Less than a week away.
The largest and perhaps longest primary in history is reaching its climax next week, and as much as this political junkie loves primaries, I could not be happier. After more than a year, it’s time to move on and finally say goodbye to endless campaigning.
But Iowa holds more importance now than it ever has before, as a four-way race approaches the finish line. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders both have a real shot at winning it all, and Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren aren’t far off. We — and I cannot stress this enough — finally get to see the start of the end of this story.
But with all that pressure, who is actually going to win it?
For most of the race, I thought it would be Warren. She continued to rise through many months and had a plan for everything — including her campaign and how to run it. She had an organization unmatched by any other candidate and the intelligence to match it, and couldn’t have been more adored by national legacy media. Sure, there was the DNA test fiasco, but that didn’t undermine her campaign in any meaningful way.
Then the attention turned to healthcare, and her unpopular approach to the issue — as realistic as it is — drew fire. You know the rest of the story.
But all the while, while she was attacked for her healthcare plan that actually laid out exactly what it would be and how it would be paid for, Bernie Sanders went unscathed. He lashed out at those who questioned his healthcare idea (I wouldn’t call it a plan, as he’s refused to elaborate) and ran on little else besides his 2016 charisma, but his popularity grew all the same. A shot from the Warren campaign didn’t land, either.
And now, with less than a week to Iowa, Sanders is in prime location to win it.
He’s in a statistical tie with Joe Biden, but that means little. As this POLITICO article outlines, no one wants to attack Sanders because of what it means for his political base. The media, while cooling on their previous enthusiasm, still treats him as the new sensation compared to Biden, and the goodwill will carry him to a victory in Iowa.
According to FiveThirtyEight projections, Sanders has a 37 percent chance of winning Iowa — just millimeters ahead of Biden, who sits at 35 percent. But that ignores the enthusiasm of Sanders’ base and others’ fear of attacking him.
Let me make a distinction: I do not believe Sanders will win the nomination. I believe it will be Biden, as he holds the competitive edge in most states after New Hampshire and has many times successfully undermined the first two states’ ability to decide the nominee. With that being said, Sanders will likely win the Granite State, too, and after winning the first two states, the numbers may shift.
But with all else equal, it is clear that the momentum and media are in Sanders’ favor. With Iowa voting finally here, Sanders will take the cake.
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