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Wednesday, February 5, 2020


It is a fact often commented upon that no one ever gets any sympathy for having a cold, even though a bad cold can make you feel worse than many more serious ailments.  I think I am starting to get better after several days of a bad cold [my first in many, many years]. The misery of the cold was made worse by the bizarre aftermath of the Iowa caucuses.  I felt a little spacey anyway from the cold, and the absurdities of the app screw-up made me wonder whether I was hallucinating.

Now that 71% of the results have been reported – up from 62% yesterday – I think we can conclude that Biden is toast.  Mayor Pete is having his moment, but with 0% support in the Black community, he is not going anywhere.  All of which has led Bloomberg to double his ad buys, which is a windfall for local TV stations, to be sure.  The Democratic Party establishment is freaking out over Bernie, John Kerry is overheard by a sharp-eared reporter floating the idea of a run for the nomination, Warren lives to fight another day, Klobuchar is going nowhere, and Yang, Steyer, et al. are footnotes.  Do I have that right or are my cough drops getting to me?


David Palmeter said...

Mayor Pete isn't the only Democrat with little or no black support. Bernie, unfortunately, is another. Biden has a great lead in black support. Unluckily for him, and luckily for the others, the first two tests are in overwhelmingly white states, about as unrepresentative of the country and especially of the Democratic party, as you can get.

s. wallerstein said...

I wouldn't rule Buttigieg out yet. If he proves to be the anointed one who can save humanity from the Bernie menace, a lot of money is going to go into making him look palatable to the Black community and to all other possible communities. While you can't fool all of the people all of the time, you sure can fool a lot of people most of the time.

David said...

Biden will likely win in South Carolina. Polls have him slightly ahead of Sanders in Nevada, second in New Hampshire, second in California, first in Texas, first in Florida, first in Ohio, first in Pennsylvania, first in Michigan, and first in Virginia. The one recent poll in New York has him ahead. I wouldn't count Biden out just yet.

Buttigieg is a contender for second place in New Hampshire, but after that he's in single digits.

Warren will need a break to get out of third place in places like California and Texas.

I can well imagine the delegate count split largely between Sanders and Biden, with Warren a distant third.

Jordan said...

Yeah, I'm with David -- Biden is far from toast. Certainly it's encouraging to see him get 4th, but he was never going to do great in Iowa.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

The Iowa caucus left us with headlines like "Buttigieg Edging Out Sanders" when Sanders won the initial vote by 3 % and the final vote by 1%. Despite that, Buttigieg gets the win in "state delegate equivalents." (with 71% or votes counted) Seems rather undemocratic. Biden has been spared the headline of "Biden Is Toast" thanks to the incompetence of the Iowa democratic party. Bloomberg is the threat to Biden's viability. How big a threat will know after super tuesday.

The way for Sanders to shake up the race is to broker a deal with Warren to create and Sanders/Warren ticket before super tuesday. Biden and Bittigieg together had 38% of the final vote. Sanders and Warren had 46%.

Jerry Fresia said...

I think you've got it right. It's the battle between the establishment and Bernie/Bernie base.

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we learn that the Iowa reporting snafu was a deliberate strategy to steal Bernie's momentum. After all, he has the same delegate count as Mayor Pete and leads in all the other categories, yet the media presents Mayor Pete as winner thus far.

Matt said...

Kerry is not considering running. Thinking he is is right up there with thinking that the DNC is part of the conspiracy with the Masons, the Stone Cutters, the Reverse Vampires and the other people who "really" control the world to keep Sanders out. It's nuts, and shouldn't be given any air. It keeps people from doing things - either political or personal - that might make their or others lives better. I hope people will get beyond such nonsense.

s. wallerstein said...


I recall that you lived in Russia for some time. If in the next Russian election a challenger to Putin with evident popularity were to appear and if the election results were to be mysteriously delayed because of a supposed problem with an app, wouldn't we suspect foul play?

All my life experience has shown that it can and does happen here. I believe that we have good reason to suspect that the establishment does not want to see Sanders elected president and that it will do what it can get away with to prevent him from reaching the White House. Things can and probably will get dirty.

Matt said...

W. Wallerstien - well, if there were paper ballots, and lots of people present in the case, and then the paper ballots were all carefully counted, and people could see them, and the results were interesting but not wild, we'd be pretty stupid if we thought it indicated some sort of mystery or foul play. But that's exactly what happened here. The app wasn't for recording votes, but for communicating them and adding them up after That. It got messed up. They went to the paper ballots, that no one had done anything with. This is, really, not a mystery. (Interestingly, when Romney won the nomination, it too _longer_ for the Republican results in Iowa to be finalized than it took here, and no one thought that was a conspiracy!) There is, literally, nothing to see here, except some garden-variety technological failure. (I've seen stolen elections in Russia, as you suggest, and they didn't look anything like this, for what it's worth.) Turning this into a conspiracy theory is doing Trump's work. I hope people will grow up.

