click to enlarge Jeb Bush: Beloved by donors, ignored by voters.
Jeb Bush: Beloved by donors, ignored by voters.

Cash can't buy love

BERNIE SANDERS' near-tie with the supposedly inevitable HILLARY CLINTON proved one thing in the Iowa caucuses: Sanders' message — against the influence of big money and special interests on politics — has resonated with the American people. Yet, ironically, Sanders' victory highlights just how little impact big money and special interests have had on this election so far.

United citizens, it turns out, are just as influential as Citizens United.

Conservative TED CRUZ reigned victorious, despite refusing to pander to the ethanol industry, Iowa's allegedly powerful special interest. Even billionaire DONALD TRUMP has shown how sparking outraged media coverage can be far more effective at dominating the conversation than flooding the airwaves with campaign ads. His second-place finish came despite having little organization in Iowa.

And consider the case of poor JEB BUSH: Beloved by donors, but scorned by voters. Bush and his super PACs poured reams of money into Iowa, only to find that his negative campaign ads didn't halt the surge of rival MARCO RUBIO. The cost of Bush's dismal sixth-place performance? About $2,884 per vote. (DANIEL WALTERS)

O'Malley's swan song

At least MARTIN O'MALLEY went down singing. The former Maryland governor announced Monday he was dropping out of the presidential race after earning less than 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, meaning potential voters will no longer be serenaded by O'Malley and his acoustic guitar.

People who showed up to O'Malley's campaign events often were treated to his renditions of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," or Passenger's "Scare Away the Dark." In Iowa, he would perform Greg Brown's "The Iowa Waltz" after speeches, because he knows how to play to a crowd. Though his presidential bid may be over, there's no indication he's done playing music. He is the frontman of Celtic rock band O'Malley's March, which has been performing and releasing albums for years. Videos of their performances can be found on YouTube, including a version of Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life.)" Many thought that O'Malley dropping out of the race was predictable, but — borrowing from the Green Day song — "in the end is right." (WILSON CRISCIONE)

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