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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Iowa Implications

Th day after the Iowa Caucuses, there’s obviously a whole lot we don’t know about how the presidential nominating contests, much less the ultimate election, will proceed.
On the Democratic side, in the short term, we obviously don’t know the size of the “bump” Iowa will give Barack Obama going into New Hampshire just four days from now, though my guess is that it will catapult him into a clear lead. We don’t know exactly what Hillary Clinton’s campaign will do to mount a comeback in NH, though the time frame makes any negative tactic that requires voter reflection exceedingly difficult. We don’t know if the supposed populist fire set by Edwards in Iowa can strike sparks in NH, or if he will essentially disappear in the Obama-HRC crossfire. And will also don’t know if the fierce competition among Republicans in NH will deprive Obama of the kind of voter/media buzz and appeal among independents that he would need to replicate his Iowa win.
In the longer term, we also don’t know if this is going to be a two- or three-candidate race after NH, just as we don’t know whether Clinton’s national lead can survive losing in both IA and NH. We don’t know how seriously the media will take the Nevada Caucuses on January 19, or if the state could produce a saving win for Clinton or (less likely) Edwards. We do know that if Obama wins NH, he’s likely to be an overwhelming favorite in SC, where John Edwards’ campaign will probably die (ironically, in his native state) unless the dynamics fundamentally change. And most of all, we don’t know if Clinton is willing or able to pull a Giuliani if she can’t win before February 5, and has enough residual support and money to muddy the waters with a big delegate haul.
On the Republican side, things are even more muddled. A big Iowa Bounce would still probably leave Huckabee running behind McCain and Romney in NH, and he’ll have to get through a probable loss in MI before getting to favorable terrain in SC. But perhaps the biggest imponderable is whether the GOP/Conservative Establishment, panicked by Huckabee’s Iowa win, moves quickly towards former pariah McCain to kill off the Arkansan, or gives Romney another chance.
But here’s what we do know:
1) In terms of participation, the Iowa results were vastly more positive for Democrats than for Republicans. Check out Chris Bowers’ summary of combined Repubican and Democratic data from the Iowa entrance polls. Dems not only attracted about double the number of participants as Republicans in what had been a narrowly divided state. They attracted 75% of independents; 88% of self-identified “moderates”; and roughly three-fourths of voters under 45.
2) For all the talk about the Iowa winners, Obama and Huckabee, as “outsiders” or “upstarts,” they are polar opposites in terms of broader appeal. Obama won Democrats as well as independents, and liberals as well as moderates, and clearly helped produce a vast uptick in first-time Caucus participation in both categories. Huckabee won with disproportionate support from a narrow and controversial category of conservative GOP voters, conservative evangelicals. Even if elbows get sharp in the next couple of weeks, Democrats remain highly unified on most policy issues, and there’s nothing about Obama in particular (who attracts the most liberal voters while constantly reaching out to indies and even Republicans) that is likely to make him a divisive nominee. Republicans appear headed for a very divisive nominating contest that could produce a controversial nominee and resentment among his rivals.
3) As Democracy Corps and others have constantly reminded us, Democratic prospects in 2008 depend heavily on their ability to maintain their 2006 status as the party of change at a time when “wrong track” sentiment is extremely high. Iowa confirmed that 2008 is developing into another “change” election, made most obvious by the fact that the Republican candidate identified most with “change” in the past, John McCain, could well be the establishment candidate in the end. At the end of the George W. Bush era, Democrats will have a structural advantage in a “change” election, particularly if its candidate appears to personify change.
4) The issue landscape also continues to benefit Democrats. Much was made by pundits in recent weeks about declining public interest in Iraq, which was supposed to benefit Republicans by reducing the weight of that millstone around their necks. But aside from the fact that the Iraq War remains highly unpopular, with the two parties completely polarized on how to proceed in a way that favors Democrats, the emerging issues of the economy and health care probably favor Democrats nearly as much.
To sum it all up, the Iowa results provided a lot of good news for Democrats whether or not they support Barack Obama. At this admittedly early point, Democrats are united, change-oriented, highly attractive to independent and first-time voters, and favorably positioned on most key issues (with the arguable exception of immigration).
We’ll see how things shake out, but as a Democrat, I’m feelin’ pretty good at present.

