Alex Miller, Asteroid Files

Let the Games Begin: Iowa and New Hampshire 2016

by Alex Miller on February 1, 2016

Astrology of the Iowa Caucuses

Well, here we are, finally. To paraphrase Taylor Swift, bloviators gonna bloviate, prognosticators gonna prognosticate. At last we’ll see some hard data.

Is the Trump phenomenon a chimera? If so, who will fill the gap of his implosion on the GOP side? Can Bernie Sanders really slay the Clinton dragon? And are these early results really determinative at all, given the current state of political chaos in the US?

At the time of this posting, Iowa’s caucuses are mere hours away, and New Hampshire’s “first in the nation” primary a little more than a week off, but there are patterns we can discern in the skies which provide potential clues to the outcome of these earliest contests in this protracted battle royale for the American presidency.

The celestial backdrop for this slugfest is a forming square between the Sun, our point of illumination and focus, and Mars, pugilist extraordinaire, which is a few days shy of exact as Iowa commences, and a day past exact when New Hampshire weighs in. And this combination perfectly portrays the issues at hand, with all eyes turned to the opening salvos of the competition. But appropriate as this framework may be, there is a lot more to it than that.

We’re fortunate to have PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) for all the leading contenders in this struggle, many of them with exact matches to their celestial counterparts, and adding them to the mix can provide insights into how their terrestrial namesakes may perform.

Trump draws 30K

Trump draws a crowd

Looking at the early January Iowa caucus polling, we’re seeing a neck-and-neck contest between Donald Trump, the national frontrunner by several leagues, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. This is borne out by the astrology, which shows both asteroids Troemper (closest match to Trump, and a reliable performer in charting The Donald’s progress thus far) at 6 Aquarius and Cruz at 21 Aquarius, both within orb of the Sun at 12 Aquarius, depicting them as central to the day’s events, and the focus of all eyes. The Sun is also exactly conjunct a reality-warping Black Hole, suggesting that some surprises may be in store, but also reflective of the quantum flux occurring in the grassroots of the Republican Party.

With both leading contenders caught up in the Sun’s dominating influence, it’s hard to call a winner. Troemper is closer, but its exact conjunction with the Sun has passed, and thus he’s peaked a bit early. The Sun is still advancing on Cruz, who appears to be the wave of the future, but it’s barely within orb when the Iowa contest plays out.

If we refer back to the natal chart, the transit Sun/Mars square at 12 and 15 Aquarius/Scorpio feeds into Trump’s natal chart (born 14 June 1946) by opposition and square to natal Pluto, his personal power base, at 10 Leo. An even closer contact comes from transit Mercury, ruling the voting process itself, which at 17 Capricorn forms aspects with both Trump’s natal Jupiter at 17 Libra (square) and Uranus at 17 Gemini (inconjunct). Whatever the outcome in Iowa, Trump has certainly shaken up (Uranus) conventional wisdom (Jupiter) about politics (Jupiter also), and this vote (Mercury) will confirm his influence, regardless of whether he comes in first or second. Transit Mercury also conjoins transit Pluto at 16 Capricorn, reinforcing the “do or die” nature of this contest.

Ted Cruz Iowa

Cruzin’ Iowa

For Cruz (born 22 December 1970), transit Sun/Mars creates a T-Square, with transit Mars straddling his natal Mars/Venus pairing at 10 and 17 Scorpio, and the Sun squaring natal Saturn, ruling career, at 16 Taurus. Transit Mercury/Pluto conjoins Cruz’ natal Mercury at 12 Capricorn, perhaps transforming and empowering (Pluto) his message (Mercury), but also in the mix is Cruz’ natal asteroid Achilles at 13 Capricorn, representing a point of weakness or vulnerability. Will Cruz’ hard-line conservative (Capricorn) stance undermine (Achilles) his chances? Last to be considered, transit Cruz at 21 Aquarius is an exact match for candidate Cruz’ natal asteroid Whitehouse, certainly an auspicious omen for the first battle of the nominating process.

Look for Trump to rise in the polls as his asteroid namesake approaches the exact solar conjunction on January 22, then level off. My best guess? Ted Cruz by a slim margin. My heart tells me Trump will pull it out, due to the enthusiasm of the huge crowds he gathers, but I’m going with my head on this one, as Cruz’ ground game in Iowa is better than Trump’s, and his support among evangelicals, a key Iowa constituency, is firmer.

