February 4, 2020

NO MO (profanity alert):

Iowa Might Have Screwed Up The Whole Nomination Process (Nate Silver, 2/04/20, 538)

Everything was a little weird in Iowa this year, however. And there were already some signs that the Iowa bounce -- which essentially results from all the favorable media coverage that winning candidates get -- might be smaller than normal. Iowa was bracketed by an extremely busy news calendar: President Trump's impeachment trial both before and after the caucuses, the Super Bowl on Sunday, the State of the Union address on Tuesday. There was not the usual climactic uptick in media coverage around Iowa. From initial indications -- to the extent any information at all is reliable at this point -- Democratic turnout there wound up being fairly low.

But we weren't prepared for what actually happened, which is that -- as I'm writing this at 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday -- the Iowa Democratic Party literally hasn't released any results from its caucuses. I'm not going to predict what those numbers will eventually be, although early indications are that Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and perhaps Elizabeth Warren had good results. The point is that the lead story around the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses is now -- and will forever be -- the colossal [***}show around the failure to release results in a timely fashion.

Maybe there will eventually be a decent-sized Iowa bounce despite all of this. But there's a good chance that the candidates who did well in Iowa get screwed, and the candidates who did poorly there get a mulligan. To repeat: There's very little importance in a mathematical sense to who wins 41 delegates. Iowa is all about the media narrative it produces and all about momentum, and that momentum, whoever wins, is likely to have been blunted.

Posted by at February 4, 2020 3:52 PM