What if Iowa is a Tie?

Clearly my claims that I should write for the New York Times were more accurate than most people thought. Adam Nagourney writes about the theory I’ve been proposing for a few weeks now. Iowa might wind up being so close that nobody gets the big momentum change from a victory or a loss.

In truth, amid all the endless permutations of outcomes that are being discussed — can Mrs. Clinton, the putative front-runner, survive a third-place finish, or Mr. Edwards a second-place one? — aides are beginning to grapple with the frustrating possibility that all the time, money and political skill invested here might prove to be for naught when it comes to identifying the candidate to beat in the primaries and winnowing the top tier.

“It would be like a six-month trial and a hung jury,” said David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “I think it is really possible.”

Rather than clarify the state of play and consolidate this crowded field a bit, an outcome like that would almost certainly muddle things further and potentially extend the time before Democrats know their nominee.

With the media frenzy over the nomination process, pundits will take any chance they have to extend the horserace. Winning early voting states is not so much about the delegates the winner gets as much as it is about the momentum they acquire with voters in later states. But the media controls the narrative that comes out of Iowa more than the candidates. Just asked Howard Dean


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