Ted’s turn in the solar spotlight doesn’t come until the exact conjunction of the Sun and asteroid Cruz on February 20, at 1 Pisces, a bit late for Iowa or New Hampshire. But by then, we’ve also got to factor in the influence of Neptune, intruding on their conjunction from 8 Pisces. Neptune certainly reflects the Texas Senator’s support among evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians, but can also spell a disappointment or disillusionment. Looking forward to March 1 and Super Tuesday, it looks like a Cruz collapse to me, after an auspicious beginning.

But there are others basking in those solar rays in Iowa as well. Asteroid Busch at 5 Aquarius has been running neck-and-neck with Troemper since both candidates announced their dishonorable intentions within a day of each other in June. Just as Trump’s grandiloquent entrance into the race stomped on Bush’s more sedate announcement, so too has Trump kept up the pressure on Bush, once seen as the GOP frontrunner, ever since. One can feel the constant chafing between these two as their celestial referents metaphorically struggle for air. Defining him early on as “low energy” and using him as a human punching bag illustration of how he’ll grind to a fine powder anyone who gets in his way, Trump’s merciless battering of Jeb Bush has warned off his other rivals against coming out too strongly against him. Those that have, from Scott Walker and Rick Perry to Lindsay Graham, have all fallen by the wayside months before the voting began.

Nevertheless, asteroid Busch’s proximity to the Sun may indicate a better-than-expected showing from Jeb Bush in Iowa, which would be a victory of sorts for him, I suppose. Also prominent, and in the best position vis-à-vis the Sun, is asteroid Christy at 15 Aquarius, for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, currently gaining some ground in New Hampshire but still low in Iowa polling. And New Hampshire may well be where candidate Christie makes his move, as during the intervening eight days between the two contests, the Sun catches up to, exactly conjoins, and then pulls slightly ahead of asteroid Christy, bringing the Jersey Governor into prominent focus, perhaps just in time to pull off a solid showing in the Granite State. Regardless of his ultimate showing there, look for the media buzz to be all about a possible Christie upset.

Most of the remaining candidates are total irrelevancies at this point, and unlikely to rise, whatever their celestial namesakes do. Astrology doesn’t occur in a vacuum; practical considerations have to be taken into account.

A possible exception is Florida Senator Marco Rubio, once designated by Time Magazine as “The Republican Savior.” Rubio’s pre-primary performance has been less than stellar (no pun intended), but he’s still considered a potential contender in the “establishment lane” of the selection process. On Caucus Day in Iowa, Rubio’s PNAs reflect his lackluster showing thus far. Asteroids Marc and Rubbia oppose each other from 25 Aries and 22 Libra respectively, but don’t make a huge impact on the rest of the transit sky. Marc leads transit Uranus at 17 Aries by seven degrees, a rather wide conjunction, but one that could indicate a surprising result. Rubbia conjoins transit asteroid Washingtonia at 19 Libra, potentially identifying him as the establishment candidate, but this could cut both ways. In this “year of the outsider”, resonating with the nation’s power center is not a plus for most voters. However, the Marc/Rubbia polarity does form a broad T-Square with the transit Pluto/Mercury conjunction at 16/17 Capricorn, so he shouldn’t be counted out entirely, and may well show up in the top three in the Hawkeye State.

We should pause here to note that Mercury exactly squares Uranus at the Iowa Caucus, so do expect the unexpected. Mercury’s intimately personal influence brings the more rarefied energies of the still-active Uranus/Pluto square down to earth, bringing to the forefront its basic theme, the clash between individual freedoms and entrenched power or vested interests. In many ways, Iowa represents that struggle, and this combination favors Uranian outsiders over establishment elites, in spades.

And what of Ben Carson? The retired pediatric neurosurgeon, who once tilted with Trump for the lead in national polls, has seen a devastating plummet from those heights. The placement of transit asteroid Carson on Caucus Day perfectly reflects his fall from grace—at 1 Taurus, Carson is completely out of the celestial running, isolated and making no major aspects whatsoever. Candidate Carson’s fall can be closely correlated to asteroid Carson’s peregrinations. Carson first started to catch fire with the GOP electorate in late August and early September 2015, just his PNA paused and reversed direction.

Turning stationary retrograde on September 3, at 25 Aries, Carson exactly conjoined another of those reality-warping Black Holes, and his sudden rise flummoxed the chattering classes for months. But as with many Black Hole manifestations, the effects can be ephemeral and extremely unstable. Rising in tandem with Trump, the two dominated the field, until by mid-October Carson had actually eclipsed the real estate magnate/reality TV star by a few points. He held this position for two weeks, then slipped just beneath Trump in the polls again.

