The Day We All Think About Iowa
Today is the day. For the last few months, all eyes in the political world have been focused on Iowa. Candidates in tour buses have visited every county, held town halls, rallies, and focus groups to get an edge in the first state of the 2020 election. Bernie Sanders is surging and is expected to do well in Iowa - and not just among fans of Michael Moore and Bon Iver. He’s polling at 22%, tied with Biden, four points ahead of Buttigieg, seven ahead of Warren, and double digits over the rest of the field.
Even many Democrats are worried by a socialist leading the field and rumors of a possible John Kerry run began circulating over the weekend. Whether or not the rumors are founded, the tension between Sanders, Warren, and Biden continue to highlight the unease in the Democratic party, specifically between the far left and the center left. As the New York Times reflected in their double endorsement, the Democrats face a fork in the road between the candidates they want to win and those they believe can beat Trump and capture moderate voters.
In The Trailer yesterday, Dave Weigel highlighted the latest campaign messages from the candidates:
Joe Biden: the best chance to beat Trump.
Bernie Sanders: the man of the people.
Pete Buttigieg: hope for the future.
Elizabeth Warren: the woman of the people.
Andrew Yang: barely a politician, and the best choice to beat Trump.
Amy Klobuchar: all she does is win.
Tom Steyer: on to Nevada and New Hampshire.
Iowa will not determine the race unless Biden wins in a landslide, but by the end of the day we will know a lot more about the next few months than we did yesterday. The Iowa caucuses are a unique event in American politics. Being the first version of a primary, they give an indication of what’s to come, but as a caucus, the result is less clear and more complicated than a primary vote. In 2016, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split the caucus vote 23 to 21, and that signaled the serious threat Sanders posed to Clinton’s candidacy. Things are even more nebulous this time around with even more candidates vying for delegates. This primary season will be a marathon, but the first leg of the race is taking shape.
Don’t forget, the President’s campaign team is also in Iowa. Donald Trump Jr., Lara Trump, and Brad Parscale will be in Iowa campaigning, gauging support, and working to pick up two spots in the House the Dems won in 2018. The Republican Caucus will be an early gauge on Trump support in the midwest.
Cole Feix is the founder and president of So We Speak. Follow him on Twitter, @cfeix7.