Biden’s experience and proximity to Obama make him the favorite to get the most votes on Monday.
There’s a well-known political science book called “The Party Decides,” which states that it is the party, not the voters, who really select presidential nominees. In the past the party literally selected nominees, but now there’s a complex magical system of hand signals the party uses to indicate to voters who they should select, with one of the most visible signals being endorsements.
While this might not seem intuitive at first, in all but a pair of elections in the past 50 years, the candidate with the most endorsements before Iowa goes on to win the nomination. In addition, the winner of the Iowa caucus has gone on to clinch the nomination more than 55 percent of the time, with the last seven winners of the caucus all getting the nomination. Using these facts, it becomes obvious who has a stronger likelihood to win in the current polling tossup of Iowa: Joe Biden, the candidate who has more than quadruple the endorsements of the other hopefuls.
If that didn’t seem to sway you toward Biden, the polls put him within the margin of error of Bernie, meaning the race is a toss up, and with the way the polls have been slightly off in the past year, that might as well be a win. In addition, some of the latest polls put him above Bernie, which might point toward a slight shift in his favor that some of the older polls might not have picked up. This puts Biden in a great position going into Iowa.
In addition, Iowa is a caucus state, which means that it might be harder to get less establishment, more casual supporters to show up for a meeting on a weekday in the evening. Party insiders and their side of the party have an easier time showing up because most party insiders have a 9-5, unlike the rest of the party who might work night shifts or not be free at that time. That’s probably why the last time a party outsider won the caucus on the Democratic side was in Tom Harkin in 1992. Even considering the addition of tele-caucuses where caucus goers can meet in additional places if they cannot make it to their assigned one (like in a nursing home), this will not be enough to undercut the structural support that Biden has going into the caucus night.
Plus, as the conventional wisdom puts it, any publicity is good publicity, and with the impeachment proceedings continually pointing toward Hunter Biden, Joe Biden continues to be brought up in the news far and beyond the coverage that Sanders is receiving. This brings him to people’s minds, and gives less plugged in voters an easy candidate to vote for, especially considering the support Obama received in winning Iowa in 2008. Biden’s closeness with Obama has been a significant part of his campaign strategy, and if Iowan’s remember their support for Obama in the past, Biden becomes the simple solution in a mess of radical new faces.
Biden has everything he needs to win in Iowa: the endorsements, the polling, the structural advantages and the publicity. If all goes according to the Democratic Party’s playbook, Biden should snag a slight win over Sanders. I’m excited to tune in Monday to see what happens.