While tonight should be entertaining, the main event is, of course, Saturday night, when they start to release caucus results. Right now, plenty of people are hyperventilating over the thought of Bernie Sanders leading the national polls, but I’m not one of them. Mainly because I’m remembering a little number I think that a lot of people have forgotten.
It was just mentioned on MSNBC that anyone not named “Bernie” is hoping for an upset on Saturday night. This is undoubtedly true. And for all of its cumbersome nature and jovial madness, nothing is more conducive to an upset than a caucus. That’s because a primary is a “one and done,” you walk in, vote, and go home. But a caucus is like one of those “second chance” online March Madness games, where you get to create a new bracket once yours is busted. If your first choicer isn’t “viable,” then you get to pick another candidate. And that’s a problem for Bernie.
Look, everybody agrees that the Iowa caucuses were a total nightmare. But one thing I’ll say for the Iowa caucuses, once they got their shit together, and finally started releasing numbers, they gave out everything but the Iowa Democratic Chair’s inseam size. To cover for the fact that Mayor Pete got more delegates out of Iowa than he did, Bernie ceaselessly bragged about winning the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses. Like quite a few things Bernie, that’s both true and a lie at the same time.
After the first, “raw” round of voting in the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders was comfortably ahead of the field. But after the realignment, when caucus goers whose candidates were not found “viable” moved to other candidates, the story changed significantly. While Sanders still led the popular vote, Pete Buttigieg had cut his popular vote lead by more than half, allowing him tio win the lions share of delegates. And as Trump proved in 2016, it’s all about the delegates, even in the electoral college.
It turned out in Iowa that Bernie Sanders was a one trick pony, either you’re all in, or you’re not. I remember Steve Kornacki at MSNBC reporting, in precinct after precinct where Elizabeth Warren was found to not be viable, her supporters were streaming over to Mayor Pete or Amy Klobuchar, even though Sanders would have been a more natural ideological second choice.
And now we have another caucus on Saturday night, and this one has a twist. For the first time, Nevada offered “early voting” for the caucus, and it was insanely easy. You walked in, got a ballot, marked 1,2 and 3 next to your candidates of choice, and walked out again. Those votes will be tallied and realigned, precinct by precinct over the next couple of days, and the results will be ready to announce after the caucuses close on Saturday night. I don’t know if Nevada is going to go into the kind of tally detail that Iowa did, but if they do, I’m going to be watching that realignment vote tally like a hawk.
This is a huge problem for Sanders, and not just in caucus states, but in the primaries in general. Because if the Iowa Example is true, then Bernie has no room to grow! And while the broad base of the Democratic party may support Sanders if he is the eventual nominee, the “Iowa example” indicates that it may be the only time that the majority of the Democratic party would support him.
Here’s an example. Let’s just say that after Super Tuesday Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren bow out of the race. As the other far left progressive candidate, Sanders would expect to enjoy a boost from Warren supporters flocking to him, allowing him to expand his delegate lead in future contests. But if the “Iowa Example,” followed possibly by the Nevada Example hold true, then those Warren voters are far more likely to join Klobuchar voters in migrating to Buttigieg or Biden, allowing one or the other to catch, and possibly surpass Sanders in polling, and start to eat into his delegate lead.
So there are miles to go before we sleep, and anything can happen. I’m just really hoping that Nevada provides the realignment vote totals as a separate category on Saturday night, since that could provide corroborative proof of my “Iowa Example.” And if my theory holds, then it could show that Sanders support ceiling is far below what he needs to capture the nomination on the first ballot in Milwaukee. And if he doesn’t do that, then he’s in the hurt locker. Don’t touch that dial.
To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen