Predicting the future isn’t something I make a habit of. It is a perilous activity, always involving a strong chance of being wrong and looking the fool. Yet sometimes, here and there, conditions unfold around us in a way that gives one enough confidence to hazard a prediction. I believe that Bernie Sanders will win Iowa today.
First, consider that Bernie is at the top of the polls. Polls aren’t always reliable predictors, and he’s neck-and-neck with an opponent in some of them, but it’s a good sign.
Second, Bernie raised the most money in Q4 of 2019 by far, a solid $10 million more than the second-place candidate, Pete Buttigieg. He has more individual donations at this stage than any candidate in American history, has raised the most overall in this campaign, and is among the top spenders in Iowa. (These analyses exclude billionaire self-funders Bloomberg and Steyer, who have little real support.) As with a rise in the polls, he has momentum like no one else.
Third, Bernie is the only candidate in this race who was campaigning in Iowa in 2016, which means more voter touches and repeat voter touches. This is Round 2 for him, an advantage — everyone else is in Round 1.
Next, don’t forget, Iowa in 2016 was nearly a tie between Bernie and Hillary Clinton. It was the closest result in the state’s caucus history; Hillary won just 0.3% more delegate equivalents. It’s probably safe to say Bernie is more well-known today, four years later — if he could tie then, he can win now.
Fifth, in Iowa in 2016, there were essentially two voting blocs: the Hillary Bloc and the Bernie Bloc. (There was a third but insignificant candidate.) These are the people who actually show up to caucus — what will they do now? I look at the Bernie Bloc as probably remaining mostly intact. He may lose some voters to Warren or others, as this field has more progressive options than last time, but I think his supporters’ fanatical passion and other voters’ interest in the most progressive candidate will mostly keep the Bloc together. The Hillary Bloc, of course, will be split between the many other candidates — leaving Bernie the victor. (Even if there is much higher turnout than in 2016, I expect the multitude of candidates to aid Bernie — and many of the new voters will go to him, especially if they’re young. An historic youth turnout is expected, and they mostly back Sanders.)
This last one is simply anecdotal. All candidates have devoted campaigners helping them. But I must say it. The best activists I know are on the case. They’ve put their Kansas City lives on hold and are in Iowa right now. The Kansas City Left has Bernie’s back, and I believe in them.
To victory, friends.