Posted: 02/02/16 19:58
by Dave Mindeman
Well Iowa is done. On to New Hampshire.
So what have we learned in the nearly all-white, ethanol producing, corn and land locked state of Iowa? Well, quite a bit.
Let's look at the Democrats. And let's not get into any Twitter or Facebook insults for now. There is plenty of that going on and I will leave that to others to sort out. But I want to talk about this as objectively as I can.
The most striking thing about Bernie's impressive showing is that young people backed up their enthusiasm by showing up at the caucus. The numbers were not as high as Obama's 2008 showing, but they were still impressive and the second highest ever. Bernie had over 80% support for caucus goers under 29. That is incredible. Obviously, his message has resonated deeply with the new generation.
The second thing is that Bernie's organization was better than expected as well. The caucus in Iowa can be a chaotic situation and you need plenty of field workers and volunteers to keep things in order for your side. He had that.
It is impressive that his campaign was able to come back from a huge initial deficit a year ago and pull off an essential tie.
But, in the end, Hillary still won. She has a very loyal base of support. Bernie's campaign said they needed a turnout of at least 170,000 to win in Iowa...they got it and more. Yet, Hillary is still standing - and won depending on your current interpretation. But, regardless, she withstood an enormous challenge and survived. The narrative going forward would be much more negative if Bernie had convincingly won Iowa. But that didn't happen and she has some capital to move forward.
Hillary can also claim an incredible organization. She has been building it for some time and it paid off big time. Without trained and experienced staff, we would not be talking about a close contest here - the Bernie campaign organization was good -the Hillary campaign was incredible.
So who can represent the Democrats best in November? A few months ago I would have had no problem recommending Hillary. She clearly has the background that meets the criteria for a President. She can tap into gender history as the first female President our country has ever had. And she has experience dealing with the GOP attack machine like no one else.
But Bernie has been hammering that Progressive message wherever anyone will listen and it is resonating. In year's past, a liberal message like his would have never gotten off the ground, but linking it to the income inequality that the majority of Americans feel every day, makes it more viable than ever. I have never heard a candidate speak to our values with such force and passion - he has our attention. And for the first time, maybe, just maybe the passion of youth can translate into real votes.
So how do we decide?
Well, it depends on how you like to play poker.
Are you a cautious player who picks up wins incrementally. Someone who bides his time and looks for tells from the other players and look for patterns. If you like that style, then you are probably a Hillary supporter.
She is an experienced campaigner. An experienced foreign policy expert. An experienced legislator who has a unique understanding of what can or cannot be accomplished. She will be patient in moving an agenda and will take what she can whenever she can.
That is her strength to many..... and her weakness to some.
Maybe you are the bold poker player. The person who seizes the opportunity when you can get it and go all in at the first opportunity. You move fast and bold and you win. You take chances even when it is possible for you to get "Berned". You are probably a Bernie supporter.
When Bernie talks about revolution, he is not just speaking a tag line. He needs a complete makeover of government in order to accomplish the things he wants to do. In order for Sanders to be successful, he needs to create an incredible mandate; to move the country to the left in ways it has never done before. He needs those young people to overwhelm the voting booth and not just support him, but every Democrat up and down the ballot. He needs a Democratic Senate and more importantly he needs to create a sweep into the House that can turn that over as well. That is a tall order...a very tall order. But a "revolution" could do that.
Now if you are an "all in" poker player and go with Bernie, then you are asking him to take on every center of power in the government. The lobbyists will be against him, the billionaires will reign cash down against him, the Republican Party will label him with fearmongering commercials, and the people who hate Obama will hate Bernie even more.
You know, I dismissed Bernie and the "all in" approach up to this point. But it would be amazing if it could actually work. Single payer, Wall Street taxes, affordable college, really fixing immigration....these are incredible things and if the revolution happens, they can ALL get done.
Hillary is the safer poker bet. She will build on what Obama has done. She can play the political game that the Republicans are so good at - and if they hold the House (which is still very likely), she can move things as far as they can be moved. She has a wealth of political experts to draw on, who understand her and what she wants to accomplish. She will also be better able to withstand the slings and arrows of a brutal campaign - because she already has.
So, are you impatient and All In....or are you willing to be more patient and move forward with proven abilities?
Like I said, I thought the only way to go was with the Hillary approach. But as Bernie keeps exceeding expectations, that all in approach is oh, so tempting.....
We have some time to figure it out....let's play some poker.