America has some very strange election traditions. Take the Iowa caucuses. Democrat Party folk turn up to a basketball court or a community hall somewhere in Iowa. Around the room are areas designated for the different candidates. Supporters will stand in the area of their chosen candidate in the ‘first alignment’. A headcount will take place. Candidates who fail to garner more than 15% of the room are deemed unviable and cut from the field, and his/her supporters are now lobbied to join another camp. Another headcount takes place in a ‘second alignment’ and the results are counted and tallied with the outcomes of other basketball courts to determine a winner. If the count is too close to call a coin flip decides the winner. In 2016 Hilary Clinton won 6 such coin flips in a row versus Bernie Sanders – the unluckiest man in America. The Iowa caucuses have historically been very strong predictors of who will win the Democratic ticket. It is a strange place to commence the election cycle, being a largely rural and white state, and not indicative of the wider country.
The 2020 Iowa caucuses were a complete debacle. A process that normally takes 4 hours to complete took more than 48 hours, leading to rumours of back-room rigging and manipulation. Apps went down, phone lines were jammed and many head-counters were unable to relay results on time. Nobody answered. Calls were placed in an endless queue. As the night wore on many candidates gave victory speeches without knowing if they had finished 1st or 9th. The Democratic party supports big government and bigger bureaucracy. These are notoriously slow-moving entities that routinely fail to meet targets. Were the Democrats demonstrating the flaws in the theoretical framework that underpins their agenda? How hard can it be to collate some numbers? Conspiracy theories about the ‘wrong’ candidates winning took hold.
It seems we might have been somewhat premature in writing off the chances of angry, 78 year old, recent heart attack victim Bernie Sanders. The man is irrepressible. Despite his age, race, health, and radical, utopian, socialist policies he will not be denied. He is almost universally loathed by his own party who consider him unelectable, but his supporters are so fervent, so committed, that the Bernie train rolls inexorably forward. His strong Iowa result will split the party further and may cause a safe, familiar name to enter the field, failed candidate John Kerry perhaps, or even disastrously compromised failed candidate Hilary Clinton. Anyone But Bernie will become the official Democratic Party position. The man is just too honest. He may be the cleanest politician in America, and the establishment, led by the Clinton Crime Family hates him for it.
Joe Biden had a disastrous evening and we are doubling down on our anti-Biden bets. The man should be banished from polite society, pensioned off to Florida where he can eat ice cream, work on his suntan, and annoy the neighbours with stories about his hilarious pal, not war criminal, Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama. The campaign trail is a dangerous place for a crooked, corrupt, charlatan who cannot be trusted around young children and in a fairer world, Biden would be subject to long stint in a privately run correctional facility, where he can privately ponder a long and profitable career of fraudulent dealings, kickbacks, and other blatant embezzlements.
The big winner of the night was Peter Buttigieg. He is emerging as the official establishment selection. It might be a mere coincidence that he part-owns a company called Shadow, which developed the app that was supposed to collate the caucuses numbers. One theory is that Bernie’s people had a paper trail that proved the digital numbers wrong, hence the lengthy and mysterious delays. Whatever the case, Buttigieg is now a real force. He has raised a ton of cash that will be deployed in the coming races.
The Iowa results bode very poorly for a number of the losers. Elizabeth Warren will be fighting uphill from here.
Andrew Yang was expecting a slow start, given his lower profile, but he’ll be hoping to develop some momentum heading off to New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Amy Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard are almost done, left for dead at the starting blocks. Michael Bloomberg is hiding out in the long grass, hoping to spring a late ambush after the other candidates have thrashed around and drawn sufficient blood. Cash will not be a problem, as seen by his Super Bowl advertisement splash.
Interesting times await. Can Bernie keep on rolling, or will the establishment find a way to derail his unlikely run for greatness? Stay tuned.