Tag: Iowa Caucuses

Iowa Wrap-up

Realistically, the Iowa Caucuses are a ridiculous measure of the electorate. It’s a massively flawed system in an absurdly unrepresentative state. But none of that matters. What matters is how the media spin it, and what happened tonight will be easy for their simplistic framing: Obama won big, Hillary sputtered to a weak third place, not even breaking 30%. Edwards really needed to win, and didn’t.

Keep an eye on the New Hampshire polls. The media want this to give Obama a big bump. It probably will. The size of his win in this massively flawed system in this absurdly unrepresentative state makes him the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Hillary polls far ahead, in later states, but that could quickly erode. The pressure is on her to do much better in New Hampshire. Even a close loss might not be enough. If Obama carries this big win into a second win, next week, he may be unstoppable.

It’s tough to see where Edwards goes, from here. He’s not polling well in New Hampshire or South Carolina, and he needed a big boost, to get any traction in either. He didn’t get it. His campaign is in serious trouble. Should he be out, after South Carolina, it will be interesting to see what his supporters do. None are more passionate. If they move as a bloc, they could make the difference.

Obama’s centrist strategy worked, in Iowa. It’s not popular with many die-hard liberals. If the only alternative turns out to be Hillary, where do they go? Obama also proved enormously inspiring to young voters. Should he win the nomination, they could help sweep Democrats into all levels of offices. Such a Democratic landslide could mean a much more liberal Obama Administration than many now fear.

In the end, though, this race is far from over. Bill Clinton was known as the Comeback Kid. We’ll now find out if Hillary has similar skill and tenacity. She won’t go down easily.  

Don’t let them change the subject; the war goes on

That image, courtesy of the Defense Department, is just a reminder of what’s happening on the other side of the world as we count the caucus votes in Iowa.

The Iowa Caucuses are officially a farce!

David Yepsen, of the Des Moines Register, is the most respected political analyst in Iowa. Tucked into his analysis of the new Register poll, which shows Barack Obama breaking out to a legitimate lead, is a little nugget that succinctly explains why Iowa should not matter.

A lot of Democratic caucus-goers aren’t all that Democratic. Some 40 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers say they are independents, and another 5 percent say they are Republicans. (Technically, they’ll all have to re-register as Democrats to participate, but that can be done at the caucus site.) Put another way, 54 percent of the Democratic caucus-goers say they’re Democrats. In 2004, it was 80 percent.

In other words, the caucus that could launch or break campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination will be largely determined by people who do not represent the Democratic Party. This should be a stop-the-presses headline, and it should be the number one point emphasized by all who truly care about the Democratic Party. Iowa is officially a farce!