What will Iowa mean 2,3,4 years from now and onwards? Aside from the uniqueness of it’s retail process – along with coin tosses to decide who wins in the Dems case – it seems to have a deeper and more important meaning this time around.

More than just voter anger, if Jonah Goldberg at the National Review is right, Iowa’s lesson is a compelling lack of faith on the part of a majority of voters in the institution of the political party: both of them in this case. And that’s a clear reflection of a long-running disintegration of voter faith in most institutions in America. Ben Wattenberg’s quote from years back about the Democratic Party being a dozen folks with fax machines is being revealed as a conventional truth rather than an insider’s cynicism.

And who’s to blame? Why the primary system itself, especially places like Iowa with voters persuading each other who to vote for. How dare the Dems and the GOP self-inflict by opening up the back rooms and the convention floor to more direct voter participation! What were they thinking?!

Did the loss of power by the party machinery inevitably lead to an expanded K street? Or did it merely make the lobbying process a little more visible?

And the Establishment? A slightly dated phrase to say the least, which seems to get far more coverage on the GOP side than on the Democrat side because of the nature of the GOP nomination race. Should that be the case? Isn’t Bernie Sanders just as much of a threat to the Dems establishment and it’s coalition of identity politics and big money as Cruz, and Carson and Trump (and Paul) are to the GOP establishment?

As the National Review raises a little much-needed cash from followers on the back of the self-proclaimed success of their pamphletesque Against Trump, the question of who is the real anti-establishment GOP candidate becomes a little tricky to sort out.

While Rubio has skillfully scrapped his way into the now-emptying, famous, you-know-what lane, is Cruz or is Trump the real anti-establishment candidate? That begs the question: what the heck is the GOP establishment in 2016? Is it McConnell? Ryan? A few governors? The K-street crowd? Fox news? The Washington Examiner? Or the Washington Post? Is it united firmly and resolutely around an unproven senator from Florida, seeing the former governor from FLA – who is very much proven – has been a flop to put it politely?

As the party system bends and even breaks but surely reforms itself to somehow survive, will the establishment – both the Democratic and the Republican establishment – be forced to do some reforming as well? And where will power shift to over the next few electoral cycles? As Rubio gets ready for a knife fight in the alleys and lanes of beautiful New Hampshire, and as Trump decides how he will fight in the Granite State, there’s a deeper running battle going on as well. But surely the party system will survive, to the joy of some and to the anger of many. And surely the establishment will have to get used to being in the spotlight rather than standing behind the cameras and trying to play at being a Hollywood director.

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