Oh Iowa!

We try to peer through the chaos in Iowa to see who won, who lost and what it means for the future of this presidential race and for American democracy. Are we heading towards a Bernie vs Bloomberg showdown? What might happen at a brokered convention? And how much damage has been done to the Democratic party brand? Plus we review Trump's State of the Union address. Great theatre - but was it great politics? With Helen Thompson and Gary Gerstle.


There were no winners in Iowa. 

  • We still don’t know who actually won.
  • Pete didn’t do well enough to break out. Bernie did well, but not as well as many people thought he would. Warren had a mediocre showing. It was really bad for Biden. 
  • It was also a bad night for the Democratic Party itself. 


Who benefits from Biden’s collapse?

  • Can Mayor Pete hold the center? He would need to win New Hampshire and he probably won’t.
  • Bloomberg is going all in with an unusual strategy: gambling on a brokered convention and focusing on TV spending and mayoral endorsements. 
  • His organizational strategy may be clear, but what is his substantive strategy?


It looks like Sanders will win the fight for the left.

  • But can he translate this momentum into votes.
  • David thinks that the problem is that there still aren’t enough young people.
  • All the craziness has distracted from the fact that turnout in Iowa was much lower than expected.


The Democrats want to frame the election as order versus chaos, but that’s hard to do when the first thing you do is produce chaos.

  • Meanwhile, Trump delivered a fairly conventional State of the Union, the economic numbers are good, and his poll numbers are up.
  • Can Trump stay in order mode for long?


Mentioned in this Episode:


Further Learning: 


And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking





 

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