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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Edwards Reallocation

I've received a couple questions about what I think about John Edwards' decision to de-prioritize Nevada in his campaign. Here is my response...

John Edwards, no stranger to being the first to do something in the Democratic field (see: sticking it to Fox News, universal health care plan), has recently announced his intention to reallocate resources (funds, personnel, etc.) from Nevada in response to the shifting of the early primary schedule. This marks the first time a campaign has directly reacted to South Carolina's decision last week to move up its primary a full two weeks. Famously, South Carolina's decision will coax New Hampshire and then Iowa to each move up their dates in order to maintain their prestige and value as the country's first primary and caucus, respectively. Thus we see the reasoning behind Edwards' decision and I completely agree with it.

The likely order of the caucuses and primaries (Iowa, New Hampshire - after they officially moves up - Nevada, South Carolina then Florida in January, then about 20 states on Super Tuesday, February 5th) dictates that any candidate not named Clinton or Obama must make a splash in Iowa, as both Clinton and Obama are expected to do very well in New Hampshire regardless of the Iowa results. Therefore, if Clinton and Obama finish 1-2 in both of the first two states, they will finish 1-2 in all of those states before Super Tuesday.

John Edwards' lead in Iowa has been steadily slipping. Voters across the country are looking at the dominant national numbers of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and find themselves gravitating towards those two, as if they don't have a choice anymore. Moreover, as outlined in the last paragraph, the morning after Iowa could very well limit the Democratic primary to a two-candidate race. Therefore, it's absolutely imperative that even the idea that it's a two-candidate race is obliterated after the Iowa caucus. A John Edwards victory, one that is very attainable by the way, considering he's in first or second in all Iowa polls, would shake the Democratic faithful. His status as the field's most progressive and electable candidate would dominate the headlines.

This is why Edwards' lead slippage in Iowa is so significant. If this pattern holds, and Clinton wins Iowa and then does battle with Obama in New Hampshire, Edwards will become an afterthought. A second place Iowa showing and a third place New Hampshire showing will mark the end of the Edwards campaign. It is essential that he wins that Iowa primary. Therefore, moving resources out of Nevada to Iowa makes all the sense in the world.

Furthermore, a likely scenario is that Edwards' victory in Iowa propels him to a victory in Nevada anyway. Labor loves him and Nevada is all about labor. The reason his numbers are subdued there is because Democrats across the country, Nevada included, sees this as a two-candidate race and therefore it'd be pointless to support any candidate but Clinton or Obama. Nevada is just looking for a reason to support Edwards. A win in Iowa would give them just that reason. An Iowa win, couple with a strong showing in Nevada, probably brings Edwards success in South Carolina, his home state's backyard. Then it's Edwards with the momentum heading into Super Tuesday, not Clinton or Obama.

So do I agree with the Edwards decision? Yeah, I do, and I would have told him to do this last weekend.


sptmck said...

And he just cold Mann Coulter a "she-devil." He's gonna have to muster more effective rhetoric against such mountain trolls.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not Edwards makes it, the effectiveness of his message should give the other candidates courage to stand up for the true democratic principles. Corporations don't need a defender in the White House. We have that now, and it hasn't led to anything good. It's the middle and lower class working people who need help, and at least Edwards is saying he'll do it.

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