Going into what is arguably the biggest political event of the year for Iowa Democrats — the Jefferson Jackson dinner on Saturday — the Feb 2 caucus is coming into focus.
Despite a field of six plus Joe Biden, the contest has never been about more than two candidates, front runner Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. That is not expected to change.
If Biden enters the race for president, he will suck the oxygen from candidates Martin O’Malley and Larry Lessig. Lincoln Chafee isn’t running an Iowa campaign and Jim Webb bowed out earlier today.
In any case, if Biden runs, O’Malley gets very few or no delegates. If not, O’Malley has a chance to hoover up those dissatisfied with Clinton and Sanders as the alternative and maybe get viable. In 2008, the Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd groups attempted viability this way to no avail, at least in my precinct where the caucus was 95 Obama, 75 Edwards and 75 Clinton.
There are two tickets out of Iowa and Clinton and Sanders have them booked. Not much can happen to alter that outcome.
It is not certain, but Hillary Clinton will likely be the party’s nominee for president and win the 2016 election, at least according to Las Vegas odds makers today. There may be some local variations. Sanders may take Johnson County, and other Iowa liberal centers, but lose the state to Clinton. I wrote my expectation Sanders will win back yard New Hampshire some time ago. Having been through a 50-state campaign before, Clinton is the odds-on favorite beyond Super Tuesday.
There is work to get out the caucus for our candidates. There are some Democratic issues remaining to be addressed, not the least of which is activating voters who care less and less about belonging to a political party. It’s hard to see how the Jefferson Jackson dinner will be a breakout event for any candidate as we slog toward the caucus and the 2016 general election.