SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Monday night’s Iowa caucuses proved that the 2016 presidential campaign is a close race for both parties, however, a presidential historian says that it’s not only a close race, but a one of a kind.
Douglas Brinkley, an American writer and historian, is lecturing this week at The Bishop’s School and he admits that the 2016 presidential election has been an educating experience for him.
"I would have guessed a year ago it was going to be Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. I didn't even think Hillary Clinton would have a challenger. But Bernie Sanders has developed a lot of steam,” said Brinkley.
Brinkley believes Sanders still has a lot work to do if he wants to beat Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination, but the Iowa caucuses showed that much of his support is coming from young voters. Brinkley says the next real test for Sanders will be the South Carolina primary later this month.
"Young African Americans are starting to get behind Bernie Sanders. If he can steal some of that vote away from Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, you really might have a two way race to the bitter end between Clinton and Sanders."
When it comes to the Republican Party, Brinkley believes it's still anyone's race between Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, who has been running a vastly different campaign than his rivals.
"While a lot of candidates were building ground games, which Ted Cruz has been doing and it might work, Trump's been trying to win the media war every day. Today I’m going to be the story. Tomorrow I’m going to be the story and he's done that quite well," said Brinkley.
Brinkley, who has written historical books about several presidents, calls this year's election cycle “bizarre” and that the only presidential race he can compare it with is the race in 1968.
"Everybody thought Lyndon Johnson was running for reelection and then he dropped out in March of 68. Then Bobby Kennedy was supposed to get the nomination, but he was murdered. Hubert Humphrey had to step in and was Vice President. Then Nixon, who everyone thought was dead because he lost the Governorship of California."
Brinkley says the insanity of this year’s election isn’t over yet, especially if a rich third party candidate jumps into the race. However, regardless of what happens, he says America will survive.