Re-Handicap the Race after Iowa

Well, the Iowa Caucus results are coming in, and it looks like John Kerry and John Edwards are the big winners. Dean placed a distant 3rd, and Gephardt was almost shut out.

First of all, I think this was very good for the Democrats. They picked the two guys who actually have a chance of beating Bush. Very smart.

So… Given the results, where do you all think the candidates stand now?

I’ll go out on a limb and say right now that the nomination is John Kerry’s for the taking. He had already moved ahead of Clark in New Hampshire, despite the fact that Clark is already campaigning there in force. After tonight’s win, I think Kerry is going to pick up steam.

Edwards is in good position to continue his run. He’s now a heavyweight, whereas until a couple of weeks ago he was almost a footnote. I still don’t think he’ll win, but he’s in a good position.

Gephardt is done like dinner. I think we’ll be hearing a withdrawal speech from the campaign in the next couple of days.

I think Dean is in big, big trouble. He’s been falling steadily in the polls, the media has turned against him, and today he lost big. Coming in 3rd wouldn’t have been a big deal if he was within a few points of the leader, but getting only 18%? Bad news. It’s still very early, and he could turn it around, but it doesn’t look good.

My guess for best chance to take the nomination, in order:

Dean/Edwards tie

The rest don’t matter.

Clark’s decision not to run in Iowa now looks like a very bad move. He’s stuck in third place behind two moderates with serious momentum behind them. He will now have to place all of his eggs in the basket labeled “New Hampshire” and hope he comes out on top there. Otherwise, he’s toast.

You can’t give enough credit to Kerry on this one. From frontrunner to afterthought to frontrunner once again. Now if they’d just pull that metal rod out of his back, maybe you’d have a guy who could squash Bush like a cockroach. [No offense intended if he actually has a metal rod in his back from Vietnam. I really do like the guy, but he’s a tough package to sell to Joe and Jane Dumbass.]

Edwards benefitted hugely from the Des Moines Register endorsement a week or two back. He is, by all accounts, a very engaging and compelling campaigner when people actually get to see him. He’s still got a road to hoe, but he can win it if he’s able to capitalize on Kerry’s remarkable resemblance to Al Gore.

Go back to St. Louis, Dick Gephardt. Your career is finished.

Go away, Howard Dean. The adults are in charge now.

I don’t know what to think now. I was for Dean, and thought Kerry was just so unappealing. Maybe I had Kerry tuned-out for cosmetic reasons. This will cause me to reexamine my (mis?)understanding of Kerry’s position and apparent electability.

I’m gonna go with a Kerry-Edwards or visa versa ticket. It mostly depends on how Kerry plays in the South. Clark’s not dead in the water, but with the surge of momentum those two will get from rising so far in the polls he’s in trouble.

The entrance poll results are interesting. Looks like both Dean and Gephardt went in with slightly higher numbers than they emerged with, and Kerry and Dean went in with slightly less than they actually received. That’s likely due to the Iowa caucus system (in which I proudly participated last time around), which kills off anyone with less than 15% of the vote in a precinct, then gives the voters whose candidates were eliminated a chance to throw their support elsewhere.

Kerry’s support is also pretty interesting. While you see significant variations among different groups supporting different candidates, Kerry drew relatively steadily among all the groups. There was a bit of a gender gap–men were somewhat more likely to support Kerry (a trend reversed for Edwards. But overall, very consistent support. I have no idea what that means, but I found it interesting.

The Iowa caucus doesn’t really mean that much. Don’t forget that neither of the last two GOP nominees won the Iowa caucus.

It’s a boost for Kerry’s momentum but don’t look for it to translate for Edwards. New Hampshire is still very much in play and Dean still has a lot of money and support. Clark is a dark horse in New Hampshire as well. I think whoever wins New Hampshire will probably win the nom but I don’t really care who it is. Kerry’s just fine with me. It would be nice to see the Deserter in Chief have to face a war hero in the debates.

Doesn’t surprise me too much as I called a Kerry win in JC’s thread last week…:smiley: In a sense, though, this just gets him back to where he was in the early days of the campaign. And, echoing minty’s comments, Kerry make Gore look like Mr. Personality.

This is a huge blow for Dean and the press will probably dump their former darling like yesterday’s fish dinner. Edwards scores big, but I think he has a big task ahead of him to demonstrate that he’s got the political weight of someone like Kerry. He seems much more like VP material, although I can’t tell if he’d be willing to take the 2nd spot. If the team loses, he’ll have to go up against Hillary in ’08 in addition to whoever was at the head of the ticket. If the team wins, he’ll likely have to bide his time until ’12. He’s young enough (and looks even younger) so maybe that latter scenario is not so much a problem with him. And the Kucinich quasi-endorsement in Iowa (if there is any substance to it) pushes him further out to the loony fringe. Maybe that was a one-shot deal to boost him in Iowa.

Clark just seems like such a wildcard to me. I can’t see how he’ll play out.

But it’s still so early! DtC is correct in saying Iowa isn’t all that important. Kerry needs to show that he can run in the south. If he can, I think he could give Bush a good run for his money (both figuratively and literally).

I think the general election will hinge on something that hasn’t happened yet. Either a terror attack, a significant development in Iraq (either good or bad) or maybe even the capture of ObL. The economy seems to be perking up well, and should be a net plus for Bush.

True dat. Iowa’s record at picking the eventual nominee is spotty at best. (You’re wrong about GOP nominees, though; Iowa picked George W. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996, though both wins were narrower than expected).

