The announcements do not come as a surprise so soon after the actual 2016 presidential primary voting began. In many cases, candidates on the fringes want to delay suspending their campaigns until they see at least one set of actual voting results. That desire is amplified, and made more justifiable, by the historical difficulties polling firms have accurately calculating candidate support in Iowa. No candidate really knows exactly where he or she stands before the returns on Iowa Caucus night start coming in. Once real results are known, a presidential hopeful’s status becomes clearer. That’s when nominal candidates are more apt to drop out rather than continuing a needless and futile quest.
We are less than 48 hours from the close of Monday’s Iowa Caucuses, and already we are seeing the winnowing effect for which Iowa has come to be known. Democrat Martin O’Malley and Republican Mike Huckabee announced their withdrawal from the 2016 presidential race even before all the caucus-goers had made it home that evening. And today, two more Republicans, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, have called it quits.