Every candidate is hoping to leave Iowa with the Iowa bounce – a wave of support that victors typically experience after coming in first during the first caucus. But in recent years, that bounce hasn’t carried the winner of Iowa to the White House. For example, in the 2012 Republican caucus, Rick Santorum took Iowa. In 2008, Mike Huckabee won for the Republicans, and in 2004, Dick Gephart took the title for the Democrats only to later drop out when it became clear that John Kerry was the favorite.

So for everyone looking at Iowa as some kind of crystal ball that will predict the future, it looks like you’ll have to wait a few more months before we get a clear picture of which candidate from either side will end up being the nominee. And I know that if you support the candidate that ultimately wins next week you’ll want to take a victory lap, but you need to keep in mind that Iowa is basically the preseason, not the playoffs. Winning the first contest is a decent accomplishment and could give the winners a small bump in the polls, but as we’ve seen from past experience, that bump is not always enough to sustain a candidate through the rest of the campaign season.

The best we can hope for with the Iowa outcome is that it narrows the field a bit. Perhaps we’ll see enough Republicans drop out that we won’t have to continue having two separate debate stages every time these clowns gather together. Beyond that, I don’t see any reason to put too much stock into the outcome of the Iowa caucus…

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced