Sunday, January 31, 2016

Iowa Caucus - Prediction on the Democratic Caucus...

Compared to the Republican race, there is much less to consider for the Democrats. Essentially a two horse race, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the only serious candidates running for the Democratic nomination.

Hillary Clinton, is the former Secretary of State and Senator from New York and First Lady, is the unquestioned front-runner. On paper, she has it all. Experience. Financing. Congressional endorsements. Name recognition. She also carries with her a stench of varying proportions from the Benghazi affair and most recently, some rather serious questions being asked by serious people (not to mention Federal Agencies) about her inexplicable handling of her emails.

She's been around a long time and everyone seems to know who she is. Some people love her, some loath her but regardless of all the strengths and/or concerns I listed above, she is the presumed Democratic Nominee for President this year. If the FBI comes back with an indictment and the Justice Department elects to press charges, it will quite possibly end her campaign which means three things.

1) She'll have no one to blame but herself for not being pro-active and using a safer, less controversial method to handle her State Department emails.

2) Bernie Sanders supporters will do a happy dance.

3) Vice President Joe Biden's phone will ring and the begging on the other end of the line will commence.

If I were a betting man, I'd say this email thing doesn't produce an indictment and in spite of the stupidity of the whole thing, will slide well to the rear of campaign issues. The GOP will continue to beat it to death, but the Clinton comeback, "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has decided there was nothing illegal about what happened..." will serve her well.

I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. I will support whoever is running against the GOP nominee this November because I'm generally pleased with the last eight years of the Obama Administration and Clinton seems best suited and most inclined to maintain the path we're on. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank put it nicely this week when he contrasted her with the "other" candidate, Bernie Sanders:

Hillary Clinton,  by contrast, is a dreary candidate. She has, again, failed to connect with voters. Her policy positions are cautious and uninspiring. Her reflexive secrecy causes a whiff of scandal to follow her everywhere. She seems calculating and phony.
And yet if Democrats hope to hold the presidency in November, they’ll need to hold their noses and nominate Clinton.
Bernie Sanders is an interesting guy. A surly career politician in his 70's, Sanders is a self-professed Democratic Socialist who has some very interesting and some very expensive ideas for how to serve his Country should he be elected our next President. Sanders is connecting with younger voters in a way that reminds me of the days of Ron Paul. 
I like his goals for addressing income inequality, raising the minimum wage and implementing universal health care. I like his disinclination of getting the United States involved in another decade long waste of blood and treasure in the Middle East. 
I also think he's the real deal. He's been talking about these issues for 30+ years. He doesn't often "poll test" his answers or interests which I find refreshing. Of all the candidates of either party running for President, I would most like to meet Mr. Sanders someday. He will not be our next President. He will have moved the conversation along a few steps and someday when his visions are reality (which I believe), he will deserve some credit for elevating the conversation. 

What happens in Iowa Monday night?

Looking a three different sources, Real Clear PoliticsNate Silver's website and the Des Moines Register's polling data, I come up with these predictions for the Democratc Caucus Monday night:

1st - Hillary Clinton

2nd - Bernie Sanders

3rd - Martin O'Malley


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