drake University's Harkin Institute December 10 at 7:00 p.m. about the upcoming Presidential race. Seating is limited; you can reserve seats online here. 

Cook on Iowa as a “purple” state:

“Iowa, overall, is somewhere between purple and blue, but I focus on Presidential elections. I think it shows a problem that the Democratic Party  has in areas that have a lot of small town, rural voters, older voter, non-college educated whites. You could do a profile, and outside of Des Moines, that is most of Iowa.”

On the senate race between Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley:

“It was a classic case of a candidate that captures the imagination of voters. It’s rare that a single commercial is a game changer, but she sort of came out of the pack during the Republican primary with the squeal ad and never had to look back. That’s pretty rare, because most of the advertising is pretty cookie cutter stuff. Rarely does one really affect a race.”

On Hilary Clinton as a 2016 Presidential Candidate:

“She’s got to decide how much she wants it. Being elected President of the United States is very, very attractive. But does she want to live comfortably and spend time with her granddaughter, or does she want to get back into the wars and the grind that is so debilitating? I think people in Iowa have a better idea about how personally demanding it is to run, and getting up and out the door at 6:30 in the morning and then getting back to the hotel after midnight… does she really want to do that? I don’t think this is gender specific. It’s something Vice President Biden should think about too.”

On the relevance of the Iowa Caucuses:

I don’t think the straw poll will ever be what it was. If I come back to Iowa, it may be for the state fair, but it won’t be for the straw poll. But in terms of the caucus, Iowa has a franchise that they need to work hard to protect. A great suggestion was to have county election officials on hand to certify the results of each of the individuals caucuses so that there is greater transparency… The caucuses are important in terms of Iowa’s economy and the clout Iowa has. But, the state needs to protect that franchise, or the causes will lose their credibility and Iowa just becomes another one of the states.”

On issues that could dominate the 2016 election:

“It’s pretty clear that immigration will not be going away. We used to talk about Social Security as the third rail of American politics, but it would seem to me that immigration reform is becoming that. Touch it and you die. Marco Rubio is a very appealing and charismatic guy. Does he have the chances now that he had a year ago before he embraced immigration reform? I don’t think so. That’s the one issue we know for sure. My hunch is that national security will be important. But, is it more of the conventional strong, firm handed national defense, or is it of the Rand Paul ‘we need to choose our fights’ brand?”