Main Takeaway From Iowa? Biden’s in Real Trouble.
He’ll be around for a while, but this defeat was so drastic I don’t know how his campaign will fully recover.
While the Iowa caucus was and continues to be an unmitigated, inexcusable disaster, perhaps one of the most clearcut takeaways from it all is that former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is in massive trouble.
Leading up to the caucus, the Biden camp was doing their best to sound semi-enthusiastic, or at least willing to settle for third place.
Now, with seventy four percent of the precincts finally reported, Biden is in a distant fourth, with just thirteen percent of the vote.
There is no way other way to spin it. His campaign could be in free fall from here on out. Granted, it wasn’t as though he was projected to win. He has been arguing for months that South Carolina is his firewall, and that’s where he thinks he’ll start to do better. But at a time when the vast majority of people are beginning to pay much closer attention to the electoral process, to place in fourth is a devastating blow for a candidate hoping to finance their campaign moving forward, and attract people who haven’t even thought about who they’re going to vote for yet.
I am in no way trying to suggest that Biden will be going anywhere just yet. He’ll indefinitely be in the race at least through Super Tuesday. But this is going to be an incredibly difficult loss to recover from. There is no doubt in my mind that Democratic donors have been calling each other, planning their next move. If New Hampshire goes equally as poorly followed by a loss in Nevada, and the delegate rich Super Tuesday does little to really boost his standing, they will probably ask him to consider stepping aside to make way for someone else. A win in South Carolina alone is not going to be enough to make up for what happened in Iowa and what is likely to happen elsewhere.
That being said, Biden’s high support among African American voters is significant, and the nostalgia that older voters feel when considering him is a powerful emotion that drives their support of his candidacy. But the question is after this devastating blow, will his supporters feel less motivated to come out and vote for him, or even begin looking elsewhere? Will they begin to view his candidacy as weak? Will they ask if he’s really a safe bet to go up against Donald Trump when he’s already struggling so much this early on? Let’s just say that I don’t think a candidate who places fourth in the first voting states is likely to generate the confidence or excitement needed to build a campaign in other areas of the country.
There’s no way around it, Biden is in a world of trouble.
The question is, what does this mean for the race going forward?
Given how he polls with minority communities, I don’t think Pete Buttigieg is likely to win over Mr. Biden’s African American support. I don’t think the Wall Street financed Mike Bloomberg known for “stop and frisk” is going to be a legitimate contender for core bases of the Democratic Party either. It will be fascinating to see what happens to the centrist wing of the party in this race moving forward, and only motivates me further to keep my eye on the prize.
Biden’s early downfall could be the biggest gift to Bernie Sanders we ever could have asked for in the midst of a primary that no one in the corporate elite or Washington cocktail circuit wants him to win. If we stay focused, and work even harder, Bernie Sanders might just be the Democratic nominee.