Anonymous said...

Lot of misinformation in this thread.

Biden is tanking and Sanders' support in almost every demo, including black voters, is rising. 538's current odds for Sanders is 49% to Biden's 18%: 538 currently has him as the likely winner in *all 50 states.*

As for the suggestion that there's nothing to see here, "the results were not wild," famously radical lefties the NYT called it "riddled with errors and inconsistencies" and if you go on twitter you'll find comparisons posted by angry precinct captains of the many egregious and improbably convenient examples.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

There is a new article in Politico Magazine on Rachel Bitecofer's analysis, which is right on the mark. As to whether Biden is toast or not, I think it is looking that way. His weakness is why Bloomberg is in the race, and why Buttigieg beat him in Iowa. Candidates can, of course, recover but he has a history of bad campaigns.

Anonymous' post appeared as I was writing this and I agree with it.

David said...

If the 538 forecast model has Sanders the likely winner in all 50 states, then maybe there is something wrong with the 538 forecast model.

Meanwhile, 538's own national polling average has Biden ahead of Sanders by about three points. In South Carolina, their polling average has Biden ahead of Sanders by 17 points. In Nevada, Biden and Sanders are about even. As of today, Biden is second in California, first in Texas, about even in Maine, about even with Warren in Massachusetts, first in North Carolina, and first in Virginia. When he's crispy, I'll call him toast. Until then, he's just warm bread.

Jerry Brown said...

If the Democratic party gave a damn as to what I think they would have made sure the votes were counted accurately and honestly. And competently. 34 years as a Democrat and I have zero loyalty left for what I thought was my party. This has been pathetic.

Jerry Fresia said...

yup, no snafu....lots of intentionality

s. wallerstein said...

Jerry Fresia,

Thanks. The article you link to dots all the "i's" in this ugly situation.

Anonymous said...

As for the disinformation about demographics from the debunked Bernie Bro myth:

Iowa Caucus Demographics (NYT)

Nonwhite women
45% - Bernie
17% - Pete
12% - Warren
11% - Biden

All Nonwhite
39% - Bernie
17% - Biden
12% - Pete
11% - Warren

Women 18-44
43% - Bernie
24% - Warren
19% - Pete
5% - Biden

All 18-44
43% - Bernie
20% - Warren
19% - Pete
5% - Biden

David said...

Why do so many young people gravitate toward Bernie Sanders' campaign? One often hears that young people are a base of support for Sanders, but the question as to why that is seems to be largely neglected.

Is it really about Democratic Socialism? Or is it that many young people are fearful about a future of economic insecurity and climate change, and Bernie Sanders seems to be the candidate most willing to tell them the truth: they are living in a very messed-up world, and they are going to have to fight to make a decent future for themselves?

I don't really know what attracts the young to Bernie. I'm just wondering.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Younger folks face daunting economic circumstances and know that the neo-liberalism of the democrats of the past 30 years is the reason they face these circumstances. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Sanders represents someone who stands for a green new deal, rather than denial or half measures. Millennials will live with the consequences. They have seen the consequences of of disinvestment in education, and the environment, and the results of the deregulation of banking. They know wages have been stagnant for 40 years, and we live in the reincarnation of the Gilded Age. Also, they have been taught by people who have upended the orthodoxy of their disciplines and have brought critical thinking to the classroom. Bernie is about the only one who is not the same old same old. It is both Democratic Socialism (or the revival of the FDR wing of the party) and the future they see they will need to fight for. I think you got it right.

s. wallerstein said...

I'm not young nor do I even live in the U.S. and while I'm sure that economic circumstances play a role in the support of the young for Bernie, the young, as I recall, value authenticity and Bernie is a model of authenticity, at least compared to Biden, Mayor Pete, Bloomberg and Warren. Bernie hasn't sold out, he's still true to his youthful ideals and that, I believe, connects him to the young, who haven't sold out yet either, perhaps because they haven't had the chance so far. No one could be phonier than Biden: that would have turned me off at age 20 and in fact, it still turns me off today.

Anonymous said...

Pont of emphasis about those Iowa demographics: the first two categories are for *all* nonwhite voters, not a particular age group.

Anonymous said...

Update on Iowa from an NYT reporter on Twitter. Iowa democratic chair's lawyer says it's illegal to correct math errors:

"The incorrect math on the Caucus Math Worksheets must not be changed to ensure the integrity of the process...."

"The IDP's role is to facilitate the caucus and tabulate the results. Any judgement of math miscalculations would insert personal opinion into the process..."