• Evan L.

What the heck just happened in Iowa?

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The Failure of the Iowa Caucus

The Results Are In: Four days after the Iowa Caucus debacle (more on this later), the New York Times shows 99% of precincts reporting and the following delegate count:

Pete Buttigieg: 13

Bernie Sanders: 12

Elizabeth Warren: 8

Joe Biden: 6

Amy Klobuchar: 1

Every winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucus has gone on to become the party’s nominee since 2000. It is worth noting that Bernie Sanders actually had more total votes in the caucus, but due to the byzantine process, Buttigieg ended up with more delegates.

Not so Fast: The Associated Press said that it is unable to declare a winner of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses. There is evidence the party has not accurately tabulated some of its results. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez asked the Iowa Democratic Party to conduct a re-canvass.

Uh Oh: The wild uncertainty about the results reported by the Iowa Democratic Party, which includes technology problems with the mobile phone app from a company called Shadow used by the party to collect results from caucus sites, an overwhelming number of calls to the party’s backup phone system led to a subsequent delay of several days of reporting the results. In short, the entire process was a huge disaster.

What’s Next: With Democratic presidential candidates shifting gears to the upcoming New Hampshire primary election, the ramifications of delayed results from the Iowa caucuses may not become fully apparent until well beyond this week. Leading candidates did not benefit from the traditional momentum boost, while underperforming candidates (Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren) may have had the silver lining of having a bad showing overlooked.

What About Bloomberg?

The Democratic candidate who gained the most from the unmitigated catastrophe in Iowa may well be Mike Bloomberg.

The billionaire former New York mayor entered the race with a strategy of skipping the first four states, hoping the results were a discouraging muddle, and using a massive ad blitz to put himself in good position on Super Tuesday. This approach was, and remains, a real long shot. But the morning after the Iowa fiasco, Bloomberg announced he would double his spending on television ads. Bloomberg runs a campaign operation with machine-like efficiency and is a sharp contrast to the disgrace in Iowa. Per Morning Consult, he is currently polling in fourth place.

Another Debate Tonight. Seriously!

Again? C’mon!!! So let’s take stock of the week - we’ve seen the Iowa caucuses mess, the State of the Union, and impeachment, but we’re closing it out with the last Democratic debate ahead of the New Hampshire primary. Seven candidates will take the stage at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, at 8pm EST to make their cases to US voters for the eighth time.

What to Watch For (if you don’t have any better plans Friday night):

Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang will take the stage as Michael Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet, & Deval Patrick failed to qualify.

In the seven previous Democratic debates, Buttigieg has been by turns the relative unknown, the surprising upstart and the polling leader - tonight he’ll show up as the winner. Since arriving in New Hampshire this week, Biden has attacked his experience and Steyer has attacked him in a TV ad. Klobuchar remains aggrieved about his rise and aides to Sanders regularly mock his high-dollar fund-raising schedule. Yet here we are, and he will definitely have the proverbial target on his back.

Joe Biden needs to arrest his slide with moderate voters who like Buttigieg and Bloomberg, and with blue-collar voters to whom Sanders appeals — but how pointed will he be on the debate stage? He has been alternately muddled and lost in previous debates.

New Hampshire is potentially Klobuchar’s last stand; after a distant fourth-place finish in Iowa, the campaign will only get tougher. It moves to Nevada and South Carolina, where the voters are much more racially diverse than in Iowa or New Hampshire. Klobuchar has yet to prove she can appeal to minority voters.

New Hampshire Primary

The First True Primary: New Hampshire voters go to the polls on Tuesday, February 11th. Overall polling shows Sanders with a slight lead, though the latest Boston Globe/Suffolk poll shows Buttigieg within one point.

What’s at Stake: There are 24 delegates at stake in New Hampshire, a state that Bernie Sanders captured in 2016. New Hampshire is a relatively small state, and one with a population that is 93% Caucasian. It is wise to not read too much into a victory here, though if Biden finishes fourth or worse, it could augur poorly for Nevada and South Carolina, two states in which he needs to finish in the top two to maintain any momentum. Also, if Klobuchar does not show well in New Hampshire, her campaign may be on its last gasp.




January 31 (Iowa Caucus Monday and it's Still Anyone's Race)

January 24 (Celebrity Endorsement Scorecard; New York Times Double Endorsement)

January 17 (Booker Drops Out; Chappelle Backs Yang)

January 10 (Judge Judy's First Endorsement; Delegate Projection)

January 3(Happy New Year: Quick Recap on the Primary)

December 19 (Pelosi’s Gambit Might be Genius)

December 5(Kamala Out! Bernie Ahead in California)

November 27 (Let’s Talk Turkey)

November 20 (Reality Check)

November 8 (Bloomberg Enters the Race)

November 3 (One Year from Today: Road to White House)

October 25 (Who is still in the race and why?)

October 18 (AOC endorses Bernie, Debate IV Recap)

October 11 (Warren *almost* catches Biden; Hillary seeking Rematch?)

October 3 (Bernie’s Heart)

September 27 (Impeachment: Candidates In Their Own Words)

September 19 (Polls, Polls, Polls)

September 13 (Debate 3 Power Rankings)

September 10 (Campaign Swag/Giveaway)

September 5 (Iowa Five Months Out)

August 29 (Back to School/Millennials + Gen Z)

August 22 (Inslee Drops Out; Steyer Spends Big)

August 15 (Gun Control Issue)

August 8 (The Impeachment Issue)

August 1 (Debates, Round 2)

July 25 (The Social Media Issue)

July 18 (The Fundraising Issue)

July 11 (Steyer In, Swalwell Out)

July 4 (The Ancestry Issue)

June 27 (Debates: Night 1 Power Rankings, Night 2 Preview)

June 20 (The Debate Issue)

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