One comment on “Iowa Implications

  1. George Vreeland Hill on

    The Republican Party is a sick joke, and the people of this country are fed up with them.
    From Nixon to Bush, and from Scooter to Larry “Toilet Stall” Craig, the Republicans have proven themselves to be a bunch of lying, corrupt, evil, perverted, over-spending crooks.
    When you look at all the money Bill Clinton left this country, it makes us all cry to know that Bush spent it all.
    When the money was gone, Bush went to China for help.
    Just think, we owe money to China!
    That is the Bush way.
    Cheney is no better.
    You can’t trust either of them.
    No one does.
    Why are we in Iraq?
    The war should be on terror, not in Iraq.
    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and yet Bush has spent all that money to fight “his” war.
    Yes his, because many Republicans have backed off from the war.
    By the way, the war in Iraq has cost the U.S. almost five hundred billion dollars.
    Forget Rudy.
    Rudy Giuliani is no hero.
    While he is often called the hero of 9/11, the truth is that Rudy was a terrible leader during his years as mayor of New York City.
    He made bad decisions and took a girlfriend while being married.
    In fact, he even wanted his lover to live in the same house with his wife.
    Most people would call this perverted.
    New Yorkers were so sick of his antics, that they wanted him out of office.
    Then came 9/11.
    The only reason people call Giuliani a hero today, is because he just happened to be NYC’s mayor during that bad time.
    Any mayor would be looked at as a hero if they showed their face under those circumstances.
    If there was no 9/11, Rudy would have become a joke.
    This is not the kind of leader we want in the White House. In closing, the New York Post reported in their paper on April 23, that Giuliani spent more than $48,000 dollars of campaign money on posh hotels while claiming to have spent the least of all the Republican candidates.
    Rudy is a good time leader, and does it with other people’s money.
    Forget Mitt.
    His ads look bad.
    He can’t seem to get his facts right, and will say things to make himself look good.
    Red flags go up around him.
    I spoke with his son Tagg at the New Hampshire debates back in June (2007), and while he seemed like a nice man, Tagg could not get his facts right either.
    The worst Republican as of late, though, is Larry Craig.
    He is a lying pervert who wanted gay sex with a strange man on a dirty toilet seat.
    He pled guilty, then said he was not guilty.
    Say what?
    He is another Republican moron.
    Did you hear about Washington State Republican Rep. Richard Curtis?
    He offered $1,000 to a young man for unprotected sex while dressed in women’s lingerie.
    This sort of thing just goes on and on with them.
    Remember Mark Foley?
    Here is a letter I wrote that was in many newspapers and Web sites:
    Once again, the Republicans have turned my stomach with shocking and repulsive behavior.
    Mark Foley, a Republican member (now ex-member) of Congress, has sent many e-mails with perverted sexual content to a sixteen year old boy.
    This is the same man who while in Congress, backed a bill that was meant to protect children from child predators.
    Foley himself, is a man who preyed on a child with lust.
    What is also incomprehensible, is the fact that some Republicans knew of Foley’s behavior, and yet, did not take a hard stand against this until it became public news. If I had a teenage son and/or daughter, I would not want them to go near any Republican leader for fear of either or both becoming a victim of a sick Republican pervert.
    George Vreeland Hill
    There were more than three hundred such letters in newspapers in 2007 alone.
    Many of them in New Hampshire.
    There are thousands on the Internet.
    No lie.
    This does not even include articles, ads, radio, TV and other areas where the public takes notice.
    In fact, one Republican in California wanted me stopped once, because I was hurting some Republicans in their elections.
    I just want to do my part in helping to get rid of every Republican scumbag.
    From phone scams to the Union Leader (NH) covering up for Republicans, the garbage never ends.
    But the Republican Party will end.
    Did you know that George W. Bush once made fun of the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction?
    He did, and in front of some shocked people during a black-tie event in 2004.
    He said…. (While looking under a piece of furniture) “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere.”
    Then, while pretending to look out of a window, Bush laughed as he said….. “Nope, no weapons over there.”
    While he was laughing, there were men and women fighting and dying in Iraq because of WMD.
    George W. Bush should be removed from office because of that alone.
    Face it, Bill Clinton lied about having sex, and was impeached because of it.
    George W. Bush however, did far worse, as he laughed at the very people who are fighting for the United States of America!
    That about sums it all up!
    (By the way, this Bush/WMD was part of an article and letter I wrote as well.)
    This leads us to John McCain.
    All he seems to do is attack other candidates.
    His Woodstock ad against Hillary Clinton was boring and without the facts.
    He tells of Hillary wanting to spend a million dollars on a museum while he (McCain) supports spending more on the war in Iraq.
    He wants you to believe that the Democrats are the big spenders, while it is McCain’s Republican Party that has spent all the money Bill Clinton left us to a point where Bush had to borrow money from China.
    Think about that again.
    We owe to China.
    That is the Republican way.
    Also, it must be noted that McCain even laughed at war.
    Remember when McCain changed the words of a Beach Boys song to Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran?
    McCain even laughed when he was done.
    He thought starting a war with Iran was a laughing matter.
    That is the real John McCain.
    He just can’t be trusted.
    He is another George Bush, and you know what we got with him.
    The Republican Party is a mess, and getting worse.
    People do not trust any of them, and we are all tired of their act.
    I am doing my best to make sure that no Republican wins an election.
    Thank you for your time.
    George Vreeland Hill


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