Especially note 1988, when the finishes were as follows:


  1. Bob Dole
  2. Pat Robertson (!)
  3. George H.W. Bush


  1. Dick Gephardt
  2. Paul Simon
  3. Michael Dukakis

Good Lord. Dean is history after that speech he just made. He looked like a drunken football fan trying to rouse his barmates while his team goes into the fourth quarter down by four touchdowns.

That was embarrasingly bad.

I don’t think it was a bad move at all. Clark didn’t have a chance in Iowa, because the caucuses are all about organization, people on the street, and the core of the party. Clark is an outsider, and he doesn’t have the kind of organization that could have worked for him in Iowa. He saw a major defeat if he had run in Iowa, so he decided to go for the long bomb and focus everything on New Hampshire. I think that was a smart move. Unfortunately for Clark, the results of this caucus were not good for him. He really needed Kerry to get creamed by Dean, so that he could have stepped in as the last adult standing and provided a stark choice. Now he’s got to go against a front runner with serious credentials, and it’s going to be tough for him.

The problem Dean has now is that his whole movement was based on momentum, excitement, grassroots agitation, etc. All that has come to a screeching halt. He’s said one too many stupid things, and annoyed too many people. And, he’s got nowhere to go if he misses the nomination - he’s not liked well enough to make it onto the ticket as VP, and there’s no strategic reason to pick him anyway.

Edwards is in great shape. Well liked by all, he’s made it this far without having to sling mud and damage his campaign. He could still win, but more likely is that he’ll put in a solid 3rd place showing in New Hampshire and position himself for a shot at the VP position.

Personally, of the field I’d like to see a Clark/Edwards ticket.

Good one, John Mace.
I agree with those who say Clark has a tough road now. The soldier slot is taken by Kerry now, and that doesn’t leave him with much of a niche.
The real winner IMO was Edwards. I listened to him for the first time tonight and was impressed; the contrast with the amateurism of Dean was striking. I think, given that he’s from the South and therefore can challenge Bush in that region means that he’s guaranteed VP and is a very serious candidate for the Presidential nomination. Kerry is probably figuring that very soon it’ll be him vs Edwards.
Bush is a real big loser out of this. It’s obvious the Dems care less about ideological purity and far more about beating him. It’s going to be a close race, right up until October, when OBL is captured. Wotta surprise that’ll be.

As a guy who actually participated in the Iowa process, Diogenes, let me suggest that Iowa may not be as pointless as you think. Iowa gives people a chance to actually interact with the candidate on an eyeball to eyeball level. I suspect that more than 75% of the people attending the caucuses tonight had at one point or another been within 10 or 15 feet of the candidate if they had not actually spoken to him and shaken his hand. It is a wonderful device for sorting the sheep from the goats. Like the wolves prowling the edges of the great buffalo herds, we Iowans pull down the old, sick and lame. As decent a man as he might be, we have done in Congressman Gephardt and I suspect Congressman Kucinich is not far behind.

Save maybe New Hampshire there is no place that puts as much emphasis on a candidates ability to deal with people, answer their questions, avoid arrogance and self importance as does Iowa. We can pick out phonies and losers and hand them their heads. Regrettably the rest of the country is not always so perceptive.

When I saw Dean’s speech he made me think of Jesse Ventura, or any other loud-mouthed “wrastler”. Gephardt, on the other hand made a very good speech, and knows when to fold his cards, unlike others who didn’t even receive as many votes as he did (Kucinich and Sharpton, for instance). I’m inclined to think that Gore should have held off on endorsing anybody. And what’s the deal on Kucinich telling his people to go to Edwards if they didn’t have the numbers? Are they that much alike? :confused:

Yes, but that’s because he didn’t run in Iowa.

Pretty much my point exactly. If Dean had come out on top in Iowa, Clark was positioned to be the savior of the Democrats who put sending Bush “home” to Waco ahead of masturba . . . er, I mean, principle. Not a bad gamble, but a losing bet nonetheless. South Carolina cannot save Clark now unless he wins NH big, and I honestly can’t see that happening.

Edwards better hope not.:slight_smile:

Had to be a last minute pragmatic political ploy by two people who really only have in commone the fact they’re both underdogs.

Gephardt’s presidential aspirations are done. The guy looks like a rust belt, and can’t even win in the rust belt anymore. (Does Iowa qualify as rust belt?)

Lieberman just got the Manchester Union Leader’s endorsement. Probably not surprising considering the conservative bent of that newspaper. Dean is clearly not done fighting yet, as per his speech. 3 New Englanders going into NH should be interesting.

Sorry, Spavined, I didn’t mean to sound like I was disparaging the caucus, I just meant that it hasn’t been a reliable predictor of the evntual nominee.

Dewey, thanks for the correction. i thought that McCain had won in 2000 but maybe I was thinking of New Hampshire.

Pat Robertson…My God, I remember that. It still merits a :eek:

We put “ideological purity” aside in '92 to beat his daddy and we can do it again. Many Republicans imagine that all Democrats think alike. Seventy years ago Will Rogers said, “I don’t belong to an organized part. I’m a Democrat,” and it’s still true.

Imagine Kerry vs Bush:

A senior Senator who is a genuine war veteran but lacking in the personality dept vs an incumbent, alleged draft-dodging former governor of a southern state-- avery likeable guy, but who generates intense hatred in the other party.

Hmmm. Where have we seen this before? :slight_smile:

That’s not a fair comparison. Bob Dole had plenty in the personality department. He just wasn’t allowed to show it.

Plus, Clinton was God.

Just want to throw in that Dole was on one of the panels on one of the news stations - can’t remember which - and even though he ran in Iowa twice and won once, he too made the mistake of betting Dean would win. So this result surprised even a guy who’s actually successfully navigated the caucuses.