On Saturday, I made my biannual trek into Iowa to check out some campaign rallies. The plan was to go to Joe Biden at 1 pm, Elizabeth Warren at 3:30 pm and Bernie Sanders at 6pm. Well, the Biden rally ran late and we didn’t get out of there till after 3pm, so we had to skip the Warren venue. But we did make Bernie’s rally at 6.
But what about the Iowa caucus? (Tonight) What is going to happen?
My best guess is that Bernie will win narrowly. The margin will be important because that will lead the perception moving ahead. But even if he wins by a few points, it will probably be under a 30% plurality. That probably means there will be 3 or 4 tickets out of Iowa.
During Biden’s rally, Joe had a passionate take on what Trump is doing to the country. I think that is when Biden is most effective. His contrast with Trump is noticeable and real. Supporting Biden at this venue were both Delaware Senators Coons and Carper. (Coons left early after getting a phone call). But a closing argument came from John Kerry and it was powerful. He made the case for climate change action and fixing our relationships world wide.
(Note: there was a medical emergency in the crowd at one point as some older gentleman fainted – fortunately, Biden is always surrounded by firefighters and four of them picked up the guy, chair and all, and carried him out….he was fine.)
Now, Joe had his rally in a high school gymnasium. He had a full house but it was probably about 1,000 people.
Bernie had a concert hall and had at least 4,000. (It helped that they brought in a band that was popular – Vampire Weekend) But it was an impressive showing. It was all hands on deck – Michael Moore, Nina Turner, Cornell West, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Mark Pocan, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal….
Bernie closed the show (before the band took over) and ticked off all of the progressive ideas that has been part of his stump speech for a year. He added a few side bars about Trump’s pathological lying and his danger to the country. Classic Bernie.
My own personal take is, like I have been saying all year, I will support the eventual nominee no matter who. I get concerned because Bernie encourages his supporters to bad mouth the DNC (and Hillary) a little too much. The DNC makes a lot of mistakes (including changing the debate rules), but this is the Democratic party. Bernie’s DNC bashing emphasizes the point that he is not a Democrat – he only caucuses with them.
But I don’t think panicking over Bernie leading the ticket is necessary either. He has been authentic. He walks the walk on progressive issues. He can win with those issues, although the Republicans are going to have him born a communist before the campaign is over.
This internal panic is unnecessary and counter productive. Let Bernie make his case and if he gets the nomination, it will be proof that his message is resonating.
Biden and Bernie can both beat Trump. It won’t be easy but they have the credentials and the chops to do it.
Seeing them at their campaign rallies solidified that notion.
So let’s see what happens tonight.