US primary in Iowa: A success for a fiscal maverick

The first primary election for the democratic presidential candidate was eagerly awaited. Due to some technical mishaps, the announcement of the results was then given an almost embarrassing dramaturgy. In purely arithmetical terms, this state is only of minor importance for the nomination as official rival candidate, which is only due in July. Nevertheless, in the past, the Democrats have usually nominated the Iowa winner as their presidential candidate. On top of that, there is the positive boost that the winning team will receive for the (pre-)election marathon in the coming weeks and especially for the „Super-Tuesday“ on March 3. On that day alone, voting will take place in 15 states, including the two heavyweights California and Texas.

But what is the result to be judged, which is now becoming apparent? The newcomer Pete Buttigieg has probably narrowly challenged the socialist Bernie Sanders for the top spot. The comparatively young Afghanistan veteran has thus done surprisingly well. However, since his election campaign was very much focused on Iowa and he is still quite unknown in the other states, it is unlikely that he will be able to build on this success in the next elections.

If he should succeed nevertheless, then this could be because he represents a quite moderate tax and also health policy reform course and is thus seen by the voters as an alternative to the moderate Joe Biden. Like his competitors, he wants to reverse the reduction in corporate tax as far as possible and also provide for higher taxation of capital income so that this money is available for education, health and infrastructure. However, Buttigieg’s budget for this is comparatively modest at around USD 3.5 billion and falls well short of the ideas of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (USD 22 and 28 billion respectively). In just a few days‘ time, the election in New Hampshire may already provide an indication as to whether the success of the underdog was just a flash in the pan.

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