It wasn’t until his PNA turned direct once more on November 19 that the precipitate decline began, resulting in Carson’s drop to middle single digits within three weeks. Voters had taken advantage of the retrograde to reassess Carson’s qualifications and appeal, and found him lacking. The intervening period had brought international politics and terrorism to the forefront of voter’s minds, after the Paris massacre and the San Bernardino attack, and Carson’s foreign policy credentials were exposed as minimal. It was all over for the good doctor after he appeared to equate a militant anti-Israeli terrorist group with a tasty Middle Eastern chick pea spread (Hamas and hummus), and voters could no longer take him seriously as a potential Commander-in-Chief.

So much for the drama on the GOP side. The Democrats are easier to predict.

Or are they? As with Troemper and Busch, asteroids Hillary, Bernie and Sanders have been closely yoked in the heavens throughout the pre-primary campaign season, and one can easily see the similar effect. With Trump and Bush, the constant friction has been palpable, but the more genteel Clinton/Sanders battle has manifested as Hillary Clinton co-opting more and more of Bernie Sanders’ populist message, as their celestial namesakes “rub off” on one another. For his part in their celestial proximity, Sanders has poached Clinton voters in the process, coming to within striking distance of her in Iowa and ahead in some New Hampshire polling.

Once considered a political footnote to the 2016 election, Sanders’ support has grown exponentially, as his campaign set a new record for individual contributions which surpassed Obama’s 2012 reelection stats, with 2.5 million donors giving an average $27 each. By the time asteroids Hillary, Bernie and Sanders all came together at 20 Aquarius on January 5, the Clinton and Sanders campaigns had reached virtual parity on monthly fundraising totals and cash-in-hand.

Clinton and Sanders

Clinton and Sanders, suddenly a crotchety couple

As soon as their asteroids “collided”, the change in tone between the campaigns became profound. It was like Sanders had snuck up from behind Clinton, just as his asteroid had “snuck up” on Hillary, cold-cocked her in the polls, and suddenly she was aware of his existence. At this point the friction between the two became much like it had been all along between Trump and Bush—an irritated, adversarial, almost “crotchety” tone of discontent, which escalated into the most vigorous exchanges we had yet seen between the candidates, as they squared off on January 18 in their last public debate before the Iowa caucus.

This super-conjunction began to separate as January waned, but all three are still within 5 degrees of other when the Iowa caucuses commence. Bernie at 1 Pisces, Sanders at 3 Pisces, and Hillary at 6 Pisces are also all within orb of Neptune at 8 Pisces, which surely spells a disappointing outcome for someone. Asteroid Hillary is closest to Neptune’s debilitating influence, but the planet of dreams and fantasies can also inspire, and Neptune’s innate tendency toward confusion and disarray could result as a double loss for Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, a double win, or a more anarchic mixed outcome. One thing is certain—Neptune is the epitome of “slippery”, and whatever advantages or expectations either candidate may have or hold, are likely to slip from their grasp like so much water through a sieve.

To me, it seems like a Clinton win in Iowa, before the Neptune conjunction is fully engaged by either candidate, followed by a loss in New Hampshire, after asteroid Hillary has passed through the crucible of Neptune’s watery fires, but asteroids Bernie and Sanders are still in the “inspirational” pre-conjunction phase.

Referring back to the natal charts, Hillary Clinton’s (born 26 October 1947) Venus/Mercury conjunction at 16 and 21 Scorpio is conjoined and squared by the transit Mars/Sun square at the Iowa caucus, and forms a T-Square with her natal Mars/Pluto at 13 and 14 Leo. Transit Mars on her Mercury could help in her campaign’s “Get Out the Vote” operation, and with Venus there, women are potentially energized, always a key constituency for her. The Sun opposing her natal Mars/Pluto makes her shine like a champion, and elevates her personal power and prestige. The only fly in the ointment there is transit Pluto/Mercury closely squaring her natal asteroid Sanders at 18 Libra—that could throw a monkey wrench into the works, in the form of the “Democratic Socialist” from Vermont.

Bernie Sanders (born 8 September 1941) doesn’t have a lot going on that day, just a weak T-Square from transit Pluto/Mercury to his natal Venus/Mars opposition at 22 Libra and 23 Aries, respectively. I doubt he can parlay that into an Iowa win, but transit Bernie at 3 Pisces exactly opposes his natal Victoria (victory) at 3 Virgo and squares his natal asteroid Whitehouse at 6 Sagittarius (itself conjunct natal Sanders), so there’s some support in that.

One final side note—asteroids Nike and Victoria, named respectively for the Greek and Roman goddesses of victory, have their hands in the celestial pot as well. Nike conjoins Mars and squares the Sun from 18 Scorpio when voting begins in Iowa, while Victoria at 18 Cancer closely opposes the Pluto/Mercury conjunction. One thing is clear—winners shine and losers whine, while to the victor go the political spoils.

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